For churches desiring to have an inconsequential VBS, the following guidelines will be of inestimable help:
- Keep the event a secret from the church and community as long as possible.
- Begin planning the week before the school begins. Early planning leads to an effective school.
- Have as few departments and workers as possible. Let each worker study and prepare alone. Effective department and school planning tends to lead to an interesting Bible study program. This attracts children.
- Emphasize the leadership drain and financial burden upon the church. This discourages response and develops a defeatist attitude.
- Plan a schedule that will be as inconvenient as possible to children. Try planning it during summer school hours. This eliminates all but the preschoolers. If you can’t do this, plan it in the evening. By then most children will be in bed.
- Don’t provide child care for faculty members. This will discourage young adults from serving.
- Send the pastor off to the Southern Baptist Convention. This implies that VBS is not really important.
- Let the youth director take the youth to camp. The youth are too old to be interested in VBS, and too young to be on the faculty.
- Never use any publicity or promotional items that would lead children to believe that VBS is an exciting and fun place to go.
- Do not advertise the school. Newspaper announcements, leaflets, and door knob hangers are dangerous. Children and parents have a tendency to respond.
- Make children who come pay a registration fee or bring money for refreshments, crafts, or materials. This discourages those without funds or with little interest.
- Never, never invite children from a Day Care Center. They have a strong tendency to come.
- Do not under any circumstance provide transportation by car, bus, or van. If forced to do so, never publish a route schedule. Children will board these vehicles and come to Bible school.
- Serve only water. If some insist on additional refreshments, give them celery or carrot sticks. After a few days of this, many children may drop out.
- Don’t plan exciting events like excursions, educational trips, missionary personalities, or learning games. Children enjoy these things and respond with regular attendance.
- Limit enrollment to church families only. Stress quality, not quantity. Focusing on VBS as a “church family affair” will discourage members from bringing non-churched children in their neighborhoods.
- If new children do come, never allow Sunday School leaders to visit in their homes or transfer their names to the Sunday School roll. Whole families have been known to join churches because their children get involved in VBS.
WARNING: Churches that ignore these principles most likely will have large and effective Bible Schools.
Originally published by Texas minister of education and VBS leader Carr Suter in 1983.
The 2017 VBS theme will be announced on June 6. We’re giving you the alert now so you can set aside time to be a part of this thrilling event. We consider you our friends, and friends don’t let friends miss the VBS 2017 theme release.