Yes, VBS is all about the kids. But what happens when we stop there? What happens when we ignore all the other people involved?
Take a minute to think about what God might be doing in the lives of everyone else involved in VBS.
The experience of a parent or guardian with VBS is often overlooked. Consider the parents who are new to your church, and this is their first experience with VBS. Do they know where they are supposed to sign up, where to drop of their kids, or that they are expected to attend the last meeting? Communicating clearly to parents is key in getting their support with VBS.
Whatever kids learn in VBS, they will take home to their parents. Empower your kids to evangelize to their families with take-home Bible points, memory verses, and scripture-rich crafts. Then be sure to provide ways for families to get involved after VBS by inviting them to join an adult Bible study or to attend a fall family event at your church.
How your volunteers experience VBS will undoubtedly affect how they view the church. Even faithful families have left the church after feeling under appreciated or overburdened in serving. Ensuring your volunteers are equipped and supported is the best way to encourage them to continue to serve in the church. Ask yourself: Are instructions and expectations communicated clearly? Do they have all the resources they need ahead of time? Are they over-burdened or burnt out? Do they have a leader to turn to with questions or concerns?
Does VBS leave a sour taste in the mouths of other ministry leaders? Does your VBS take over the whole campus, causing other ministries to move or reschedule? Even if you’ve been running VBS at your church this way for years, check in with other leaders and get their honest opinions. They will appreciate you reaching out. Then brainstorm ways to compromise and support each other. Getting other leaders on board will greatly improve the reputation and reach of your ministry.
You may live and breathe VBS, but how well does the rest of your church understand what’s happening? Find ways to inform and involve your whole church in VBS. Share stories of lives changed through VBS, bring characters to life during an announcement, or provide an opportunity for church members to sponsor a child to go to VBS.
Depending on where your church is located, think about how VBS may impact those near your church. If your church is located in a business park, make sure the extra cars you have during VBS week don’t block your neighbor’s parking spaces. If you’re in a neighborhood, make sure the noise of your VBS doesn’t disturb nearby homes. When hanging signs throughout the community, check with city regulations to ensure you’re following all the rules.
What is your gut reaction when VBS season rolls around? Are you immediately stressed and anxious? Are you fearful or nervous? Often times as directors we can be so focused on the kids, or the volunteers that we forget to think about ourselves. Take a minute to really look at your own heart. What is God trying to teach you during this VBS season?
If your VBS includes a missions component, don’t overlook the impact that your VBS can have on the recipients. While you’re coordinating schedules and stocking up on craft supplies, someone around the world may be waiting for the opportunity of a lifetime. Slow down, take a step back, and focus on the bigger picture. If your church doesn’t have a missions component, check out the free Water for Tanzania program, where you can help Tanzanian villages get clean water wells close to home.
May your VBS reach not only kids for Christ, but bring everyone closer to the Lord.