In the perfect scenario we have had the attention of a kid for 15 hours - ( 3 hours a day for 5 days) - and have used every moment to teach and reinforce Scripture. But you and I know VBS is rarely a perfect world.
Even when we use every element (worship rally, Bible study, music, crafts, recreation, snacks, and even transition time as kids are rotating from one area to the next) to teach God's Word, our time and influence with kids is minuscule compared to the time they have at home with their parents. It just makes sense to bring parents onto the VBS team.
VBS continues to be one of the very best evangelistic opportunities most churches will have all year. More kids will enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ through VBS than any other event on the church calendar. But how much greater could the evangelistic impact of VBS be if parents were equipped to continue the truths taught during the week of VBS at home?
Thankfully Scripture is taught and reinforced at home by many parents, but there are far more parents - even parents who are in church every Sunday - who do not know where to begin. Parents need to be trained, equipped with resources, and most of all encouraged to continue the lessons of VBS at home. Here are some ways to start - even if your VBS was two or three weeks ago.
- Provide Adult VBS using the same Scriptures and theme being used with the kids. Parents will not only be introduced to the Scriptures themselves, but the teacher can demonstrate ways to help parents know how to ask questions and reinforce the lessons at home. Even if your VBS was several weeks ago it is not too late to offer an adult VBS. You can use the resources in LifeWay's VBS 2015 Adult VBS Starter Kit for five consecutive Sundays or Wednesdays, in a home-group setting, or for a weekend (Friday night/Saturday morning) emphasis or retreat.
- Invite parents to attend a parenting workshop at the same time their kids are attending VBS or in the following weeks. Resources for a parenting workshop are included in LifeWay's VBS 2015 Adult VBS Starter Kit.
- Offer a Pre-VBS meeting similar to pre-camp meeting. This could be during a pre-registration event or during the first 30-60 minutes of the VBS day. Share the Bible stories and emphasis that will be used during week. Provide parents with talking points/questions and suggest ways to use them during meal or travel conversations. This idea could also be used as a VBS Wrap-up meeting or as part of VBS Celebration (Family Night).
- Give parents a copy of the VBS 2015 Takin' It Home Parent Guide and explain how to use it to initiate conversations with their kids.
- Give each family a copy of the VBS 2015 Explorer Bible and encourage them to use the 30-day devotions as a daily family activity. If your VBS has already passed you could provide Bibles at the beginning of July or August and turn the family devotion time into a special emphasis for the month. Parents will be equipped to continue the lessons of VBS at home and in 30 days they will create a new routine that might become a family tradition. Be ready to share other devotional resources at the end of the 30-day emphasis.
- Provide each family with a copy of the VBS 2015 Takin' It Home CD. One reproducible copy is in each VBS 2015 Jump Start Kit. Files are also available for free download at lifeway.com/vbs. Encourage families to listen to the daily segments together and discuss what was learned during the day.
- Start a Continued Connections class for parents of unchurched kids discovered during VBS. Instead of expecting parents to fit into existing Bible study classes, provide a new class specifically for them. Content for the first five weeks could be the lessons from VBS. Tell parents you want them to know what their kids were taught. Each session could include tips for talking to their kids about the lesson.
- Create daily Tweets, Instagram comments with photos, Facebook postings, or e-mails with information from one of the VBS Bible studies. Include a Scripture reference and one or two questions to use during family discussions.
- Conduct a neighborhood evening Backyard Kids Club and encourage parents to participate with their kids during the Bible study portion of the evening. Following Bible study gather parents to one side and suggest ways they can lead their kids at home to continue exploring the truths taught during the session.
- Pray for parents and let them know you are praying for them. Encourage them in their journey to be the spiritual leaders of their homes. Periodically let them know you are there to support them and provide resources as needed.