Neighbors are more than people who live next door. Neighbors are more than people in our families or communities. Through five carefully chosen Bible stories, Who Is My Neighbor? leads children on a journey to discover more about God’s great love. From looking at how to be a neighbor to diving into what it means to live out our faith, this interactive VBS series will lead children deeply into Bible stories focused on God’s care and compassion for neighbors close at hand and around the world.
The Who Is My Neighbor? VBS starter kit comes with everything you need to inspire children to become God’s hands and feet in their neighborhoods and world. Each day’s story and theme are rooted in the Bible and helpful concepts about sharing kindness, extending compassion, and doing justice come to life in age-appropriate ways. Experiences include dramas, playing games, making crafts, sharing snacks, and more.
The Bible passages begin with the Golden Rule and story of the Good Samaritan, the same Gospel stories around which Pope Francis builds his encyclical Fratelli Tutti (On Fraternity & Social Friendship). Each day starts with relationship-building, joint worship, music, prayer, and a dramatic presentation of the Bible story.
Children in grades K–5 will see Bible stories come to life in the dramas during worship time, and will reflect on them during three response times: Bible Response, Active Response (Physical Games), and Creative Response (Art/Crafts).
Preschoolers ages 4–5 may participate in worship with the older children or have their own worship time. They too will share in the Bible story and engage in crafts, games, and other activities.
This theme provides content for five flexible sessions, from as short as one hour to over three hours each day. Scroll right to see all five days.
|DAY 1||DAY 2||DAY 3||DAY 4||DAY 5|
Love God and Your Neighbor
Who Is My Neighbor?
Everyone Is Invited!
Share with Others
|Purpose Statement||To discover Jesus’ instructions to love God and neighbor||To recognize what it means to be a good neighbor||To think about living peacefully with neighbors||To understand that everyone is included as neighbors and invited to God’s table||To see an example of sharing God’s gifts with church communities and neighbors|
|Fratelli Tutti||#56-86||#56-86, 101-105, 165-166||#225-254||#61-62, 87-100||#61-62, 118-120, 271-280|
|Scripture||Mark 12:28-34||Luke 10:25-37||Genesis 26:12-33||Luke 14:15-24||Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-37|
|Story Summary||Jesus speaks of the importance of loving God and loving neighbors.||Jesus tells the story of a traveler who is wounded by robbers. The one who stops to help, who shows mercy, is the one we are to imitate.||Isaac’s neighbors become jealous of his prosperity. Isaac moves to a new location so that he will not be in conflict with his neighbors. The king recognizes that God is with Isaac.||Jesus tells a story about a banquet to which those who are invited do not attend. Instead, the servants go out on the streets and invite those who had originally been excluded.||The early church worships and prays together. They eat together and share material goods with those who need help, making sure that everyone’s needs are met.|
Overview of the VBS and guidelines for orchestrating the process. Includes a planning chart, sample schedules, tips for working with staff/volunteers, forms, Bible backgrounds, snack ideas, a book list, a letter to parents, guidelines for inviting children to faith, and more.Preview
Full guide for all aspects of VBS for younger children (ages 4-5). Makes suggestions for full daily schedules, including snack ideas, Bible sessions, activities, crafts, books, song/motion suggestions, and more.Preview
Full guide for leading Worship & Drama sessions for each day, including gathering (introducing theme, opening prayer, etc.), worshiping (prayer, song, Bible verse, drama), responding (offering project), and sending (schedule review, blessing, and song)Preview
Full guide for leading interactive activities & games each day, including advance preparation, session plan, material list, step-by-step instructions, and debrief.Preview
Full guide for leading Scripture response sessions for each day, including Biblical background information, materials list, advance preparation, session plan, and suggestions for teaching Bible memory verses.Preview
Full guide for leading craft sessions for each day, including Biblical background, materials list, advance preparation, and debrief.Preview
Customize and post these 11" x 17" posters around your parish or around town.
Engaging letters in English & Spanish to keep parents in the loop and coach them on how to follow up with their children each day.
Featuring the music of Jesse Manibusan, Steve Angrisano, Bryan Sirchio, and Oregon Catholic Press
Catholic composer, singer/songwriter, storyteller, humorist, catechist, evangelizer and encourager Jesse Manibusan leads our music and offers one song for this theme.
The eResource (downloadable) starter kit includes:
The physical starter kit includes:
In addition, purchase inexpensive bulk audio CDs to send home with families, so they can continue to sing the VBS songs!
|Downloadable Starter Kit||Physical Starter Kit + Downloadable|
|Leader guide with permission to reproduce||Online access||Physical binder & on USB drive|
|Child booklets (preschool & elementary)||Online preview*||Physical sample copies*|
|Invitation Posters||Online access||2 copies & on USB drive|
|Music audio||Online access (MP3s)**||on USB drive**|
|Music sing-along videos||Online access||on USB drive|
|Music files (lead sheets, motions, lyrics)||Online access||In physical binder & on USB drive|
*Child booklets are not reproducible. If you choose to use these recommended components, please buy one copy for each child (see below).
**Music from starter kits may not be reproduced and distributed to participants and their families. If you wish to do so, please buy the very affordable bulk-priced audio CDs or MP3 download cards from us (see below).
This program is a collaboration between The Pastoral Center and MennoMedia. Adapted and reprinted with permission from Who Is My Neighbor. © 2019 MennoMedia, Inc., Harrisonburg, VA 22803. All rights reserved.