As we were planning for VBS (Vacation Bible School) this year (late again as usual) we decided to do it a bit differently.  Traditionally, VBS is just for kids. This year we decided to do it "family style". By that I mean we intentionally set it up so that families were encouraged to participate together.  We made sure to define "family" in several different ways: Dad, Mom, and the kid(s) /single parents / young couples / singles (who we encouraged to attend as part of the church family) / empty nesters / grandparents just to name a few.  We were aiming at a multi-generational, parent led experience, but that's not exactly what we got.

What we did

We had laid it out so that the group would be split into 2 equal teams; equal in the amount of adults and kids on each team (as best we could).  We started each night with large group worship, we choose songs by the Rizer's (if you don't know them, check them out, they are awesome). From there one group went to games while the other did craft and then switched.  We then did a teaching time based on the verse(s) we sang about earlier.  We ended the evening with snack and fellowship time.

What we got

The first night went really well and was pretty well attended (I was hopeful for more attendance).  The following 2 nights attendance dropped, mostly anyone without kids, although a few families didn't make it back either.

Conclusions

In the end, I think we learned some valuable lessons.  I think we know what we did and didn't do well.

What we did well:

  • Great teaching.
  • Great worship.
  • Schedule worked well.

What we could improve:

  • Better upfront planning (start earlier).
  • Better communication of vision and better promotion of the event.

I would love to know your thoughts on what we did, and how we can improve. What do you do at your church?  Join the conversation, leave a comment.

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