Saying yes to VBS: An alternative strategy

April 30, 2020

Due to the coronavirus, the world is changing constantly, but it is an amazing reminder that God is the one sure constant.

Vacation Bible School (VBS) was originally designed to be flexible to fit the needs of each church and community. If a traditional approach to VBS is not possible at your church this summer, consider alternatives to the traditional approach. 

Schedule and format
An alternative approach to VBS allows you to be creative through flexible environments and scheduling. Think about a different week, a different schedule, a different format or even the possibility of a small group VBS, which limits your numbers and relieves concerns over large group gatherings.

Duration
You could reduce your scheduled length for VBS and repeat it several times throughout the day or week to reduce numbers. You may need to consider options to rotate volunteers, offer VBS to only certain ages of children at one time or even schedule family groups based on the first letter of their last name, for example.

Time of year
If summer does not work for your church, think about the possibility of a fall or winter VBS. Consider a fall break VBS if your community has a fall break that coincides with most area schools. Perhaps conducting VBS once a week for five weeks in place of your regular weekly programming or offering an after-school VBS could be a viable option for your church.

Alternative days
Labor Day weekend is another option, since it is a longer weekend than normal. Other days such as Veterans Day or teacher workdays could lend themselves to a one-day VBS. Contact your team of volunteers and church staff and come up with a VBS option that is best for you. Different is not bad. Different is simply different. God uses “different” every day.

Volunteer requirements
When considering alternative formats or small group VBS, keep in mind the volunteer commitment needed. Seniors and other vulnerable adults who may be part of your volunteer team may choose not to participate for the foreseeable future. You may need additional volunteers or need to stagger or change their involvement. Plan for extra volunteers to assist with keeping children’s areas sanitized.

No matter which approach to VBS you choose, the most important aspect remains constant — sharing the gospel with your community. Our uncertain world needs hope and the opportunity to hear the good news. No matter how your VBS might look this year, VBS continues to make a phenomenal eternal impact on the kingdom. It is worth your time, expense and preparation as you continue praying and planning for how you can say yes to VBS!

EDITOR’S NOTE: An alternative approach to VBS is one of four possible strategies suggested by LifeWay. The others are an at-home approach, a neighborhood approach and a traditional approach. These approaches are summarized in a free e-book titled “4 VBS Strategies for This Summer” that is available for download by clicking here.


by Beth Whitman  / 
Vacation Bible School  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

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