Vacation Bible School is one of those events that kids look forward to and parents start planning for the next year almost as soon as the week is over! Hosting an impactful VBS takes a ton of planning, preparation, and organization.
An impactful VBS has a strong team of volunteers committed to not only making sure the children have a great time but also communicating the 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 come each week to your church and come from families who are 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 Trinity.
Or is your VBS going to be focused on reaching children and families who don’t regularly attend church anywhere and may never have been plugged into a church family? These children may not understand the Christian terms we may be familiar with using. They probably won’t know stories from the Bible or the characters who are in them.
The challenge is finding a curriculum that is fun and engaging but also shares the Gospel in a way they’ll understand. You want to present the Gospel in an unforgettable and understandable way.
After you choose the group you want to reach and invite, then you choose your curriculum wisely and plan accordingly.
Some of the things you want to consider:
- How will you advertise? You have to advertise your VBS in more than your church bulletin if you want to reach families outside of your church walls. Be creative. Many local TV, news, and radio stations offer free advertising spots for events going on 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. Definitely share on social media. Start an event group on Facebook, and encourage your church members to invite other people through social media!
- 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 some free, safe, and entertaining fun for their students.
- 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. 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, but it will also allow you a chance to be prepared for these students.
Don’t underestimate the power and impact VBS can have on a child’s life. It was during a VBS the summer I turned 6 years old that I finally understood who Jesus is and what He did for me. My life has never been the same.
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 being prepared for an event; it is investing in and doing Kingdom work!