Spring break has come and gone for most of us. Family vacations for the spring are over. We are all exhausted, but back to the daily grind. But guess what is right around the corner? Vacation Bible School! Yes, that summer program nearly every church across the United States does each summer to share God’s love for us to children of all ages.
The goal of VBS is to teach children and youth the truth of God’s Holy Word and get them more involved in His Church. It’s an extremely important factor in keeping children, students, and sometimes even adults, engaged in the ministry of your church. But every year, we see more and more churches straying away from VBS and adopting other programs to better spread their message and engage children and students in their congregation and community. You shouldn’t be abandoning VBS, but it may need a facelift, especially if your church is trying to reach out more in your surrounding community.
Here are some questions to ask yourself if you think you need to make a change to your VBS program.
- Are enough members interested in VBS this year? If not, then you have a much larger problem on your hand. You need to get your members interested and engaged, and it needs to be before summer comes.
- What are your goals for your VBS program this summer? Do you want a certain number of participants? Do you want to increase participation over last year by a certain percentage? Is your goal to bring new families into the church through their children?
- Is your current VBS achieving those goals? Are you getting more people than last year? Are new families coming to your church after VBS is over because it was such a positive experience for their children? Did you meet or exceed the number of people you had projected?
- What are you doing to change and/or update the program each year? Families and culture are constantly changing. You need to make sure you are revising and updating your program and curriculum each year to meet the changes and demands families are facing. If you find yourself sticking with tradition because “it’s always been done like that”, stop. Make small updates, at least.
Possible revisions or changes could include:
- Be more focused on specific topics or events, like sports. Think of it as a theme with activities that correlate well.
- Integrate theater or performing arts. Children have different learning styles. Some may learn and comprehend better by performing the stories they’ve learned.
- Encourage the older students to participate in a week of service
- Get the entire family involved. A family night of worship mid-week or at the end of the week is a great way for parents to learn what their children have learned from VBS.
- Change the name. Most everyone calls it Vacation Bible School. Mix it up. Summer Bible Blast, Vacation Bible Blast, or call it what the curriculum is, like High Seas Adventure or Underwater Journey.
- Change the timing. If other churches in your area are doing it the same week that you’ve planned on, change it. This will require planning and communication with other churches ahead of time, but it’s doable. Churches should work well with each other and understand the needs of those in their community.
VBS is meant to be a great community outreach program for your church, one for teaching the love of Christ, first and foremost. If that isn’t your primary focus, take a step back, reevaluate what you’re doing, and set your sights where they need to be.