VBS 2014 reports have been arriving in my office by the thousands. If quantity of mail is any indication I must have the most popular address on the 7th floor. Of course the envelopes are actually addressed to the VBS Report Desk – which you might find humorous to learn is nothing more than a FAX machine sitting on a small metal foot stool in a corner of my office. So actually it is the Report Desk that holds title to the most popular address.
If you have not already done so, it is time to file your report as well. Here are a few reasons why reporting your VBS is valuable to both your church and to LifeWay.
1. Filling out the report forces you and your VBS ministry leaders to take time to evaluate your goals, actions, and results. Were your goals realistic and achievable?
2. Reporting VBS 2014 creates a bench mark for setting goals for next year and future years.
3. Creating a year-to-year record reveals the long-term health of your VBS ministry. Are the numbers increasing or decreasing? Are your efforts resulting in professions of faith and other decisions?
4. Your VBS report is a vital element of your continued connection (follow up) process. It helps you clearly identify the number of unchurched families who participated in VBS and who need to be connected to ongoing ministries such as Sunday School.
5. Your VBS report becomes a tangible part of your ministry’s story that should be shared and celebrated.
6. Your VBS report and evaluation helps the LifeWay VBS team create future resources and training opportunities. Your report helps us measure the evangelistic health and effectiveness of our ministry and curriculum offerings.
To report your VBS you can fill out the Director’s Evaluation found in the Administrative Guide and mail it in. Or you can submit it electronically here.
You’ve finished your week of VBS, the decorations are down and stored, the rooms have been cleaned… it’s time to breathe a sigh of relief, right? Well, not exactly. There’s one more tiny little thing we would like to ask you to do. I promise it won’t take that long and the information you share is invaluable to our team at LifeWay.
We would like you to fill out the Director’s Evaluation found in the Administrative Guide and mail it in. Or if you would rather you can click here and submit it electronically.
You may be wondering what we do with the information we receive and why it is important that we hear from you. Here are just a few of the reasons we think it is important to hear from you:
1. We don’t want to change what’s working. If we don’t hear from you that you like something, we may assume incorrectly that it is not of value.
2. We do want to change what’s not working. Again we won’t know it’s not working if we don’t hear from you.
3. We want to make VBS easy for you. Some of our best suggestions have come from you, our customers.
4. We want to serve you in your mission of reaching the kids in your church and community for Christ.
Every year, I personally read each and every evaluation that is submitted. I forward all the data gathered on to the VBS team and management. If there is a suggestion that we are able to implement, we try to get it in for the following year depending on where we are in our production schedule. We truly value hearing from you, so please take a moment to share your VBS experience with us.
Church leaders attending VBS Previews in January and February were challenged to make Connection Groups part of their VBS planning. A Connection Group is a Sunday School/small group class designed specifically for the unchurched parents identified during VBS, and scheduled to begin the first Sunday after VBS.
I have heard some great stories from churches who took the challenge. Now weeks after VBS these churches continue to connect with parents and families who might have otherwise been forgotten.
My favorite story so far is from a VBS leader who reported their Connection Group now has eight people attending. She said when challenged at Preview to create a Connection Group she just couldn’t make the commitment because she was concerned that her church would not support the idea. She said her trip back home was consumed with guilt from not making a commitment, yet the conviction that intentionally reaching parents was the right thing to do.
Once home, this leader made the decision to meet with her pastor and present the challenge and opportunity. She was overjoyed that he realized the potential and gave her the green light to enlist leadership for the group. However, her joy began to diminish as her attempts to find leadership produced no results. She said she finally gave up and concluded that the creation of a Connection Group was not going to happen.
Two weeks before VBS she was invited to attend a Sunday School workers meeting to share VBS plans and needs. While planning to share craft supply and snack needs she had no intention of talking about the Connection Group. She felt it was too late and that obvious it wasn’t meant to be. During her presentation she sensed God telling her to lay out the challenge to intentionally connect with the parents of unchurched kids attending VBS. She shared the idea of creating a Connection Group and her attempts at finding leadership.
At the conclusion of her presentation a teacher of an adult class said someone else could teach his class and he would accept the challenge to start the Connection Group the first Sunday after VBS.
At first only a couple of parents attended, but four weeks later attendance has increased to eight!
I love this story because the leader didn’t give up. She remained faithful to the challenge of connecting with unchurched families, and she was sensitive to God’s leading and timing.
How about you? What are you doing to intentionally connect with the unchurched families discovered during VBS?
Jerry Wooley has served as LifeWay’s vbsguy since 2006. He would love to hear the stories of your Connection Groups.