CONDUCTING A SUCCESSFUL VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
VBS: What Is It?
Vacation Bible school is miles of string, cartons of glue, boxes of sticks, yards of cloth, and noise . . . woodburning sets left on basement church pews, paint on the floor, varnish on the table, and noise . . . shoes scuffing the carpet, chewing gum under the seats, whispering youngsters, never enough time to get through, and noise!
“Vacation Bible school is the noisiest, pushiest, loudest youngster for two weeks whose voice is so low you can hardly hear it on closing night. lt is “Oh, Boy!” and “l don’t want to do it!” wrapped up into one bundle. lt is bathrobes, and prompters, and playlets that sometimes come close to the narrative in the Scriptures.
“lt is the church, planning for months how it can serve its youth. lt is preparation meetings; orders for supplies, when you hope there will be enough; pleas for teachers to give cheerfully of their time, without pay.
“Vacation Bible school is a boy and a girl learning to pray when others pray. lt is a time-the first time-some pupils learn that God loves them; it is the first time a youngster hears the name of Jesus spoken reverently.
“lt is a minister frank enough to tell an audience on closing night that parents have a God-given responsibility to bring up their children in the fear and in the knowledge of God. lt is one opportunity during the year when parents see for themselves that people are concerned enough about the eternal destiny of their boys and girls to give hours of effort to teach them to know and to love the sweetest name in any language-Jesus.
“Vacation Bible school is a young person, who, at the age of responsibility, for the first time sees Jesus dying on the cross for the sins of all mankind. lt is a hope-a hope that these two weeks may be the turning point for a Paul, a Timothy, a Simon Peter, or an Alexander Campbell disguised in blue jeans and a tee shirt.
“It is the earnest prayer that Jesus Christ will be confessed as Savior and Lord as a result of the teaching sessions and that the missionary stories will find their sequels in young visions.
“Vacation Bible school is Jesus Christ himself saying softly in a thousand ways, and above the noise and songs and penciled workbooks, ‘Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.’ ” *Wayne Shaw
Neither Mrs. D. G. Miles nor Mrs. Walter Hawes, the initiators of the VBS movement, would hardly recognize a VBS now if they were to return to life. Mrs. Miles began her VBS to supplement the all-too-short Sunday-school hour. lt lasted all summer long and was conducted in a public school and park.
Like Robert Raikes who began the Sunday school in England, Mrs. Hawes started her “Everyday Bible School” to minister to neglected children on New York’s East Side. The year was 1898. lt lasted two hours each day, five days a week, for six weeks-not in a church building, but in a rented beer parlor. A variety of activities filled the schedule for the first Everyday Bible School, for the purpose of that VBS was broader than Bible teaching alone. Nature study, handwork, cooking, and sewing were also included. For seven years Mrs. Hawes conducted her program to minister to unchurched children.
Vacation Bible schools have changed with the times. What once was a program for neglected children is now a church program for all ages. What once relied on only local leadership for ideas and materials is now supplied attractive, educationally found materials by many publishers. VBS has come of age.
Clearly stated goals for your VBS are a must if you are to use your energy and resources efficiently. Since you have limited time and resources, you really have little choice except to plan carefully.
Two major goals stand out. The first is evangelism and outreach. This has always been a major thrust of the VBS program since its inception-at least until recent years. Refreshing new breezes of evangelistic effort seem to be blowing again these days.
VBS allows you unique opportunities to reach those unreachable by a traditional Sunday program. Children usually want something to do when they aren’t in school. They are, then, susceptible to a VBS invitation. Go all out to reach them. If those who attend VBS, and their families, are followed up with an evangeiistic interest, outreach will be achieved.
Teaching and training is a second major goal. Once the children are at VBS, there is ample time to introduce and reinforce Biblical truths. VBS should teach and train both the Christian and the unsaved. Careful planning must be given to every facet of the VBS program to make sure good teaching is done.
Other goals may permeate your planning. Some churches make VBS a time for mission emphasis and education. Others program heavily for recreation. Still others emphasize crafts and/or music. These all seem to be legitimate program emphases if they are plugged into the broader goals of evangelism and teaching.
