Abingdon Press: Champions in Life: Ready, Set, GO with God!

Abingdon Press: Champions in Life: Ready, Set, GO with God!

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31

Champions in Life participants will find joy in knowing that Jesus makes each one a winner; competing in life to reach the goal of the high calling of Jesus Christ.

Cost

Starter Kit
$71.99 at time of posting
Check website for current pricing

Age Levels

Intergenerational with activities specifically for Preschool/Kindergarten, Younger Elementary, Older Elementary, Teen, and all ages.  

Number of Sessions/Scheduling

There are five sessions available. The curriculum is ideal for an Intergenerational VBS, but also offers options and ideas for a 3-day program, weekend, one-day, or Summer Enrichment/After School Program.  

Session 1: Get in the Race (2 Samuel 18:19-32) Zadok’s son chooses to get in the race. 
Session 2: Be Skillful, Be Caring! (1 Samuel 20:18-23, 35-41) Jonathan protects his friend, David. 
Session 3: Keep Your Eyes on Jesus! (Matthew 14:22-33) Peter tries to meet Jesus as he walks on water.  
Session 4: A Long Wait! (John 5:1-17) Jesus commands a man who sat by a pool for 38 years to get up and walk.  
Session 5: Reach for the Goal! (Philippians 3:12-16) The goal is the high calling of Jesus Christ.  

What is included in the basic package

Leader Books

Director’s Manual
Preschool/Kindergarten
Younger & Older Elementary Bible Story Leaders
Arts & Crafts
Music & Movement
Heritage/Drama Leader
Recipe Guide
Outreach/Follow-up Leader 

Student Book Samples

Preschool/Kindergarten (ages 3-5)
Younger Elementary (Grades 1-3)
Older Elementary (Grades 4-6)
Teen 

Reproducible Parent Empowerment Pages 

Worship DVD, including an introduction video, music videos, and movement instructionals and demonstrations 

Music CD 

Sunday School guide

Sample Tennis Racket craft

Sample “Church Kids Comic Book vol. 2”

Marketing Samples

Activity sticker sheet
Promo poster
Invitation postcard
Iron-on transfer
Leader certificate
Student certificate
Nametag & nametag holder

Strengths

  • Adaptable, with a variety of suggested schedules 
  • Intergenerational in that it lends itself well to worship as a large group and with age-appropriate ways to engage with the daily scripture passage and main idea 
  • Most of the crafts are paper or other items that can be gathered rather than something that has to be purchased from the publisher 
  • It is appropriate based on the timing of the Olympics, though we suggest making that more explicit so it’s clear why sports are such a focus 
  • Lists different versions of scripture side-by-side, making it easy to compare 
  • There are many built-in tools to make things easy: An email text for inviting people, a budget template, job descriptions for leaders needed, training session, recruiting tips, developmental descriptions for each age group, etc.

Weaknesses

  • Some of the crafts and games do not seem age appropriate 
  • For example, the Black Tennis Champions Game for Younger and Older Elementary requires participants to know historical facts that are advanced for their age 
  • Specific passages of scripture are picked out, but there does not seem to be a narrative arc 
  • The context for the two passages in 2 Samuel (sessions 1-2) is problematic and should not be ignored, but would also be difficult to delve into at an event that may be a child’s first exposure to church 

What Our Reviewer Thought

There is a Decorating and Publicity Poster Pack and Decorating Mural available for purchase via the catalog. The theme is the Olympics and sports and the publisher suggests utilizing jerseys, trophies, ribbons, balls, sports equipment, etc., which seems manageable as a do-it-yourself.  

Most options are paper/foam crafts with templates available in the starter kit (no additional purchase necessary). A couple would be easiest with the purchase of a kit, but could potentially be prepared by advantageous folks without purchasing the craft kit for the item. A few crafts seemed too advanced for preschoolers.

The snacks and meals seem relatively replicable and we appreciate the healthy options.  

The songs are singable in call/response style. They relate to the overall theme and daily themes. Music from this VBS publisher is always more current with today’s listeners!

Abingdon Press VBS is an intergenerational VBS that utilizes African American culture, history, music, and art to teach Biblical truths. Abingdon consistently uses both biblical narrative and African American culture and history to introduce children to each year’s theme.   

They offer ideas for how to adapt activities to include children with diverse abilities. The Director’s Guide provides tips for VBS leaders so that children with disabilities can be included, experience God’s love, and grow in discipleship.  

The content does not approach care of creation. In structure, it does not appear to be available digitally and the starter kit includes DVD’s, etc. (not digital files).

About the Publisher

Abingdon Press crosses denominational boundaries with thought-provoking and enjoyable books. Abingdon Press VBS is an intergenerational VBS that utilizes African American culture, history, music, and art to teach Biblical truths. Abingdon consistently uses both biblical narrative and African American culture and history to introduce children to each year’s theme

Vannessa McCormick Williams and Katherine Malloy completed this review. Vannessa is the Welcome Center Coordinator at Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS). She attends Bethlehem Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA and volunteers her time in various ministries in the church. Katherine is Director of Christian Formation Resources in Lifelong Learning at VTS. She is a deacon with a secondary appointment at Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon, VA.

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