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 Jori Abbott and Lynne Luther, co-directors, First Baptist Church, Hendersonville, Tennessee.
Start planning early – December/January for a summer VBS. Set important dates and deadlines, confirm your budget, recruit workers, and pray!
Cultivate relationships throughout the year with community programs that cater to children – day care centers, schools, gymnastic and dance academies, summer day camps - and invite them to participate as a group in your VBS.
Build a great team of VBS Workers, starting with a Director who has leadership skills. Assign specific areas of responsibility and have monthly progress meetings with each person reporting on their progress. Recruit teachers early, train them, and provide as much support as possible.
Involve all church members by asking them to pray, bring food for the children and workers, bring donations, greet guests the first day of VBS, etc.
Pre-register the children starting in February/March using an online form and make contact by phone or email before VBS. Give parents the information needed for attendance at VBS and answer any questions.
Develop a VBS program for Special Needs children and recruit children from the local school system and community.
Include missions as part of your VBS and involve the church. Have a missions contest between the Lead Pastor and the Children’s Pastor, the Head of the Deacons, the VBS Director, etc. Allow church members to contribute to the contest two Sundays prior to VBS and encourage the children to bring missions offering daily. The loser has to take a pie in the face or kiss an animal, and the class bringing the most money gets a Popsicle party the last day of VBS. Make sure the members and the children know how the money will be used.
Declare the Sunday after VBS as “VBS Sunday”. Invite the children to lead worship repeating the daily rally, give all the important facts and figures to the church members – how many attended, amount of missions offering, number of confessions of faith, etc., and thank the church members for their part.
Follow up with families, even if by email, thanking them for bringing their children, giving them the dates of next year’s VBS, and encouraging participation again.