Several years ago I gathered groups of people together in Nashville, Houston, and Oklahoma City with the mission of discovering what brings people back to VBS training events. We know that getting people to attend the first time takes a lot of work, but it takes even more work to get them to return the next year. We wanted to know the key element (ingredient, activity) that turns a casual attendee into a fan that will return year after year after year.
The single element that emerged from all three groups was "WOW!" People want to experience wow. People want to be wowed. People want to tell their friends about the wow.
You might be wondering what creates the "wow" moment of a VBS training or Preview event? There is no easy or single answer. Every person who attends might possible be wowed by something different. For some it is a confetti cannon unexpectedly shooting off streamers at the end of a song. For someone else it is the content or presenter of a specific breakout session. For still others the wow moment is created by the sheer numbers of people and energy of the crowd.
Wow comes from the unexpected. You know you have created "wow" when an attendees parting words are, "This event was so much more than I expected."
State and associational VBS leaders across the country are getting ready to provide regional and local VBS training events in the next four months. I'm often asked what it takes to get people to attend these event. While not a simple question to answer, we know part of the answer is Wow!
When people give up a Tuesday evening or Saturday morning to attend VBS training they are hoping (actually expecting) to be encouraged, challenged, inspired - in short, WOWED. People are not looking for someone to read the leader guide to them. Most are not even looking for someone to tell them how to conduct a Vacation Bible School.
People want to know what they can do to make their VBS or class stand out from the rest. They want to know the short cuts, the success stories, and the out-of-the-box ideas others have tried. People want to be encouraged, challenged, inspired - in short, WOWED!
If you are a VBS leader preparing to train others make sure you include the unexpected. Make sure you include the WOW!