If you know me at all you know I believe VBS is an all-church ministry. VBS is a ministry that has the ability to reach the entire family and should be embraced by every age-group and ministry of the church. VBS continues to be one of the most successful outreach ministries conducted by most churches and typically results in approximately 80,000 professions of faith each year.
With the first big week of VBS 2014 just days away, it is critical for pastors to know and accept the vital role they have in assuring a successful VBS.
1. The Pastor sets the pace and level of enthusiasm. A congregation typically mirrors the attitude and priorities of the pastor. When the pastor exhibits personal support for VBS and makes it a priority the congregation will typically do the same.
2. The Pastor is the team coach. While the VBS Director may be tasked with leading the logistical aspects of VBS, the pastor is the coach. He challenges, inspires, trains, and leads by example.
3. The Pastor is the head cheerleader. VBS requires a team, and like all teams they perform best when encouraged, appreciated and celebrated. Pastors have the best platform of all (the pulpit) to cheer on the team.
4. The Pastor inspires by his presence. VBS is not the week for the pastor to hole up in his office or take vacation. He needs to be on the parking lot, in the registration area, involved in the Worship Rally, wondering the halls, and in the classrooms. Workers need to see the pastor as a committed member of the team. Kids need to see the pastor as caring and approachable. Parents need to see the pastor as someone who is personally interested in them and their children.
5. The Pastor leads the charge to continue connections with unchurched families. Collectively we annually identify approximately one million unchurched individuals through VBS. Approximately ten percent of everyone attending VBS admits to being unchurched, and when parents and other siblings are added in that number is approximately 40 people for every church conducting VBS. While the pastor should not be expected to be solely responsible for continuing connections (follow-up) he should lead the way!
6. The Pastor is the primary storyteller. VBS results in tremendous stories of transformation, opportunities, and discovered abilities. Telling these stories is part of making VBS an all-church ministry and involves the congregation in celebrating the success of the week. As the pastor shares the stories of VBS he builds support and becomes the primary recruiter for next year.
Jerry Wooley, @vbsguy, has served as LifeWay's VBS Ministry Specialist since 2006.