Kids look forward to Vacation Bible School. It’s another chance to see friends and have fun. Parents also look forward to it and plan their family vacations around it so their kids can participate. Churches know that hosting a dynamic VBS takes a lot of planning, preparation, and organization.
A dynamic VBS has a strong team of volunteers committed to making sure the children have a great time while communicating a meaningful message. Your leadership and your team need to decide what your message will be. To decide on a message, you also have to determine your audience.
Is your VBS going to be focused on ministering to the children who attend your church and come from families plugged into your church family? If so, then you will be more discipleship-driven. When choosing an impactful VBS curriculum, you can look at one that deals with more theology and digs a bit deeper into the Scripture.
The children who are regular attenders and have been part of your children’s ministry for most of their lives will be familiar with the characters and stories in the Bible. They’ll understand concepts like salvation, baptism, and the Holy Trinity.
Is your VBS going to be focused on reaching children and families who either don’t regularly attend church or attend a church of another faith and may not be familiar with your church family? These children may either not know the terms you are using or those terms have different meanings in their faith. They also may not be familiar with certain stories from the Bible or the characters in them.
The challenge is finding a fun and engaging curriculum and sharing the Gospel in a way they’ll understand. You want to present the Gospel unforgettably and understandably.
After choosing the group you want to reach and invite, you need to select your curriculum wisely and plan accordingly.
Some of the things you want to consider:
- How will you advertise? You have to promote your VBS using additional platforms to your church bulletin and your RealmⓇ communication tools if you want to reach families beyond your church walls. Be creative. Many local TV, news, and radio stations offer free advertising spots for events in the community. Do you have a local magazine that may advertise upcoming events? Look at using that as an option to promote your event. Share on social media. Start an event group on Facebook and encourage your church members to invite other people through social media! Don’t forget to put a banner in front of your church to catch those who live nearby.
- Reach out to elementary schools and after-school programs. Most schools will allow you to tell families about free events. These are often the families who would welcome free, safe, and entertaining fun for their children.
- Plan for them to come! Don’t invite 400 students and then only have enough snacks for 75. If you invite them, then be prepared for them! That means you need to have plenty of well-trained volunteers, enough supplies for all of the games, and lots of snack foods.
- Be organized. If you’re hoping for a large attendance, then your VBS needs to run like a well-oiled machine. Make sure your volunteers know their roles and what is expected of them. Also, check to be sure you are properly screening your volunteers ahead of time to provide safety for children attending. Plan ahead for the unexpected.
- Offer online registration, and make sure you give plenty of information about your VBS on your website. This will make more families feel comfortable bringing their child to a church they aren’t familiar with and will allow you to be prepared for these students.
Don’t underestimate the power and impact VBS can have on a child’s life.
As you prepare, plan, and organize, don’t forget to pray. Ask God to bring children who don’t know Him. Ask Him to draw their hearts toward surrender and draw their families toward the community your church can offer.
VBS planning is more important than preparing for an event; it is investing in and doing God’s work!