No one can define your church’s goals except those of you who make up the congregation. No one can define the direction for your VBS except those who are called to lead it. One would hope, however, that you will strike a fine balance between evangelism and teaching. The choice is critical, for it colors every other decision you make.
WHEN? HOW LONG?
When Should you conduct VBS? That question is answered in many ways, depending upon where you live and how you define the purpose of your VBS.
The length of VBS varies. Many churches still conduct a two-week school. Some are unable to program for longer than five days. Others have a morning and afternoon program for five days. Several churches have recently begun to conduct an eight-day school.
The eight-day program usually is done in one of three patterns: four days each week for two weeks (either Monday-Thursday or Tuesday-Friday), five days the first week and three the second (ending on Wednesday), or three days the first week and five the second (beginning on Wednesday, ending on Friday). Some schools have also utilized the Sunday-school hour on the Sunday between the two weeks to include a ninth lesson.
Another possibility is to build a day-camp program-a day per week for ten weeks-which uses the VBS materials for Bible lessons.
WHAT TIME OF DAY?
When to conduct VBS is another question. Morning? Afternoon? Evening? When is the best time?
There is no best time for VBS. lt depends upon your purpose in having VBS in the first place, as well as circumstances in your community. If you conduct your program during the day, you will likely reach more unchurched children. If you have your program in the evening, you can include adults in the classes and make VBS a family affair. So define your purpose first, survey your community needs and patterns, then plan your VBS accordingly. Some churches plan some VBS classes for morning and some for evening, particularly when they are short of space.
Use your imagination then. Pick the best time for you.
WHAT’S NEW IN SCHEDULING?
Day camps present an exciting scheduling option for your VBS. Schedule your program from 9:00 A.M. until 4:00 P.M., away from the church building. Plan the program for only one specific age group at a particular time and place. A day camp may be a supplement to or a follow-up for the conventional VBS program.
Perhaps a conventional VBS could be held for pre-schoolers. Then a day-camp program for Primaries, Middlers, and Juniors could be developed. An evening teen VBS could be planned for Youth.
Make your day camp a time of outreach. Allow a child to come only when he brings an unchurched friend with him.
A neighborhood VBS conducted in someone’s backyard has been a successful tool for many churches, particularly in metropolitan areas. Find some families who will invite neighborhood children to their homes for a replica of the VBS program at the church building.
Plan a Satellite VBS for the recreation rooms in apartment complexes or low income housing areas. If a room isn’t available, try to use a park nearby. Either will allow you to reach children in areas often not easily reached in a traditional manner.
Schedule Family VBS for evenings. One Oklahoma church schedules a professor from a Bible college to conduct an adult class. A Colorado church has several adult electives. That congregation also offers a variety of creative expressional activities open to both youth and adults. Choices may vary from packaged crafts to building equipment for the children’s departments, volleyball to cake decorating, backpacking to decoupage, archery to needlepoint. They have experienced unusual success in crossing age barriers.
Holiday VBS can be scheduled for spring vacation, one of the Christmas vacation weeks, or semester break. Implement either a partial or full-scale VBS program. This can be a prime time to involve youngsters.
Mission VBS may be conducted in a neighboring community or another section of the city, perhaps as a way to survey for a new congregation or a bus ministry. Another type of mission VBS can be for a group of teens, college/career young people, or even older adults, or go to a mission work to conduct their VBS for them. Extensive planning and preparation must be made, but it is an excellent means of outreach.
HOW DO YOU PLAN?
Make out a VBS Planning Calendar to organize your thinking and preparation for VBS. Check off each item as you complete it. If you will follow a plan similar to the one below, you will be ready when the first day of VBS arrives!
As Early as Possible
Choose VBS dates and time.
Order sample materials kit and filmstrip to review course.
Pray. Seek guidance in assigning activities, recruiting workers, and ordering materials.
4 Months Before VBS
Plan teacher-training program.
Plan missions project. Make plans for each department’s participation. Contact missionary or organization related to chosen project.
