Welcome to the Rocky Railway Online VBS Guide

Rocky Railway

Modified VBS Options

If shelter-at-home regulations are preventing you from having a traditional VBS at your church this summer, we have options for you to help you steam forward with planning. You can still share the love and power of Jesus with kids this summer—no matter which VBS track you’re on!

Rocky Railway Neighborhood VBS Guide

Neighborhood VBS Guide

This guide includes:

  • Best practices for creating a small-group, neighborhood experience
  • Day-by-day tips and modification sheets for the Leader Guides found in your Rocky Railway VBS Ultimate Starter Kit.
  • Specific permissions for the videos and songs for you to use for a multi-session, multi-location VBS.
Download English Guide Download Spanish Guide
Rocky Railway Online VBS Guide

Online VBS Guide

This guide includes:

  • Best practices for blending technology and hands-on learning to maximize the VBS-at-home experience.
  • Day-by-day tips and modification sheets for the Leader Guides found in your Rocky Railway VBS Ultimate Starter Kit.
  • Specific permissions for the videos and songs for you to use for an online VBS.
  • Plus, you can download the Imagination Station videos below and drop them into your VBS presentation or use as a reference for Station Leaders.
Download English Guide Download Spanish Guide

Imagination Station Videos

We’ve recorded Shannon, our field test Station Leader, to model how Sciency-Fun Gizmos transform into Jesus-style “parables” for kids to discover and experience tangible reminders of the day’s Bible Point. You can download these videos and add them to your presentation, or just use them as a reference!

The video downloads provided below could take some time to download depending on your connection speed. Please be patient as your video downloads.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5


Helpful Resources

Must-have resources for creating an impactful online VBS experience at home!

Rocky Railway Ultimate Starter Kit Plus Digital

Rocky Railway

Ultimate Starter Kit Plus Digital

Still need your Rocky Railway VBS Kit? Connect our Ultimate Starter Kit Plus Digital with the Online VBS guide to engineer an amazing online VBS experience.

Only $229.99

Receive free shipping when you use promo code SHIPVBS20 at checkout.

Order Your Starter Kit
Stay-On-Track Elementary Supply Pack

Elementary

Stay-On-Track Elementary Supply Pack

Create a hands-on experience for kids even if you can’t be face-to-face. This essential 10-kid pack contains everything you need to compile kid packs for the whole week and is more affordable than ever!

Includes Bible Memory Buddies, Tracking With Jesus Bible Books, and Imagination Station Gizmos.

Only $99.99 / Enough for 10 kids

Order Now
Stay-On-Track Preschool Supply Pack

Preschool

Stay-On-Track Preschool Supply Pack

Preschoolers stay on track with their own pack that includes age-appropriate materials and experiences! This essential 10-kid pack includes Bible Memory Buddies, Little Kids Depot Bible Packs, and daily Craft & Play resources.

Only $78.99 / Enough for 10 kids

Order Now

Helpful VBS Tools

Whether you need to spin up a quick registration site or you just want to bounce ideas off someone, we can help!

Planning Tools

Create an amazing and impactful online VBS experience. These easy-to-use tools help get the job done!

VBS PRO

Event Registration

Free online system to Promote your VBS, Register kids, and Organize your event.

Simply Text

Simply Text

The best solution for fast and simple communication to parents and volunteers!

VBS Tools

Program Resources and Updates

Updates, downloads, instructional videos, and more.

Community Tools

VBS directors are some of the most creative, passionate and generous people we know! Use the tools below to connect with other VBS directors around the country to share ideas and encouragement.

Community Building

Community Building

Support and advice from other VBS directors.

D-I-Y Central

D-I-Y Central

Decorating tips and tricks.

Search the theme name and year on Pinterest.

Your Personal VBS Advisor

Your Personal VBS Advisor

Trustworthy advice about Group VBS from a real person! 800-447-1070


Online VBS FAQs

Download the FAQ

If your church does not already have a trusted streaming service, there are a variety of options that will work, including Facebook LIVE, YouTube LIVE, Vimeo LIVE, or third party streaming service such as Zoom, OBS, or other certified social-network partners.

