It's that Time Again—Time to Plan for VBS!

January 24th, 2014

Christmas is over. The New Year is here, and believe it or not, it’s time to start thinking about summer. Don’t let the cold temps and snowflakes fool you; summer break will be here before you know it. And with it comes one of the largest children’s ministries of the year—Vacation Bible School! Most experienced ministry leaders know that now is the time to start planning!  

Don’t know where to start? Here are five simple steps to begin.

Enlist Prayer Support

Everyone agrees—Vacation Bible School is a lot of work! Its success is dependent first and foremost on the Lord’s help and blessing. Pray, pray and pray, and ask others to do so as well. Consider enlisting a team of prayer warriors who will commit to praying diligently for all the planners, leaders, and teachers, as well as the children who will be attending.

Outline the Details

In cooperation with other leaders in your church, determine the dates for your program and an appropriate budget. Don’t forget to take into consideration food, craft, and even postage costs as well as the traditional cost of curriculum. In addition, discuss and outline a plan for the specific locations of the program, including which classrooms will be used for which activities.  Consider whether your church will have a transportation ministry and if so, ask someone to take charge of those details (including safety).

Choose the Curriculum Now

Decide which curriculum your church is going to use, and go ahead and purchase the starter kit. Ask about “early bird” specials and discounts for people like you who don’t wait until the last minute.  Also, consult curriculum representatives about planning events that you may be able to attend. Purchase the complete curriculum and purchase/begin collecting any needed supplies as soon as you can.

Delegate Responsibilities

Begin recruiting volunteers as soon as possible. Assign one person to cover each large aspect of VBS. For example, ask one person to be in charge of promotions, one to plan large assembly/worship time, one to head up crafts, one to recruit teachers, etc. Don't forget any special event or final celebration your church plans. The more volunteers you have the more excited everyone will be. Share the joy!

Train your Volunteers

Plan a training event for your leaders and teachers. Make sure to reward them for their efforts by including refreshments or a free meal. Establish clear expectations and deadlines. Meet as needed to make sure that all objectives are being met, but respect time limitations. Try to keep the meetings brief.

Most Vacation Bible Schools traditionally take place during the months of June and July. So, if you start planning in January, you have five or six months. That may seem like plenty of time, and it is—if you start now! But if you don’t, time will slip up on you. So, the biggest piece of planning advice is “Don’t put it off. Don’t wait!” The sooner you get started, the less stress and the more fun you will have. 

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