By Cherie Werner
Who can measure the joy that children receive from that one big week in the summer? Packed with music, games, snacks, Bible lessons, and relationships, vacation Bible school is one of the biggest opportunities for your church to reach people with the Gospel, share the love of Jesus, and combine faith with purposeful, silly fun.
With all the planning, preparation, volunteer hours, and costs that go into VBS you certainly want to do everything you can to encourage participation and increase VBS attendance each year. Here are some tips to help.
Pray for Your Vacation Bible School Program
It is the Holy Spirit who brings people to faith and works to grow their faith. The eternal value of your VBS will come only through the work of the Spirit in the lives of your volunteers, participants, and even their families. Well before VBS even begins, start to pray. Invite others in your congregation to pray as well. Ask God to be at the center of all you do and to work in the hearts and lives of everyone involved.
Choose a Theme for Your VBS and Advertise
Once you have decided on the theme or direction of your VBS, create excitement and interest within your congregation and community. Advertise with flyers, signs, and posters made by students in your church. Ask for permission to send invitations home with children at the local schools. Create big screen announcements to scroll during services with pictures from last year’s VBS. Prepare a skit to present at church or Sunday school or to post to your social media feed with teasers about the different kinds of fun that will happen this year. Encourage children in your church to hand out bracelets and invite their friends.
- Host a Kickoff Registration Rally for Your Vacation Bible School A few weeks or even a month or two before VBS starts, invite families to register at a fun kickoff event. Plan games, snacks, and crafts. Give them a small taste of what is to come. As families leave, send home faith-encouragement gifts and ask them to invite their friends and neighbors to VBS.
Create a Little Mystery Build anticipation and interest by advertising a mystery guest, secret information, or some kind of surprise event that will be shared with those who attend.
Post Updates during Your Event
Use your social media feed to share pictures (obtain written parental permission before posting pictures of children) and activities during the week of VBS to create interest and “chatter” among those who are attending and those who might still come.
Keep the Excitement Going
VBS generally lasts a very short time. Expand your impact and keep the buzz going by sending students home with activity books and backpacks that can help them tell the story and share the good news about Jesus they learned with others.
Connect with Parents
One of the easiest ways to reach people is through their children. Invite parents to be a part of VBS with their children, either as helpers or participants. For those who need a break, offer a time for Bible study or devotion and prayer, a discussion group, or just friendly fellowship. Invite them back to other events and give them information about the different types of ministry your church offers. Ask about any needs or prayer requests they might have. A few weeks after VBS, reconnect with a phone call, email, or a “We Prayed for You” card.
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