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Vacation Bible School: Prep for Next Year Now

December 11, 2023 jill Blog
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Are you counting down the days until your VBS kit arrives in the mail? It’s like Christmas morning for a VBS director, finally getting to open that kit! VBS is months away, and a bulk of the VBS planning doesn’t take place until closer to the event. But you can get started prepping now. By getting an early start, you’ll not only avoid some of that last-minute VBS craziness, but your VBS will be better set up for success.


Even if your church budget can’t handle your VBS order until the new fiscal year, go ahead and get your order ready. Decide which kit you want and figure out how many of each item you need. Keep in mind that some supplies sell out before summer gets here, so don’t wait to place those orders. When it comes to figuring out how many of the extra items you need, take an inventory of how many you used the year before, then plan for extra growth.


If volunteers have to take off of work to be at VBS, you want to make sure they have those dates locked in when vacation days restart. Let volunteers, past attendees, and the church facilities crew know your dates well in advance.

It’s been said that people need to encounter the same piece of information around eight times before it sticks in their minds. Don’t just give the VBS dates once or twice. Plan the frequency, as well as the delivery methods to inform people about your dates. For example, send save-the-date postcards to past attendees, plan a bulletin insert and social media campaign at the first of the year, send invitation postcards in early spring, set up a volunteer recruitment campaign in spring, plan a social media blitz in late spring, and finally put out yard signs in early summer.


VBS recruitment is often a long process—it sometimes goes until the last minute. Start early recruitment for key volunteers or department leaders. These are the leaders who will help in the planning, not just show up to serve during the week. Bulletin inserts and sign-up sheets aren’t the way to recruit these leaders. Pray about who God wants serving in these roles, then approach these key people and ask them personally, making sure to cast the “why” and importance of VBS.


Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, VBS won’t be planned in a day. You don’t want to throw together decorations or rush the week before to make something happen. Start planning even before your kit arrives.

Dream about the decorations; sketch some designs. Determine if there are any items congregation members can start saving now or things they can keep an eye out for when shopping through the year. Make sure to get the word out about these items and have a spot set up to receive them.

Set any planning, meeting, or prep dates. Think about when recruitment will begin, when postcards need to be mailed, when things will be painted or assembled, etc.

Think through logistics using last year’s evaluation. Evaluate areas of weakness from last year and determine what needs to happen this year to improve.


2023 is winding down. You’ve made it through summer events, back to school, and fall festivals, but the Christmas craziness is about to begin. Many ministry storage and work rooms may look like something exploded in them at this point. For some of you, there might still be VBS items not put away from July. Ministry never stops, so things pile up and get left undone. Go ahead and schedule some time just to clean and organize your areas.

Your VBS will be stronger and more successful if you start planning and prepping now. While you’ll need to wait a little bit longer before your VBS kit arrives, you don’t have to wait to start planning!

This article is courtesy of Answers in Genesis, an apologetics ministry dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ,