Last week we did Vacation Bible School (VBS) at Redeemer. We've done it for the past six years, in some form or another. We are still learning our way through it. Here are six things to consider when it comes to VBS.
Planning for an event like VBS needs to start early. In years past, we've felt like we are always behind the gun on planning. This year we started earlier, and felt (somewhat) better going into it.
Time of day
This year was the first year we did VBS during the day. We've always done it at night, assuming that this time would be better for our volunteers. We were wrong. We had more people volunteer for this VBS than any past year. And yes, there were some who couldn't serve because of a work conflict, but we were able to promote others to key leadership roles at the same time.
When we first started doing VBS, we created our own curriculum. We had things we wanted to teach our kids and developed those ideas into teaching outlines and small group discussion starters. It worked well. For the past two years we've used a prepared curriculum. This allowed us to focus our time and energy in different directions. What we've discovered is that any curriculum has its strengths and weaknesses. There were things we knew we weren't going to use and other things that enhanced what we were doing. If you know that going into it, curriculum can make VBS easier.
We've recruited volunteers via "word-of-mouth" as well as announcements and signup sheets. These seem to work well for us. We start with announcements, asking interested people to sign up for what they are interested in doing. At the same time we are asking key people to fill key leadership roles. In the future, I'm thinking we recruit those key roles first.
Again, we've failed to do this well. We had attendance in the low to mid thirties every year we've done VBS. We need to spend more time dreaming about how to do this better. This has the potential to be an awesome outreach.
In order to give each group of kids the opportunity to participate in the different areas of VBS; (music, teaching, small group discussion, craft, snack, and game) thought needs to be given to which group goes where and when. Those thoughts need to take into account which groups of kids can sit, for how long, and which group of kids needs to move and burn off some energy.
We are still (and probably always will be) learning and refining our process.
Does your church do VBS? What have you learned through the process? Leave a comment and we'll discuss it.