Your guide to stress-free, mess-free VBS planning

January 30th, 2018

Congratulations — you’ve accepted the awesome and amazing task of directing your church’s Vacation Bible School! Now what?

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a first-timer, VBS planning can have a reputation for being overwhelming­ — but with the right tools, it doesn’t have to be. Keep calm and get your VBS on with this stress-reducing VBS Director’s Planning Guide:

6 months+ before VBS (a.k.a. Right Now!)

  • Enlist Prayer Support: Gather a team committed to praying for all of your VBS planning, leadership, helpers, and attendees. Keep it fun by incorporating prayer jars, candy prayers, prayer walks, and other team activities.
  • Choose Your Curriculum: Many buyers list music and decorations as their top priorities for selecting a VBS curriculum, but don’t stop there! The perfect VBS for your community will also offer:
    • Sound theology and a statement of faith that is compatible with your church
    • Easy-to-follow lessons for both churched and unchurched kids, as well as experienced and new leaders (ask for Sample Lessons to be sure!)
    • Accessible tools and support including publicity helps, training events, community connections, and troubleshooting as needed
    • Once you have your curriculum, set aside time to familiarize yourself completely with all of its print and media components.

4–6 months before VBS

  • Set Your VBS Schedule: Coordinate with your church leadership to set dates and times that will best fit your team and community. Publish them on your church calendar, and encourage your congregation to save the date!
  • Recruit Your Team: For best results, select one person to cover each large aspect of VBS (publicity, decorating, activity centers, etc.), and consult with them to assign helper positions. Follow your church’s guidelines for child safety in every aspect of this process.

1-3 months before VBS

  • Begin Rolling Out Your Publicity: Your curriculum should have tools and timelines for you to publicize your VBS but no matter what you do, make sure your strategy includes indoor and outdoor signage, personal invitations, and social media.
  • Train Your Team: Plan a training event that includes refreshments along with previews of your VBS music, activities, and Bible content. Establish clear expectations for each role, and thank your team members profusely and often.
  • Streamline Your Registration Process: Most VBS programs benefit from using online registration (usually offered by the publisher) because of its speed, convenience, and reporting tools. If this is not yet a good option for you, be sure you have one person in charge of your registration, and keep all forms and payments in a secure central location.

1 week before VBS

  • Have a VBS Decorating Party: Get your whole team on deck to create an atmosphere for VBS adventure! Where possible, allow team leaders and their helpers to decorate their respective spaces. Provide enough supplies and energy-enhancing snacks for everyone.
  • Host a Community Kick-off Event: VBS Kick-Off events are a great way to attract attendees who might otherwise never come in contact with your church. For best results, connect the event with your VBS theme and plan for it to include a simple meal, a character or video presentation, and on-the-spot registration.

After VBS

  • Stay in Touch with Your Attendees: Continue reaching out into your community even after VBS ends. Invite them to special events, offer transportation whenever possible, and keep social media outlets engaged and exciting.
  • Thank Your Team: Show your team how much you value them with a VBS Wrap Party just for them, an Appreciation Service at your church, thank-you notes or postcards, and/or more of your own creative ideas.

Take a Hard-Earned and Well Deserved Break! Before you know it, it will be time to ramp it up again for next year...

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