Leaders from the four associations reporting the largest attendance in 2014 shared the following tips for increasing attendance.
- Find a location that is centrally located and stay with it.
- Ensure the date and time does not conflict with other major community events such as the first day of little league season.
- If the association consist of multiple counties or is divided by a geographic boundary such as a river that people refuse to cross, hold multiple events. (When I served as the VBS promoter for Union Baptist Association in Houston, Texas, VBS leaders from the suburbs didn’t like to travel to the city and visa versa.)
- Be sensitive to the differences of church sizes. Workers from smaller membership churches are often intimidated by large church facilities. Workers from the largest churches often feel the content of associational training applies to smaller churches and is not adequate for them.
- Support of pastors and the associational leadership is essential.
- Enlist training team members from as many churches as possible.
- For evening events, consider feeding attendees a simple and quick meal.
- Take advantage of associational meetings to promote the importance and results of VBS training.
- Create or purchase large decorations such as the worship rally set and let churches attending training sign up to use them.
- Collect e-mail addresses and phone numbers of everyone attending training events and use them the next year to contact both church leaders and individual workers.
- Do something that is unexpected. The leading association offered free helicopter rides during the Amazing Wonders Aviation training.
- Make sure the training offered is truly valuable and worth the time.
Bonus tip: Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.