VBS and Summer Camp Curriculum Top Picks for 2023


Building Faith’s annual VBS curriculum review is here! If your community is gearing up for a summer Vacation Bible School or camp program or is still undecided about offering one this year, this article may help you discern the kind of formation opportunities that will minister best to your community this summer.

Our Review Process

Below you can access the Building Faith team’s reviews of eight Vacation Bible School and summer camp curriculum options that are new for 2023. They are ordered alphabetically by curriculum title. These reviews are based on publisher’s website content, sample materials that are available for free, and videos (mostly on YouTube), rather than on comprehensive examinations of the full curricula. In our evaluation process, we considered six interrelated dimensions:

  1. Theological messages
  2. Engagements with scripture
  3. Approaches to learning and formation
  4. Language and practices regarding inclusivity and representations of diverse human identities and experiences, especially in relation to race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and economics
  5. Attention to social justice, service, and creation care
  6. Program structure and logistics

Our assessments highlight what the curriculum does well and what could be improved. We offer our recommendations and critical feedback in a spirit of compassion and dedication to enriching faith formation for all people in liberating, life-giving ways. As always, we encourage you to reflect on the gifts, needs, values, and commitments of your ministry context in order to discern which curriculum may be best for your community.

Our Top Picks

This year’s top picks for new VBS and camp curricula are:

In these options, we tended to encounter theologically constructive messages; coherent program designs in connecting the theological themes with scripture; attention to diversity, inclusivity, and representation of historically underrepresented groups; approaches to formation that encourage exploration; and helpful director and leader resources. While these curricula also have areas for improvement even within these dimensions, we think that their theological structure and values lay helpful groundwork for developing a VBS or camp.

To learn more about these programs and to read our full reviews, follow the links above for each curriculum.

Additional Reviews

We also reviewed these new curriculum options:

As we studied their content and design, however, we found significant issues that pose obstacles to cultivating empowering, hospitable, and meaningful faith formation spaces. Therefore, we do not recommend using these resources.

To learn more about these programs and to read our full reviews, follow the links above for each curriculum.

A Forthcoming Curriculum to Watch For

A final new curriculum option for 2023 deserves mentioning:

As of this article’s publication date, the complete curriculum and samples haven’t yet been released, so we cannot provide a comparable review of this curriculum. However, we do want to offer a preview of the forthcoming program based on the information currently available from the publisher.

To learn more about this curriculum, follow the link above.

Is your community considering a VBS or summer camp program this year? What resources are you using or looking for? Leave a comment below!

Editor’s Note: Thank you to Sarah Bentley Allred, Katie Beth Miksa, and Elizabeth Walker for their involvement in conducting and producing this review.

Featured image is by Steve DiMatteo on Unsplash


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