The publishers have rolled out their VBS curriculums for summer 2015. If you do a quick online search, you will find neatly organized checklists letting you know everything you need to do in order to have a successful summer VBS program. Do you ever look at those lists and wonder how in the world you can accomplish all of those things?!
Here’s an idea to help you focus. Consider the “Ps”:
Pray–Most importantly, pray about the event. Ask Bible study groups and staff members if they could pray specifically for the planning. Keep them informed of the changing prayer needs. Ask that the VBS planning be included in Sunday morning prayers. Seek prayers for your volunteers, for families who will be attending, and for wisdom and guidance as you and your team plan the event.
People –Your VBS program will only be as good as the people that are helping with the planning. First, recruit energetic and passionate people to be your key leaders. Gather these leaders together for an initial meeting and afterwards, have them start recruiting the next group of volunteers. These people may include the following teams: facilities, opening/closing program, Bible stories, crafts, recreation, snacks, and follow-up.
Program review –At your initial meeting with the key leaders, review last year’s event. (Hopefully you have last year’s notes!) During this process, ask some tough questions:
- How did the activities help participants grow closer to Jesus? How could we include more of those kinds of activities?
- What was effective?
- What were the biggest challenges?
- Did the daily schedule flow well?
- Was our space used effectively? Would a different arrangement work better?
- Did we gather the supplies we needed in a timely manner? If not, what do we need to change?
- Did our publicity efforts effectively communicate the event? What new ways can we publicize this year?
- What were our biggest volunteer needs?
- What changes can we make to enhance the experience for children and their families?
Prioritize and plan–Get your team together to develop a list of tasks and a timeline that works for your group. If it’s helpful, organize the tasks by categories—for example, theme development, publicity, registration, the mission project, and volunteers. For each category, develop a list of specific tasks and deadlines.
Publicize–Getting the word out as soon as possible is a critical step in building enthusiasm for VBS. For example, send “Save the Date” postcards to members and the community. After announcing the dates, gradually share more information about the event. Remember to focus on both recruiting participants and volunteers. Strive to communicate the fun and meaningful purpose of the event—sharing Jesus’ love with His children.
Pray–Keeping prayer as the first and the last “p” reminds us to keep our focus on Jesus as we plan and prepare for VBS.
Praise God for your team as you partner to plan a positive VBS experience for everyone! And don’t forget your “Ps”!