Is your Vacation Bible School program over for this year? Or will it be ending soon? If so, you no doubt have many wonderful memories of God’s message of forgiveness, life, and hope being shared through his people.
As VBS ends, you may be tempted to clean up as quickly as possible, putting everything VBS away, and quickly shifting your focus to the details of fall ministry. But before you do that, add a bow, the final touch, to all your hard work in VBS.
What do I mean? Just this: don’t leave two important jobs undone. Before you close the books on VBS 2014, you need to 1) connect one last time with those who participated; and 2) create a thorough summary to use next spring.
Connect with . . .
- Your volunteers—Write thank you notes, mentioning how grateful you are that they donated their time so unselfishly. Cite specific ways in which their service led to success in this year’s VBS.
- Families of the children who attended—Develop three different letters, one for your church families, another for families who have another church home, and one for families who do not now have a church home. The families who are unchurched may also welcome a friendly phone call or even a home visit. Use these contacts to ask how your church could support them and to let them know about other opportunities available to their family.
Making these connections lets both of these groups of people know their help and participation is valued and appreciated.
Create a summary that . . .
1. Includes as many VBS details as possible, including:
• The planning timeline you followed
• Times you met with volunteers and the main agenda points
• Publicity and registration processes
• Daily and weekly scheduling
• Details of building and room usage
• Class lists, including all volunteers and their areas of service
• Supplies purchased, donated
• The snack menu
2. After gathering all the factual information, evaluate the event based upon your reflections and the evaluations received from volunteers. Answers questions, like:
• Did we give ourselves enough time to accomplish our goals? For example, if you wanted to create a complex prop for the opening, did you consider the idea soon enough to get it made? If not, how will you change your planning for next year so you have time to do this?
• What was helpful at the volunteer meetings? List the parts of the agenda that worked and list things to include next year.
• Did our publicity reach and motivate new people to join us? Was the registration process user friendly? Do you use online registration? If not, could you have that as a goal for next year? Did we gather enough information from each child?
• Were we resourceful in the way we gathered supplies? Should we consider starting that the process sooner next time? Did the volunteers have the supplies they needed to be successful?
• How would our volunteers rate their experience? Did they feel prepared? What additional training would be helpful? For example, would additional ideas about developing relationships with children be beneficial?
• How do we feel about the snacks we served? Are we providing children with healthy snacks? Did we purchase the right amount of food?
3. Create a list of possible volunteers for next year. Try to include names of people who did not help this year, but may be available next year.
The time you take to evaluate VBS 2014 will help you create even better event next year—and in even less time than you spent this year.
When you finish these two tasks—contacting and compiling data—you can breathe a sigh of relief and pat yourself on the back, knowing that you have “tied a bow” on this year’s program. Whoever leads VBS next year will have a great resource as they plan—even if that person is you!
© CTA, Inc.