12 ways to involve every church member in VBS

April 7, 2021

Often churches consider Vacation Bible School (VBS) to be exclusively a children’s ministry event. And yet, VBS is one of the most effective evangelistic emphases many churches offer their community each year.

According to “It’s Worth It” by Landry Holmes of Lifeway Publishing, there is a direct correlation nationally in the number of professions of faith and VBS attendance.

It’s time churches embraced VBS with its whole heart, soul and body.

In 2021, VBS may have a different look and a different kind of reticence for adult engagement. Senior adults who normally volunteer for VBS may fear exposure to COVID-19. Parents who have homeschooled their children due to school closures may just want a break from interacting with more children. Families that have not yet returned to regular church attendance may feel reluctance or even embarrassment over their absence. VBS budgets may not be as robust as in years past.

So what can the whole church do to embrace VBS with excitement and commitment?

  • Pray! Engage volunteers to pray for VBS impact and for families that need the hope of the gospel.
  • Invite families, friends, neighbors and the random stranger at Walmart trying to corral their children.
  • Rethink schedules. This year’s VBS may mean offering VBS twice during the summer to provide for social distancing in classrooms. Consider offering VBS as back-to-back weeks to minimize set up of classrooms. Perhaps host younger children one week and older children the next week. Schedule multiple worship rallies for social distancing or offer worship rallies in classroom pods so that children interact with fewer children each day.
  • Consider rotating breakout leaders instead of rotating children throughout the facility.
  • Offer VBS outside your church or on a large neighborhood playground.
  • Offer smaller “VBS to go” in neighborhood settings.
  • If a hybrid or virtual model for this year’s VBS works best for your church, engage volunteers who would not normally enjoy working directly with children to create “pick up and go” learning packages for families.
  • Offer youth and adult classes that will engage parents or others who bring children to your VBS but aren’t part of your teaching team. Parenting classes, marriage enrichment, Bible study, even cooking and budgeting classes may offer parents an introduction to other members of your church.
  • Ask adult Sunday School classes to host a teachers’ lounge one day or one evening during the week of VBS to show appreciation to in-person volunteers.
  • Discover and enlist volunteers with unique skill sets whose only responsibility is to lead a specialized breakout.
  • Ask volunteers to consider helping classroom leaders with decorating their rooms.
  • Enlist adults to help with administrative tasks like collecting check-in information, helping manage T-shirt orders, ushering guest families to their classroom, or assisting with family night snacks or activities.

The opportunities to make VBS an all-church event are endless. Participation by church members in VBS builds a sense of ownership in children’s ministry and can make recruiting for other events easier.

Don’t miss the chance to include others in this great ministry.

by Cheryl Markland  
/  Childhood Evangelism and Discipleship  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

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