The below are notes to help prepare for a Vacation Bible School
Why Is VBS So Important?
Every summer churches have the opportunity to participate in one of the most effective and popular outreaches of the year: VBS! It’s such a blessing to see how VBS makes a difference in the lives of children and their parents. Kids from church bring their unchurched friends to VBS, and the kids bring their parents. Together they’ll hear the life-changing message of God’s love and grace. VBS also offers the possibility of establishing relationships with parents. It opens avenues of communication, displays servanthood and invites them into our building, giving them a chance to meet local Christians. For some, it’s the first time they’ve heard how much Jesus loves them and wants them to be a part of God’s family. Teaching kids about Jesus’ message of salvation is why VBS programs were created. If you want to reach kids and their parents for Christ, VBS is the best way to do it!
Raise visibility of VBS through promotion
Publicity and advertising are essential part of an effective outreach. Yet research has shown that very few will attend because of advertising alone. However, good publicity and advertising will set the stage for your church people to invite their friends and neighbors. Whenever, the people of a church take an active role in reaching out to their neighbors in advance by praying, witnessing and promoting, then the results can be exciting. The more excited people become, the more likely they will want to be involved. Let the church know something exciting is about to happen.
Some Advertising Tips
Posters: You can down load our VBS poster and bulletin insert from our Advertising page.
You may want to try it in black and white first to see if the size is correct.
Keep in mind when putting up posters most stores don’t want too big of posters on their
bulletin boards 81/2 x11 are best, but big ones are great for your own church.
You can have Staples print these for about 50 cents, color is always the best.
Email: Use the email info on the advertising page and send out to your church family.
Attach the poster to the email.
Ask parents to do your advertising. Ask them to forward your VBS information onto as many
families as possible. It takes no money and little effort to hit "forward", and dedicated parents
will happily do this. It resembles "word of mouth advertising," which is still viewed as best.
Facebook: Post your event with brief details, copy one of the posters and put it up on your page.
Post it at least 2 months with details stating lock your calendar for this coming event.
1 month and then each week up to the date. Advertisers say at least 7 times.
Direct Mailing: Your local post office can tell you the exact routes. They need to be bundled in 50-100 lots with elastics. They should be mailed out at least two weeks in advance. People still read mail but probably least effective for your dollar.
Local hometown newspapers: These can be given the news release (click on the Advertising page). This is a free service, papers use for interesting upcoming events. They should have it at least two weeks in advance. They may or may not use it.
Your local Christian bookstore-ask if you can put up posters or leave a stack of small flyers.
Your people: The flyers in the hands of your people are by far the most effective way of advertising. The Gospel of Mark records an illustration of good publicity of a man Jesus healed of leprosy. The man “went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter”.
Tips for the Director
Many ministries falter because their success hinges on the tireless and wise efforts of a single volunteer or staff person. Such a structure invites disaster. If that indispensable individual is ill, absent, quits, burns out, reaches his or her level of incompetence or simply becomes overwhelmed by the weight of the responsibilities involved, then the entire program suffers.
Effective ministries develop great team leadership. The quality of the decisions made by teams is almost always superior to that delivered by a single leader trying to cover all the bases.
Management experts tell us when you are involved in the process and participate in the decision; you will be committed to the end goals. When a person makes a commitment to be a volunteer, this will positively influence their praying, priorities, giving and their attendance at the meetings.
One of the goals of these meetings should be to involve as many people as possible in advance in at least one meaningful role. The larger the inner circle of people involved, the more outsiders will be influenced to attend.
When asking for helpers shy away from the word “Worker” as it may suggest they will get stuck with a difficult job. Some people, because of their busy schedules will immediately say, “No”, but explain that they can help, if only for one day. They don’t have to be there every minute of the V.B.S., in order to qualify.
Helpers can be as young as fourteen. Your teen class can be great boost to your program. In fact Ontario Secondary graduation requires it's students to have completed 40 hours of community service. Helping in the VBS is included and students are always looking for ways to complete this requirement. When approaching teens mention this. Below is a youth volunteer registration and agreement form to print.
a. Pray -- workers for the harvest, a VBS is God's work, you can count on Him to help you.
b. Recruit the right people.
c. Don't wait for volunteers to come to you.
--Most people want to help, but aren't very good at initiating.
--Some people lack confidence in their ability to interact with children.
--Others simply have never been asked!
d. Make the approach person-centered.
Present an opportunity, a responsibility and a need rather than a predicament. It is important to sell people on the need of
ministering in VBS, but to do so does not require describing the predicament. The conveying of a crisis is indicative that the
organizational structure with its recruiting policies has not been functioning properly. Rather than a general call from the pulpit
(anyone interested in working in VBS see so-and-so after church), contact people individually. Ask specific people for a specific
job. Many potential volunteers wonder if they can interact effectively with children. Ask them to consider and pray about it and
you will get back to them in a week.
e. Provide clear, detailed job descriptions.
Many potential workers misunderstand the task they are asked to perform. No one can satisfactorily function in a given role
unless it is clearly understood what the duties are and what is expected included in the job description should be some indication
of what the worker may expect from the church, as well as what the church expects from the volunteer.
f. Do not hurry the worker's decision.
The potential worker should be allowed to carefully study the job description, consider the matter in prayer and finally make a
decision. If divine sovereignty is at work within the framework of the local church (and it is), then the worker's response to the
request after prayerful and intelligent consideration must be viewed by the church leadership as within the will of God.
g. Follow up those you asked.
Your entrance way is the key place for decorating. We will send our theme for the week that you can be creative with.
Please keep the platform clear as we will have our own decorations.
A balloon bouquet of smiling faces makes a fun greeting for kids arriving. Inflate a bunch of quality large round latex balloons or, even better, purchase helium-filled balloons at a party store (generally, they cost about $1 apiece).
The excitement for the Vacation Bible School, starts with pre-registration about a month before your scheduled V.B.S. Program. You’ll begin pre-registering children in your church. Take the pre-registration form and make copies and have your church family parents fill them out and have them drop them in a predetermined spot. On the opening Sunday pre-register any church family children that are not already registered. Have your registration table already set up with a large “Welcome To Vacation Bible School” sign behind your registration table. (Decorate the sign with paints, markers and glitter or perhaps someone would have computer with graphics and they could produce it for you.)
If you have put a pre-registration number on your flyer, you may already have a list of children. These children need not line up on opening day, but can pass on through.
Depending on the size of your V.B.S. and your expected response above and beyond your existing Sunday School, at least two registration tables should be set up. If weather permits, you could have them outside to avoid a bottleneck of build up. (Note: all your workers should wear name tags). All registration helpers should arrive at least thirty minutes before registration is scheduled to begin. For example, if the program starts at 9:30 a.m., registration starts at 9:15 a.m. Tables and helpers should be in place by 9:00 a.m. It would be wise to have extra help on the fist two days to speed up this process.
These registration forms are important in case of problems or emergencies and also will help you in your follow-up. Keep at least one registration table in place all week as newcomers may arrive even on Friday.
Tips for Registration Helpers
Greet family members or caregivers with a warm smile. Thank them for bringing the children to the V.B.S. Tell the family member or caregivers, that they are welcome to stay and watch or if not able, what time they can pick up their children each day.
It would be wise to have the Pastor helping out as a greeter here as this will be a great opportunity to meet new families of your community.
There are some great free online pre-registration forms like www.planetreg.com or vbspro.events
Wallace Ministries registration forms you can print are linked below.
Here’s some ways to maximize the impact of VBS:
During you VBS have a coffee and muffin station set up for mothers if they want to stay.
Getting kids to show up is the first step, and scheduling has a lot to do with that. It used to be that VBS was the only thing for kids to do in the summer, but now kids are completely overbooked.
It’s awesome to have kids come to VBS who never come to church (again, that’s the idea, isn’t it?), but the ideal would be to have them start coming to church after VBS. What efforts do you have to encourage the VBS crowd to come on Sunday? This might include having children’s ministry leaders tell kids about the church’s normal offerings for kids or even structuring your VBS so it flows into your regular children’s programming.
A big part of getting the kids to come back is getting their parents to come. Try a special night of VBS for parents. Make that special effort to reach out to families and introduce them to the rest of church. At the least send a brochure or invite card home with the kids.
Evangelism is the work of the Holy Spirit
Jesus said in John 6:63, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing". All our talents, personality or promotion will do very little. The work of winning people to Christ is a work that only the Holy Spirit can accomplish, yet He asks us to be the vessels to work through.
We Need You
We are not a "one man show". We have found our work alone is of little effort unless the church body is with us in this effort. We do not have a stunning Hollywood show, but are a couple committed to serving our Savior with the talents and abilities He has blessed us with.
D. L. Moody, was an American evangelist
The Pastor is the Key
The most influential voice in the life of the church comes from the pulpit.
The Pastor can, through his weekly sermons motivate and teach his people on how to prepare
for these meetings and the importance of reaching children with the Gospel. Perhaps preaching
a Sunday morning sermon on the topic and encouraging people to sign up to help.
See the links below for research.
Every great movement of God can be traced to a kneeling figure. D.L Moody
Make your VBS a priority of prayer in your church calendar, print up prayer reminders and requests.
Keep it before your people.
Prayer Tip for the VBS
Place two week prayer guides in the bulletin before VBS.
Distribute a monthly prayer calendar for your congregation.
Post Prayer requests on Social Media before, during, and after VBS.
Have a VBS Prayer time during your church services leading up to and after VBS.
Recruit groups who will prayer walk the church, both before and during VBS.
Distribute index card size prayer cards to put in the car (Pray at stop lights, etc.).
Hold a prayer meeting! In the early stages of planning, ask for some church members to gather after church or one
evening during the week and pray for all the preparation.
Dedicate your VBS. The Sunday before your VBS, ask your pastor to pray over you and your volunteers during the church
Do a prayer walk on Sunday evening before VBS begins. We invite all members to come.
Have the pastor challenge the congregation to pray and then pass out commitment cards.
Place a reminder note in the church bulletin asking members to pray daily for VBS children and workers
See the VBS Prayer Request bulletin insert examples below that you can print.
So lets say you are new at “VBSing” or perhaps are looking for a break from the curriculum driven approach. The Wallace Ministries goal is to come along with you to take the main part and help you prepare for your part. Much of a VBS happens before the Wallaces’ arrive in planning, recruiting, advertising and prayer. The below information is to help you with those steps. They are suggestions not requirements, by being better organized and prepared usually results in less tension and excitement instead of dread. Jerry and Bonnie encourage you to take the time to read through the VBS material and if you have any questions or suggestions email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For quick access to a section on the page click on the title on the right.
Due to the fact that we teach in one large group we prefer children 4 years old be with a adult relative at all times. Many times younger children become distracted or are distracting to the older children.
ADULT HELP IS NEEDED in premeeting
We need a mature group of volunteers to help with discipline (See Workers Guide). One adult for every ten children is the minimum needed. Some of these should arrive early (30 minutes or more) to greet and register the children.
It is important to encourage the use of the washroom, and to discuss sanctuary dos and don’ts (no gum, no hats, no child holding another on their lap, sing, pay attention, etc.) during this period.
ADULT WASHROOM HELP
A couple of mature adults preferably females to escort children to the washroom. The adult should escort the child to the washroom and prop the door open and wait and return with the child. If a group of children want to go tell them only one at a time will be permitted.