Plan closing program. ‘
Appoint department superintendents.
Pray with the department superintendents. Pray for completion of recruiting and training.
3 Months Before VBS
Order lesson and craft materials. Use last year’s records to guide your ordering,
2 Months Before VBS
Give materials to department superintendents.
Give materials to teachers.
Plan dedication service for VBS workers. Secure the minister’s approval and assistance.
Conduct training program.
Plan for pre-registration.
Plan follow-up program with Sunday-school superintendent.
Plan awards for contests.
1 Month Before VBS
Order all supplies not previously ordered.
Hold staff prayer meeting.
Show VBS filmstrip to entire congregation.
Recheck staff and materials.
Continue training program.
Check and adjust time schedules.
Immediately Before VBS
Recheck all details.
Set up decorations.
Pray with and for your staff regularly.
Maintain spirit of enthusiasm and encourage workers.
Secure additional supplies as needed.
Visit departments; make necessary adjustments.
Have someone available to run errands.
Make sure secretarial records are being kept properly.
Direct the closing program.
Thank the Lord for His blessings.
Express appreciation to all workers.
Begin follow-up program.
See that supplies are sorted, packed, labeled, and stored for next year.
File names and addresses of workers to be contacted next year.
Make written notes of all good ideas for VBS next year. Note how problems were solved and how to avoid similar problems in the future.
Collect staff evaluations.
Be sure reports are completed. Include notes of necessary adjustments in schedules, additional supplies needed, etc.
HOW DO YOU ORGANIZE?
The amount of organization you need for VBS is directly related to the size of the school. You need enough organization to get the job done-but no more. You need an organization with clear lines of communication, responsibility, and authority to do the job effectively.
An effort is made at spreading out responsibilities. The director of Christian education (it could be the VBS director if your church doesn’t employ a director of Christian education or a youth minister) works with two others who will supervise the activities of a specific age range. The director of Christian education and superintendents meet together to plan recruitment procedures and other VBS policies and programs. Each is given a list of prospective workers for recruitment and presented a set of guidelines under which to operate.
Needed Space Department Class Teacher/ Pupil
per Pupil Age Size Size Ratio
35 sq. ft. 2-3 18-20 4-6 1/5
35 sq. ft. 4-5 20-25 6-7 1/5
25-30 sq. ft. Grades 1 -2 25-30 6-8 1/6
25-30 sq. ft. Grades 3-4 30 6-8 1/7
20-25 sq. ft. Grades 5-6 30-35 8-10 1/8
20-25 sq. ft. Grades 7-8 35-40 10-12 1/8
18-20 sq. ft. Grades 9-12 50 12-15 1/12
15-18 sq. ft. Adults — 20-25 1/20
Keep in mind some simple organizational principles and you will have an efficient VBS.
1 . Try to avoid having any supervisor directly supervise the work of more than six other people. That avoids diffusing the work of one supervisor among too many volunteer workers.
2. Always have two workers in each class, especially in younger age groups.
3. Adhere as closely as possible to department class sizes and teacher-pupil ratios.
4. Rearrange space assignments to meet space needs as they arise.
5. Clarify job responsibilities.
HOW DO YOU GET WORKERS?
The obvious answer to the question of how to get workers is to overlook no one-absolutely nobody! But even that requires super sleuthing power and some practice.
Start by making a list of the staff for the last several years. Go back beyond the past year or you will miss some who can and will help under ordinary circumstances. Be sure to make a notation of what job they completed when they worked before.
Look over your Sunday School teaching roster. New workers who have not previously worked in VBS are often added to the Sunday-school staff during the year. Find out where they work.
Be alert for new members who haven’t yet assumed responsibilities anywhere in the teaching program. Many newcomers from other congregations may have teaching experience you should tap. New Christians may also be willing to assist in some way.
Use your college students who are home for the summer. They will be enthusiastic additions to your staff, if they can arrange VBS into their work schedules. High school students also do good work in positions where they don’t have to assume full responsibility and when they are adequately supervised. (Some are mature enough to work by themselves-but be sure they have proved themselves first before you thrust too much responsibility upon them.)
