The final weeks and days before VBS can be overwhelmingly busy, especially for the director or teacher who feels she is carrying all or most of the responsibility single-handedly. The following tips will not only make the days leading up to VBS more manageable, but possibly even more enjoyable.
- Give the ministry back to God
It’s easy to become so wrapped up in the details and responsibilities of VBS we temporarily forget the ministry actually belongs to God. Once ownership is taken we tend to convince ourselves the success or failure of the week rest on our shoulders alone. In doing so we not only create unhealthy stress for ourselves and others, we rob ourselves of the joy of experiencing God’s amazing power working in and through us. Do yourself and the ministry a favor by relinquishing ownership and giving VBS back to God.
- Enlist a personal prayer warrior
Knowing someone is praying specifically for you and the tasks you have been given provides a great sense of freedom and power. Enlist a personal prayer warrior who will commit to pray for you daily. Share your needs and concerns and keep your warrior updated. As you and your warrior take specific requests to God you become a team of three. No longer are you carrying the load single-handedly.
- Overview daily sessions
Take time, as far in advance of the week of VBS as possible, for a quick overview of each day’s session. Make a mental note of the daily themes and Bible stories. Ask God to allow the Bible truths and daily life applications to become real in your own life so that you will be able to teach the truths with fresh and personal experience.
- Create lists
As you overview each session, add information to the following lists: Shopping, Items to Collect from Congregation, Items from Church Resource Room, Items to Prepare. Your goal is to minimize time and the number of trips needed to gather supplies and prepare teaching items.
- Hold a Prep Party
Once supplies have been gathered set aside an evening to create teaching items. Turn the evening into a party by inviting other workers to join you. If you will have multiple items that need to cut out invite a few extra people and tell them to bring their best scissors. Approaching preparation of resources and teaching items as a team effort will save everyone time and insure all preparation is completed in advance of the first day of VBS. Holding the Prep Party at the church or where a copier and laminator are available will cut down on additional trips and time.
- Create daily folders
In advance of the Prep Party create and label a large folder, shopping bag, or box for each day plus one additional container for supplies that will be needed throughout the week. As you sort supplies and create teaching items place them in the appropriate container. By the end of the Prep Party you will have everything needed for each session in the appropriate container and ready for use. On the first day of VBS simple pick up the Day 1 container and you have everything you need.
- Take a deep breath
Finally, take a few moments to breath and relax. If necessary, schedule the time in your calendar. Spend the time thanking God that He is in control of VBS and for allowing you the awesome privilege of reaching boys and girls, teens, and adults with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Written by Jerry Wooley, LifeWay's VBS Ministry Specialist, and originally published in 2012.