During VBS you likely discovered children and families who aren’t members of your church. But inevitably, once VBS is over, those families disappear and don’t come back. It’s tragic, but all too common. Fortunately, there are a few things we can do to reverse the trend. The key is intentionality. Any of the following ideas could work, but the most effective strategies will be the ones that involve buy-in from the entire church body.
Try these ideas for re-engaging visiting families after VBS is over:
- Educate adult small groups that one of the main purposes of VBS is to connect families to the church. Ask these groups to participate in post VBS celebrations and to intentionally connect with families, even if they don’t have kids in VBS.
- Implement a plan to connect new families with the people who will be in their same classes or small groups. Look for common interests and ages or life stages to help them connect.
- Provide welcome/information packets for church members to take to prospective families. Include information about other summer events for kids, fall programming, Sunday School, etc.
- Partner a child’s VBS teacher with his/her Sunday School teacher (or VBS leaders with adult Sunday School leaders) to deliver a craft made during VBS, a class picture, a Music for Kids CD, or other small memento of the week. This should make the invitation to visit a Sunday School class a natural extension of the visit, and will help the family to feel more comfortable seeing familiar faces upon a return visit to church.
- Target those families with special invitations (mail, email, phone calls) to return for other “safe events” such as a splash party, Back to School event, Fall Festival, etc.
- Be sensitive to visiting families’ needs. Meeting specific needs can draw in a family and help to build trust as they realize that people truly care about them.