This week I received an excellent question from one of our VBS Friends: "We are trying to decide who needs to go to the VBS Preview. How many people from our church would we need to make sure we get all the information from each session? How many sessions are there and what are they about?"
I received a similar question last week from a pastor who had the money to send five people and wanted to know who to choose. We receive similar questions each year, and I thought you might be trying to decide who to bring with you as well.
Previews are 50% informational (how tos), 50% motivation (why tos), and 100% inspirational. I know you the math doesn't add up, but you get the idea. Our goal is to get you and your team started on your VBS journey by providing brief technical how tos for your specific VBS assignment (i.e. how to enlist workers, how to teach first graders, how to make a craft applicable to the daily Bible lesson, how to build a worship rally stage set).
We want you to leave Preview EQUIPPED!
Another aspect of Preview is to get you and your team motivated by embracing the why tos of VBS. You are more likely to take your VBS responsibilities to new levels of commitment, expertise, and creativity if you understand and embrace why we do what we do before, during, and after VBS. For example, VBS leaders typically become much more evangelistic once they realize the great opportunity VBS provides to connect not only with unchurched kids but with their parents as well. Embracing the why tos of VBS stirs our passion to take our VBS beyond what we have done in the past and challenges us to reach more, teach more, and evangelize more.
We want you to leave Preview with PASSION!
The descriptive we most often hear from Preview guests is inspirational. We know you can get the how tos without attending Preview. In fact, I wrote a post last week titled Training is a VBS Priority that outlines all the ways LifeWay's VBS team provides how tos. What sets Previews apart is the motivational and inspirational aspects of the events.
VBS leaders are often the men and women who are heavily invested in the mission and ministry of their churches. They are often the people who are at church every time the door is open. They are often the people who spend so much time feeding others they have little opportunity to be fed themselves. Previews are a lot more than enthusiasm about a VBS theme and curriculum. Previews are about the needs of the individuals attending. Sure they need VBS knowledge. Sure they need motivation. But quite often their greatest need is time away from the everyday to reconnect with the voice and heart of God. That's why we strive to make general sessions inspirational as well as informational. We want our guests to leave excited about VBS 2015 Journey Off the Map, but more importantly we want our guests to leave excited about their relationship with Jesus Christ and the mission He has called them to.
We want you to leave as a completely sold-out VBS CHAMPION!
Hopefully, I have given you enough reason to bring your entire team, but I realize our friend's question has not been specifically answered. So here goes my attempt to do so.
A two-day Preview consist of three general sessions and six breakout sessions. There are eight to 14 options during each breakout session, for a total of approximately 35 different topics. We cover the basics of each age group, but we also have topics such as evangelism, Decorating Made Easy, enlisting workers, VBS music motions, and promoting VBS. You have a wealth of choices!
Some churches are represented by just one or two leaders. Others are represented by 20 or more. But typically, churches are represented by four or five leaders. As a VBS director, if I could only bring one other person I would want to bring the person who will be responsible for coordinating VBS follow-up. In addition to sessions for directors I would attend elementary-aged group sessions and would ask my co-worker to attend preschool sessions.
If I could bring a third person I would want that person to be my pastor (who would also represent youth and adult VBS). Anyone else I could bring would cover preschool and elementary-aged kids.
Obviously I would say bring your entire team, but I know that is not reality. Your goal should be to bring people who can best help you inform, motivate, and inspire the rest of the team and the congregation. It has not been unusual to see one person represent a church the first year. Followed by three or four the next year, and then a van load the third year. When your VBS leaders experience the information, motivation, and inspiration of Preview that want others to share that experience with them the next year.
So whether you attend by yourself or bring a bus load, we look forward to sharing our January with you. To learn more about Preview, click here.
Join the conversation: How do you decide who you bring with you to Preview?