Vacation Bible School: Secrets Of Success (Newsletter 3-12)

Vacation Bible School: Secrets Of Success
Kevin D. Hendricks

I think Vacation Bible School has to be one of the more interesting events churches do. In some circles it’s a no-brainer, an event that happens every year as if it were part of the church calendar. The idea itself is little more than 100 years old, though recently VBS has become more and more complicated, especially as publishers develop thematic curriculum.

But no matter the curriculum or format or the outlandishness of the theme, how can VBS best be used to bring people to God? After all, that’s the goal. It happens when kids come and hear about God, it happens when parents learn more about faith, and it happens when families start coming to church.

Here’s some ways to maximize the impact of VBS:

• Getting kids to show up is the first step, and scheduling has a lot to do with that. It used to be that VBS was the only thing for kids to do in the summer, but now kids are completely overbooked. Consider a schedule that makes it easy for busy families. One night a week throughout the summer might be easier than one solid week. Also consider daytime vs. evening.

• It’s awesome to have kids come to VBS who never come to church (again, that’s the idea, isn’t it?), but the ideal would be to have them start coming to church after VBS. What efforts do you have to encourage the VBS crowd to come on Sunday? This might include having children’s ministry leaders tell kids about the church’s normal offerings for kids or even structuring your VBS so it flows into your regular children’s programming.

• A big part of getting the kids to come back is getting their parents to come. Try a special night of VBS for parents or even programming designed for parents at the same time as VBS. Make that special effort to reach out to families and introduce them to the rest of church. At the least send a brochure or invite card home with the kids.

• In the competition for kids’ eyeballs the church is going to lose. Let’s be realistic. It’s not easy to outdo Sesame Street. So if you don’t have a charismatic emcee or a super fun theme, don’t try. Take a different approach and offer kids something more laidback and relaxed. Sometimes just giving kids attention is more important than any ritzy show.
When Kevin isn’t busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998 and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.

The above article, “Vacation Bible School: Secrets of Success” was written by Kevin D. Hendricks. The article was excerpted from web site. August 2017.

The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”