Each prospective worker should be contacted personally, either by telephone or with a personal call. A telephone call is probably adequate to reconfirm previous workers unless you know of some particular problem to be considered. Recruitment of new workers suggests a personal call to explain the VBS ministry and the nature of the job for which he is being recruited.
Use a simple recruitment form which can be filled out with check marks in the appropriate boxes as you make the contacts. These forms may be saved from one year to the next to assist the next director in developing a list of prospective workers.
4 Months Before VBS
Announce VBS dates and directors names in church bulletin.
Appoint department superintendents.
Announce department superintendents.
3 Months Before VBS
Meet with department superintendents to:
a. Outline recruitment schedules.
b. Set deadline dates for all activities.
c. List all staff needs.
d. Compile lists of prospective workers.
Begin contacting prospective workers.
Place survey form for workers in the church bulletin.
Put up recruitment posters in key spots. Include a sign-up sheet or supply of sign-up cards with each poster.
Insert special VBS flier in church bulletin.
Continue checking with department superintendents to see how they are progressing.
Put up display of teaching materials, crafts.
2 Months Before VBS
Directors and superintendents meet to review results of recruitment contacts. They:
a. List all recruits to date.
b. List remaining vacancies, with prospects for each.
c. Assign department superintendents to follow up on all remaining vacancies.
Announce beginning of Readiness Workshops in church bulletin.
Give materials to all recruits.
Conduct Readiness Workshops.
1 Month Before VBS
Last-minute personal contacts should be made by department superintendents to fill remaining positions.
Express appreciation to the staff.
HOW DO YOU PREPARE WORKERS?
Your curriculum materials will suggest several possibilities to prepare your workers for the VBS program. Why not call them Readiness Workshops? Plan them carefully to make them worthwhile for busy VBS workers.
Determine the number of workshops you will conduct on the basis of the need which exists. If you have a staff made up mostly of new workers, you will need to provide more preparation than if your staff is composed largely of those who have worked in VBS previously.
The emphasis is on readiness to teach-not formal academic teacher training, although some formal training will be introduced. The focus is practicality. Choose the time most appropriate for your group. Hold the workshops in actual facilities if at all possible. Plan with superintendents in advance to be sure that everyone carries out his task.
1. Welcome the workers.
2. Introduce the course. Use the filmstrip. Outline the forthcoming Readiness Workshop sessions.
3. Introduce the theme song.
4. Department sessions.
a. Check staff assignments.
b. Outline the daily schedule.
c. Distribute teaching materials.
1. General session.
a. Outline the missions program for VBS.
b. Explain the missions project.
2. Department sessions.
a. Discuss age characteristics. Have teachers write out a description for the age groups they will teach. Let teachers make a collage to illustrate characteristics. Then discuss.
b. Examine lesson aims in light of age characteristics.
c. Learn new music.
WORKSHOP THREE (Department workshops)
1. Demonstrate how to teach memory work in lessons one through five. Review the memory work.
2. Demonstrate several of the teaching methods suggested in the teachers’ books for lessons one through five. Involve the teachers in them.
3. Do student activity books for lessons one through five.
4. Play some of the games suggested in lessons one through five. Show how to use games and conversation to teach Biblical concepts.
WORKSHOP FOUR (Department workshops)
1. Demonstrate how to teach memory work in lessons six through ten. Review the memory work.
2. Demonstrate several of the teaching methods suggested in the teachers’ books for lessons six through ten. Involve the teachers in them.
3. Do student activity books for lessons six through ten.
4. Play some of the games suggested in lessons six through ten.
1. General session.
a. Sing songs.
b. Safety procedures.
d. Insurance coverage and parent permission for trips.
2. Department sessions learn how to do crafts.
These workshops may be conducted as five separate ninety-minute sessions or one all-day session. Choose that which best meets your needs. Alter the content to meet any special needs you have.
HOW DO YOU INVOLVE THE CONGREGATION?
Once you have recruited workers and selected curriculum, you must elicit total congregational support for your VBS venture. That is the only way to achieve maximum results.
