The best VBS leaders are learners, and the best learners enjoy sharing with others what they have learned through trial and error. Today's advice comes from Mary Wood, Director of Children's Ministry, First Baptist Church New Port Richey, Florida
1.Breaking the Language Barrier: Be intentional in explaining the meaning of words/references that are commonly used in the church setting. (Examples - baptism, salvation, fellowship hall, etc) 1st & 2nd graders respond well to visual-aids and object lessons.
2. Church Etiquette: Be sure to model proper etiquette for how to sit during a prayer, participate in worship, or holding/reading their Bible. Implement a Buddy System for children who are familiar with the church to help a child who is unfamiliar with proper etiquette.
3. Looking up Scripture: Be ready to help 1st/2nd graders look up verses and use their Bibles. Unchurched children need to be taught that the Bible is God’s Word to us and that we can believe what it says. Help them find the application to the verses they are reading by discussing the meaning of the verse and finding ways to apply it to their life.
4. Teaching Bible Stories: Be prepared to give background to the Bible stories that you are teaching. By “connecting the dots" of the Bible story through people, places, and situations children can understand the bigger picture of His plan for them.
5. Behavior: Be ready for anything! Unchurched kids don’t always know that certain words or behaviors are inappropriate - especially in a church setting. Respond to a child’s behavior with love and kindness.
6. Intentional Conversations: Be intentional in finding ways to talk about and show God’s love to 1st/2nd graders. As you are walking down the hall, playing a game, sharing a snack, or creating a craft project be intentional to share that God loves them and has a plan for their life.
7. Share the Gospel: Sharing the Gospel with 1st/2nd graders, churched or unchurched, is the most important thing we can do at VBS. Be prepared to share the Gospel and give opportunity for children to respond.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION: What advice to do you have for working with unchurched children and families during VBS?