It’s that time of year again. The time when all leaders in kidmin gear up for the biggest event of the year – Vacation Bible School! Some of us become super excited about this time, calling it our Super Bowl or even better than Christmas. Others dread the work that comes along with putting on such a large event. Whatever your overall feelings of VBS are, we cannot deny that it is one of our biggest evangelistic tools for sharing the Gospel with kids and welcoming new families into our church.
VBS is definitely a lot of work and it takes nearly the entire church to execute it properly. We kidmin leaders have been thinking about this week and planning it for months. There is so much to think about. We need to decide on the theme and curriculum. We need to find volunteers for all the roles that need to be filled. We need to plan decorations. We need to set up registration. We need to advertise and market our VBS.
There is so much big picture thinking that goes along with it and then once the week finally arrives there are so many little details that require our attention. There are so many last minute fires to put out. By the end, we are completely exhausted. I get it. I once walked just over 50 miles around my church building in four days and couldn’t get out of bed the day after VBS ended.
But let me encourage you to not lose the forest for the trees. Remember why we are doing VBS – why it’s totally worth all the effort. The kids we get to minister to and the families they belong to could be forever changed because of this week. Here are 3 key items we MUST accomplish if we want our Vacation Bible School to truly be a success.
1. Share the Gospel
This one may be a little too obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. In my earlier years of ministry, I was able to make it through an entire VBS without ever making a point to have a clear gospel presentation to my kids. I looked back after the week was over and realized I had completely missed the mark.
I had selected a gospel centered curriculum and maybe my leaders were sharing the gospel in their classrooms or with their small groups, but I had not personally presented the Gospel all week long. I now make it a point to spell out the Gospel for kids as often as I get the chance.
2. Connect to Families
Many unfamiliar children and families will walk through our doors. We need to make a point to be as welcoming as possible. Something as simple as learning children’s names can make a big difference for kids and families to feel like they belong in your church. Offer up a space for parents to connect to one another and to your ministry, like offering a coffee table to parents if your VBS is in the morning.
Encourage your leaders to connect with parents at drop off and pick up also. And don’t just give bad news to parents if their kids misbehave (and unchurched kids will misbehave, we should expect it.) Sandwich that negative information between two positive statements. “We were so happy to have Johnny join us today. He struggled to listen quietly during our lesson but he really enjoyed our game time.” Using the sandwich method helps parents feel like you really care about their child and them. If all we are sharing with parents is the bad news they will feel discouraged and will not want to return.
3. Follow Up
When you’ve finally sung your last VBS song and the decorations have come down, we want to breathe a sigh of relief and take a really long nap. But we are not quite done yet. If we want these families to come back and check out our church the other 51 weeks out of the year, we need to follow up. Make a plan for how you’ll do this.
Keep good records for who attended your VBS. Determine who was new or who made some type of decision. Reach out to them and invite them to regular weekend services. Follow up the week after and again some time later. Let them know we want them to come back and what else your church offers to families.
Follow these tips and you are well on your way to making the most out of VBS this year. It’s fun and exciting. It’s hard work as well. But remember, it can also be life changing for a child and a family. So work hard. Pray hard. And have a ton of fun at VBS this year!
Got any other tips for making VBS a hit with your community? Leave a comment down below.
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