Your publicity program is essential. Choose interesting, appealing ways to call VBS to the attention of everyone in the congregation.
+ Recruit VBS prayer partners to pray for specific children and workers who will be in the VBS program. Use the pulpit and church paper to promote this. Once the people have volunteered to pray, assign them the specific people and causes for which to pray. Keep them informed in the days leading up to VBS. Send reports after VBS.
+ Visit each adult Bible-school class several weeks before VBS. Ask them to give you names of children who should attend VBS. Encourage them to bring those children to VBS.
+ Put announcements in the bulletin and church paper. Make these catchy and appealing. Use art work where possible.
+ Show slides from the previous year’s VBS during an evening service.
+ Prepare bulletin board displays to show what VBS is and accomplishes.
+ Recruit shut-ins to cut out visual aids for teachers. This will give the shut-ins a sense of involvement.
+ Plan testimonial time. Have VBS workers from previous years give testimonies in public assemblies of the congregation.
+ Prepare news releases for the newspapers.
+ Make spot announcements on local radio stations.
+ Design hymnbook bands to advertise VBS dates and/or needs.
+ Recruit adults to provide refreshment items.
+ Teach the theme song in an evening service.
+ Arrange window displays to call attention to the VBS theme.
+ Prepare a mystery door. Use a door in a well-traveled area of the building and decorate it. When the door is opened, have a VBS message on the other side of it.
Keep VBS before the congregation, and the members will respond with enthusiasm.
HOW DO YOU RECRUIT STUDENTS?
VBS without pupils is a farce. VBS with less pupils than its potential is a tragedy. So set to work to saturate your congregation and community with VBS announcements designed to attract the age groups you plan to teach.
+ Personal invitation. Prepare lists of pupils who attend Bible school and those who attended VBS last year. Arrange the lists by classes. Give the lists to the appropriate teachers. Have each teacher send each person a postcard before VBS begins. Then have each teacher call each person a couple of days before VBS starts.
+ Posters in each Bible-school classroom. Use prepared posters, or have a poster contest among the Bible-school pupils. Include pictures from last year.
+ Show movies or slides from last year’s VBS. Use these in department assemblies to create interest.
+ Pre-registration party. Plan it carefully and publicize it well. Pre-register each child who attends.
+ Parade. This works well in small communities especially. lt is sometimes done as part of a pre-registration party.
+ Dodgers or flyers distributed to each house in a predesignated area. This makes a good youth group project.
+ Lawn banner.
+ Interest centers to emphasize VBS in department assembly areas.
+ Treasure hunt with a clue each Sunday. The last clue is available the first day of VBS. That will encourage first-day attendance.
+ Peepboxes with a VBS message.
+ Teach VBS theme song in various departments.
+ Teach fingerplays from VBS materials in appropriate departments.
+ VBS contest. Give the most points for bringing new children.
+ Once VBS begins, keep interest alive with Robbie the Robot. Make Robbie from a large cardboard box. Tape interviews with Robbie before VBS begins each day. Make Robbie’s appearance during the assembly time a reward for good behavior and for bringing new pupils. The children will love it.
+ VBS pre-registration fair. Set up fair booths with games like “Down with the Devil” and “Score for Christ.” Each child who comes to pre-register for VBS is given tickets to visit each booth. Serve refreshments.
+ Have a VBS clown who appears in various places (Bible-school classes, downtown, youth meetings) before VBS begins. Perhaps he can also appear during VBS occasionally.
Use these ideas-and others you have in mind-to build a successful outreach for your VBS.
HOW DO YOU PLAN A SCHEDULE?
VBS presents rare opportunities to teach the Word of God in an effective way if you will plan every activity carefully. You can present Bible truth and reinforce it repeatedly if you view every scheduled activity of the day as a part of the “lesson.”
Take worship, for example. Whether you plan your worship time as an introduction to the day’s activities or as a climax for the learning experience of the day, it can be a part of the total-session teaching emphasis if it is carefully planned around the lesson objective and theme for the day. Select Scripture and songs and poems to present and reinforce the Bible truth for the day.
