Vacation Bible School for All Ages?
By: Peg Arnold
Are you looking for an event that brings the whole church together and results in spiritual and numerical growth in one week's time? Consider Vacation Bible School for all ages!
The benefits of VBS will outweigh any time and effort you put into it. VBS will help you evangelize unsaved children while energizing those who have already trusted Christ. It will also provide a gateway to bringing families into your church.
Evangelism & Discipleship
VBS should be more than just for having fun or for drawing children to your church's children's ministries. Even teaching good morals and Biblical values is not enough. Unsaved children desperately need the gospel, the "power of God to salvation." You are not guaranteed other opportunities to reach these children, so make the most of the ones you have.
Next, the gospel invitation in the VBS material must be clear and pressure free. You don't want the children responding to please the teacher or to fit in with their friends.
How do your VBS materials present the gospel—in concrete terms that even younger students can understand? Do the materials clearly present the need for salvation as well as the way of salvation?
Finally, every worker in your VBS should be able to lead a child to Christ. Make clear gospel materials available to all your VBS workers. Some publishers help by printing the ABCs of salvation on the back covers of their teacher books and on posters.
Check the director's guides and teacher's guides for articles on how to present gospel in age-appropriate ways. Use these to train your workers to share the gospel. Your VBS will be most effective if all your workers are prepared and willing to share the gospel.
Gateway for Church Growth
2. Invite church members who aren't working in VBS to attend the adult Bible study and befriend visiting parents.
3. Form prayer teams that will meet before, during, and after VBS to pray for the workers, students, and parents. Pray that parents will stay for the study when they come to drop off their children. Pray for sensitivity toward people who are new to church and have little Bible knowledge.
4. Ask for volunteers to plan fun activities for the weeks after VBS to pull VBS families back into the church and help them feel that they belong.
5. Encourage everyone to invite friends and neighbors—both the children and their parents. People are much more likely to attend church if a friend invites them and offers to attend with them.
2. Invite your pastors to take a visible part in VBS and in the closing program. It is important for people to meet and feel comfortable with your pastoral staff.
3. Offer a tour of the church facilities near the time when parents drop off or pick up their children.
4. Make sure students know which classrooms to go to when they return on Sunday. If possible, introduce the Sunday School teachers.
5. Keep your church people actively involved. Remind them that the VBS closing program provides an opportunity to interact with the students' families. For more interaction time, hold a fun fair, picnic, or cookout immediately following the closing program.
6. Encourage adults from your church to offer other adults friendship, not just a friendly greeting at the door. An adult VBS class provides opportunities for getting to know one another, but remember that friendship involves spending more time together than just one week. Before VBS ends, make plans to get together in the near future.
7. For adult learners who may be unfamiliar with the Bible, have Bibles on hand with the main Bible passage for each day marked for easy access. If your VBS budget doesn't include funds for giving out Bibles, encourage your tech-savvy visitors to download free Bible apps on their smartphones.
2. Form visitation teams. Put a VBS teacher, a Sunday School teacher, and a student on each team, based on the age of the VBS student you will visit.
3. Have plenty of additional friendly greeters available for the next few Sundays after VBS. It takes a lot of courage for a parent to show up on a Sunday morning with several kids, not knowing anyone or where everyone in the family should go. Help the families of your VBS students feel welcome at your church.
4. Invite all your VBS families back for an all-church picnic or similar church-wide event shortly after the close of VBS. Remind your church people that this is an opportunity for interacting with guests as well as fellowshipping among themselves.
Evangelizing the lost, edifying believers, and introducing people to your church are attainable results of your VBS. But, there's another exciting benefit.
Your church people will be praying, stretching/leaving their comfort zones, using their spiritual gifts, trusting God, increasing their Bible knowledge, and learning to love and serve others—in short, growing spiritually—as they participate in this two-part strategy for VBS.
Peg Arnold is the creative manager of Vacation Bible School for Regular Baptist Press, www.rbpstore.org.