If you haven't already done so, now is the time to begin planning for VBS 2015, and the first order of business is to determine the purpose. You need to answer the question, "What do we want to see happen as a result of VBS 2015?" Once answered, you need to establish goals achieve that outcome.
I believe many of us put tremendous time and effort into VBS without first sitting goals or thinking about what we hope to achieve. Of course I hope your ultimate goal is to create the most evangelistic event possible, but to truly achieve this goal you must think (and plan) beyond the actual week of VBS.
Look at your efforts as if you were building a bridge across a river. By effectively presenting the Gospel an evangelistic VBS lays the foundation on one side of the river, but the bridge is actually built until a relationship is established that connects kids and their parents to the Gospel and to the church. Ending our efforts at the close of VBS is like stopping construction when the bridge is barely begun. Work ceases, barricades are erected, and opportunity to lost.
Planning with the end in mind allows us to focus our resources, energy, time, and money on what we hope to achieve. It means we might not do some of the things we have done in the past, but instead do other things that moves us closer to our goal. For example, we might spend less time planning the decorations and more time planning how we will follow up and continue connections with the unchurched families discovered during the week of VBS.
Interested in becoming a bridge builder? If so, here are a few ideas to insure your evangelistic efforts do not end on the last day of VBS.
- Make follow up assignments by the last day of VBS and insist initial contacts be made immediately. Valuable opportunities are lost when contacts are delayed for days or weeks.
- Plan for a series of contacts that follow the initial contact - possibly one per week for the next six to eight weeks. Include personal visits, phone calls, notes from teachers, small theme-related gifts that extend the VBS experience, mailed information about the church, and invitations to other events and ministry opportunities.
- Create a reporting system that tracks follow-up contact assignments and results.
- Plan post VBS events designed to continue the VBS experience. Create opportunities such as neighborhood Bible clubs, a back-to-school party, or a fall festival designed to bring unchurched families together with church members they met during VBS. (Tip - the more time you allow to pass between VBS and these events the less successful you will be in keeping unchurched families connected.)
- Create a Connection Group (Sunday School class) specifically for the parents of unchurched kids discovered during VBS. Start the class the first Sunday after VBS be intentional during VBS to connect parents with the new connection group leader.
- Using VBS to Initiate Continued Connections
- 6 Essentials for Connecting with Unchurched Families
- 6 Ways to Build Relationships
- Random Tip 1412: Make Relationships a Priority
JOIN THE CONVERSATION: When and how have you seen bridges successfully built to unchurched families?