FORMAL BIBLE TIME
The Bible lesson obviously is planned around the theme for the day. Even then, carefully selected lesson objectives are essential. You can then omit any activities from the curriculum materials if it is necessary to accomplish your objectives for your class. Or you can add activities of your own choosing. Every learning activity should contribute to the accomplishment of the objective. The Biblical presentation, the application of the Biblical material, the activity book-all will present and reinforce the same truth and responses to it.
Then there is craft time. Crafts should also present and reinforce the Bible truth for the day. No craft activity should ever be introduced if it cannot meet that test. Attractiveness, practicality, and originality are all secondary to its potential to accomplish the lesson goals.
Sometimes the chief concern for those who plan for crafts appears to be creativity and durability. These are admirable qualities-if they are secondary to the teaching objective for the day.
A director of crafts can help to correlate the craft program with the lesson objectives. Such a person should have a deep concern for Bible teaching and should, at the same time, be creative enough to plan craft projects to carry out the “Bible teaching. He can recruit and train a staff to do Bible teaching through crafts.
You may find it to your advantage to use the packaged crafts available from the publisher. Those crafts have been planned, designed, and produced with Bible teaching as the foremost objective. Creativity, uniqueness, and practicality are considered as well. Packaged crafts save hours of planning for correlation, shopping for materials, and training of staff. When you consider every cost, you may also find them more economical.
Even recreation can be used to teach if you plan well. Many teachers’ books suggest games and recreational activities which, if used, will further reinforce the Bible truth. Don’t just let the pupils free to do as they please during recreation time, and don’t just play the same games as usual-at least without figuring out ways to teach the Bible truth with them.
You may want to recruit a recreation director who will in turn recruit and train his staff, plan activities to correlate with the Bible teaching, and plan a recreational schedule to meet the needs of each age group. He too should sense the importance of Bible teaching.
THE OBJECTIVE IS THE KEY
Every activity of every VBS session should contribute to the achievement of the objective for the day. If the Bible lesson is about the Good Samaritan and the objective is for the pupil to be a good neighbor, then every activity-music, crafts, Bible time, recreation, anything else you include in the schedule-should emphasize the Bible content or the intended pupil response to it. Quite evidently, the selection of the lesson/unit objective is the key to successful daily VBS scheduling.
Plan for your VBS schedule to teach-for ever activity to teach-the Word of God, and to encourage the pupil’s response to it. Choose the objective carefully. Plan the activities in detail. Then teach with enthusiasm and leave the results up to God!
HOW DO YOU CONDUCT A CLOSING PROGRAM?
A closing demonstration program is a tradition-one that may need some new life. How will you develop your closing program?
The first choice is when to have the closing program. A good case may be made for the last day of VBS (although fathers and working mothers can’t attend if it is a day VBS), the evening of the last day of VBS, Sunday morning after VBS is over (but it seldom attracts as many of the unchurched children and parents as it should), or Sunday evening after VBS is finished. You choose the best time for your VBS-but do have a closing program for your pupils to demonstrate what they have learned.
What kind of a program will you conduct? Several options are available. Choose something to give variety to what has been done before. The same type of program year after year elicits poor response. Whatever kind of program you have, display the crafts and plan a short fellowship time with refreshments after the program itself.
+ Unified Program. Plan a program which involves everyone in telling about what happened in VBS. The directors’ book from most publishers includes a unified program. If you have someone who can write such a program, by all means use him.
+ Departmental Program. Each department may present a short program of its own with no particular effort to unify the various presentations. Teachers’ books usually include suggestions for such a program.
+ A Day in VBS. Follow the schedule for a day in VBS. Give parents and visitors directions about where to go for classes and various activities. Allow them to move from place to place if they have several children in VBS. Conclude with a unified devotional service.
+ Sights and Sounds of VBS. During VBS, have someone take slides of highlights of the daily programs. These may then be shown at the closing program accompanied by singing and narration by the pupils.
Plan the closing program carefully to portray what really happens in VBS. Reinforce your Bible teaching to the pupils as you inform the congregation.
