We Changed Our VBS Curriculum. Here's why.

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Dear FBCD Community & Friends,

By now you have heard that our plan for Vacation Bible School (VBS) this summer was to use Group’s ROAR curriculum.

Back in the early part of the year, our Children’s Team and I looked at brief overviews of all the available VBS curriculums (you don’t get to see the in-depth lesson plans for the entire curriculum until the starter kit is ordered). As we tried to figure out which curriculum was best, we liked the overall theme that ROAR provided. We felt good about the Bible stories, activities, and the overall theme for the week.

In the past, we made adjustments to almost any curriculum we bought in order to fit FBCD’s context. We anticipated adjusting some of the materials this year as well. However, once we received this specific VBS curriculum, there were even more areas we were concerned about, areas which required larger changes.

I spoke with Pastor David about several of these concerns and together we developed a plan we were both comfortable with when it comes to teaching children accurate and appropriate information regarding the stories of our faith and how to be better citizens of the world.

Recently, many of the ministry (and non-ministry) circles I’m a member of started discussing the problem areas of the ROAR curriculum. Specific attention was given to the way the publishing company portrayed parts of the Bible story for the week, including both inaccurate information and cultural insensitivity. Some of it was beyond the scope of adjusting.

I received emails and messages from church members and community members alike, both addressing their concerns with the curriculum and encouraging us to consider switching. We were challenged to remember that simply modifying the curriculum to be correct and appropriate doesn’t address the bigger issues (i.e. supporting an organization that is unapologetic about inaccuracies and cultural insensitivity).

After much consideration, we made the decision to change VBS curriculums.

While the easier decision would be to stick with the curriculum, modify it, and make sure the community and participants know it’s a modified version, the harder but more correct thing to do is to start over from square one.

First Baptist Church of Decatur is committed to doing the right thing, no matter if the right thing is both difficult and inconvenient.

You can visit fbcdecatur.com/vbs to see more about our new curriculum: “Kingdom Safari: Where Kids Learn that Love H.E.L.P.S.”

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about anything mentioned above, please don’t hesitate to reach out (kkoger@fbcdecatur.com). I would be happy to speak to any of you regarding this update.

But it goes without saying, we sincerely hope that you still make plans to join us for Kingdom Safari. It’s going to be a great week!

Thank you for your understanding and support,

Rev. Kristen Koger
Pastor for Children and Families
First Baptist Church of Decatur