May 2009

You can make VBS great

May 19 2009 by Cathy Hopkins, Baptist State Convention

What makes Vacation Bible School (VBS) great? Is it great when lots of new people attend? Is it great when nearly everyone in the church is involved? Or is it great when there is fun, solid Bible study?

Yes! All these elements make a great VBS.

Vacation Bible School provides opportunity for concentrated Bible study on consecutive days. Children and adults benefit from having the chosen Bible stories weave the picture of God’s love for us by sending His Son to be our Savior. VBS is a way to share God’s plan in a fun and non-threatening way to churchgoers and guests alike.

Choose VBS curriculum that encourages all ages to be involved in the learning process. Inform parents of what is being taught and suggest next steps for talking about faith with their child.

If most of a church’s youth and adults are involved in teaching, Vacation Bible School can still happen for both age groups. Some churches teach the adult curriculum five consecutive Wednesday or Sunday nights in the spring. For teachers, this is an early look at the Bible stories for the summer VBS.

Youth curriculum can be used during a summer retreat or study to involve all youth for an in-depth look into the Bible for application in their lives.

Yes, fun, solid Bible study makes VBS great.

Vacation Bible School is a flagship event for most churches. It is a time when the entire church family works together for an in-reaching and outreaching event to their community. For some churches it is the only planned outreach event in the year.

VBS should not be a stand-alone event, but a part of the church’s overall strategy to make disciples. Evaluate VBS to prepare for next year,

The key to a great event is to involve everyone in the church, enabling all to share in the success. Involve parents who do not teach in serving refreshments or leading recreation. Enlist senior adults as prayer partners with VBS teachers or on the promotion team that writes postcards to guests who have attended church events since the last VBS.

Youth can hand out flyers or door hangers. Adult Sunday school classes could adopt a VBS class to provide prayer support, extra teachers or supplies. Think of ways the congregation can utilize their skills in VBS.

Yes, VBS is great when the entire church is involved.

Vacation Bible School is a time when the whole neighborhood is invited to church. Promotion can be high-tech or old-fashioned. Web sites, e-mail flyers and online registration are a few ways to promote VBS. LifeWay Christian Resources offers VBS Tools Online, a management software that gives churches an easy way to create a VBS Web site, set up online registration, manage class roles and attendance, invite past VBS guests and create mailing labels.

Churches use direct mail, free access TV, posters in stores, yard signs and radio bulletin board ads to invite the community. Some prefer the direct approach, such as face-to-face contact through canvassing.

Two churches in Summerfield are participating in the town’s May Founder’s Day festivities to promote VBS. Both will march in the parade, hand out goodies and have a booth of games to meet and connect with people.

Follow up with every participant and with people making decisions during VBS.  If someone makes a decision and regularly attends another church, contact that pastor about the decision.

Yes, VBS is great when lots of guests attend.

The great thing about VBS is that every church can have one. It doesn’t matter how many people attend a church, how big or small the budget is, or how many children are on the role. VBS can happen with workers from area churches helping, reaching children and adults who can and need to be a part of your church family.

This makes Vacation Bible School a great opportunity for all.

For more information about VBS, contact Gail Ledbetter, statewide VBS promoter, at gaillled@triad.rr.com or Cathy Hopkins, senior consultant at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC), at chopkins@ncbaptist.org or Brian Upshaw, Church Ministry Team Leader, at bupshaw@ncbaptist.org or visit www.ncbaptist.org.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Hopkins is senior consultant for preschool ministries with the BSC.)

5/19/2009 5:43:00 AM by Cathy Hopkins, Baptist State Convention | with 1 comments