HOW DO YOU EVALUATE?
Evaluation is a perfectly legitimate activity, an essential process, an often neglected area of life in VBS-unless you plan to do it. But how?
First, the director should evaluate the total VBS process. What went well? What needs to be improved? Who worked well? Who needs help? A sample checklist might be the following Director’s Evaluation Chart. Place one of the following evaluation notations before each item: S-satisfactory, A-acceptable, U-unsatisfactory.
1. Were teachers and helpers recruited early enough?
2. Were supplies ordered soon enough for staff members to make adequate preparation for the school?
3. Did teachers attend training sessions or departmental meetings?
4. Did the teachers have their activity books and samples of handcraft prepared in advance?
5. Did people in the community know about our VBS in advance? Was our publicity adequate?
6. Was transportation available for children who needed it?
7. Did we do a good job of recruiting the unchurched children in the community?
8. Did we make the best use of our space and equipment!
9. Did we have adequate teachers and helpers?
10. Did staff members understand their duties and fulfill them cheerfully and promptly?
11. Did the children gain a new interest in missions?
12. Was recreation properly planned and supervised for all classes?
13. Was the worship program well planned and reverent? Did the children have a genuine worship experience?
14. Was our final program scheduled and advertised so that a majority of parents could attend?
15. Was the final program well organized?
16. Were usable materials (visual packets, missionary packets, scissors, crayons, etc.) sorted and properly stored?
17. Were adequate records kept of the school? Will they be available for the director for next year?
18. Has provision been made for an evangelistic follow-up of new families contacted through the school?
19. Has church and Sunday-school attendance increased as a result of VBS?
20. Was the VBS material true to the Bible? Was it Christ centered?
The VBS staff should be asked to fill out an evaluation form to be turned in to the director. A form such as the following might be helpful.
1. How many department planning sessions did your superintendent hold? How many did you attend?
2. Did you feel that these sessions adequately prepared in the following areas:
a. Schedule for your department ()Yes ()No
b. Lesson preparation ()Yes ()No
c. Crafts ()Yes ()No
d. Other department activities ()Yes (()No
4. Suggestions for next year:
1. Printed materials
a. Were they suited to your age group? ()Yes ()No b. Were the audio visuals suitable? ()Yes ()No
c. Were suggested teaching methods helpful? ()Yes ()No
a. Were they suited to your age group? ()Yes ()No b. Did you have adequate supplies? ()Yes ()No
III. CLASSROOM ORGANIZATION
1. Were you satisfied with the number of children in your class? ()Yes ()No How many did you have?
2. Did you receive the supplies you needed? ()Yes ()No
1. What suggestions would help things run more smoothly for: Director:
2. Who made an outstanding contribution to VBS!
V. NEXT YEAR
1. What changes would you suggest for next year?
2. Will you work again next year? ()Yes ()No ()Same capacity ( ) Older group ( ) Younger group
Teachers should be encouraged to evaluate themselves. Their self-evaluations are private domain, however, and should not be collected. A sample self evaluation form follows. Each teacher should evaluate himself on a scale of 1 -5, with 5 being the highest.
1. Do I know all pupils’ names?
2. Did I know the material well enough to present it well?
3. Was I able to hold the pupils’ attention while I presented the lesson?
4. Was I able to relate the Scripture to the child’s daily life?
5. Did I relate the handcraft to the lesson?
6. Did I make good use of my time in the classroom?
7. Did I have a Christian spirit during the class session?
8. Have I planned ways to follow up my pupils after VBS is over?
The pupils’ spiritual growth is the goal for VBS. Their progress needs to be evaluated. Use the lesson aims, particularly the specific observable behaviors sought, to develop a checklist for pupils at each age level. Include social behaviors and other bits of Bible knowledge and Bible skills which you consider important. Have each teacher prepare a checklist for each pupil. These may then be shared with parents.
If you evaluate well, you will have an abundance of information to begin again next year. A successful VBS can be yours when you complete the cycle-plan, prepare, produce, and evaluate.
Have a good VBS!