Here are a couple of links that can help you choose and use the platform that will work best for you:

Comparison chart between top streaming services: https://www.epiphan.com/blog/best-streaming-software-2019/

How to go LIVE on different social networks: https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-live-streaming/

All of the options mentioned above will allow viewers to interact with the host online. Keep in mind, these interactions will vary depending on the platform’s capabilities and whether or not you choose to stream a LIVE video or upload a pre-recorded version of your VBS.

For example, Facebook Live allows viewers to post comments live during a presentation. Zoom allows live chats during a presentation but also allows participants to speak and appear via video conferencing.

Live streaming is the broadcasting of live video to an audience over your preferred streaming platform. This is a real-time event that allows the host and viewers to interact live over the duration of the stream.

Pre-recorded videos allow you to create video content beforehand, edit it to your liking, and schedule it to go live or be posted at a predefined time.

Whether you choose to do a livestream or a pre-recorded version will depend on your church’s capabilities, resources, and capacity. Either route can be effective and engaging for the kids and families in your community.

Here’s a great article outlining the pros and cons for each option: https://pushpay.com/blog/livestream-vs-record-church-service/

The best option is to ask around your church family and see who might have some experience with this. If you have to start from scratch, there’s a wide range of video editing software packages or even apps that work on your phone or tablet. You can also find training videos for specific software packages online on YouTube or their company websites. Here are a few options that are rated as easy to use:

If you don’t have a volunteer at your church with this skill set, you can still learn the basics quickly. YouTube has some great video editing tutorials. If you’ve chosen a video editing software, you’ll probably find some good training videos for that specific software on YouTube as well. Here’s a good general training video to get you started:

Video Editing for Beginners (Using Windows PC): https://youtu.be/-wpFSpNbDW0

Group is granting special permissions for Rocky Railway 2020 VBS for specific online uses. A complete description of these modified permissions can be found in the Director Manual document at https://www.group.com/modifiedVBS

There’s no perfect answer, but a good rule of thumb is approximately 2 hours. That’s the length of most feature films, so kids are comfortable with that time frame. Ultimately, it’s a judgment call. You could consider going longer if your online program has a lot of activities that the kids are participating in. If your program is more of a “sit and view” experience, shorter is better.

Video technology has come a long way since the rise of social media. Even the camera on a lot of phones could shoot a good quality movie. Here are a couple of things to consider:

  • If you’re going to use an external audio source (like a microphone), you’ll want a camera that has an input jack for one (or more) audio inputs.
  • If you will be editing the video, make sure the digital file format your camera shoots in is one your video editing software can work with.

A good place to start is to ask around your church family to see if someone has a digital video camera you could borrow. If you need to buy a camera, a quick Google search will give you lots of options.

A good handheld or lavalier mic is the best way to record spoken audio when the speaker needs to be mobile. You can even get wireless mics for under $100 if you need to make that investment. Your church may already have a wireless mic that can be repurposed to work with your video camera. Depending on your program, you could also try to record video and use the mic on your phone, but the audio quality may not meet your expectations. It would be worth experimenting.

There are lots of training videos on YouTube. It’s a great place to start, and once you understand the big picture, there are many great training videos on specific topics. Here are a couple to get you started.

We have heard of a few instances where a livestream has been muted/stopped because of copyright music. We’ve contacted both YouTube and Facebook and learned that they both use automated systems to detect and shut down livestreams with copyright content. The systems are automated and neither platform have any process for allowing the copyright holder to give permission for its use. From what we’ve been learning here are some options you may want to consider:

  • Do a live version. Record yourself or a team performing the music. They automated system will not likely recognize a live version of the song.
  • Perform the song yourself using the instrumental from the leader CD. The archive that YouTube and Facebook work from likely do not have instrumental versions of the songs.
  • Make your online VBS on-demand rather than livestream. From what we understand the detection system only affects livestream presentations.
  • Investigate another platform to livestream from. (Be sure to check how they deal with copyright material)
  • Risk it. It doesn’t appear to be happening with every livestream. We’ve only heard of a few problem instances so it would appear many have gone through without any issues. We don’t have a way to verify that so it is the riskiest option.