Vacation Bible School (VBS) is a children’s summer Bible camp that churches utilize as a community outreach tool to draw new people into the church and serve the surrounding area. VBS is super fun for kids because it combines learning about the Bible with songs, crafts, games, food and more.
How can you amp up your church’s VBS and really WOW the kids who attend this year? What can you do to have the children begging their parents to visit your church more often?
1. Choose an Exciting Theme
Choosing a fun theme is crucial to creating a VBS that leaves kids wanting more. Many Christian bookstores have complete themed curriculum that includes music, teachers’ manuals, suggestions for games, and crafts. Some examples include Deep Ocean, Outer Space, or Wild West themes.
Another popular source for Vacation Bible School materials is LifeWay, which releases items for a new theme every year. Many churches find these products helpful, as they remove the burden of planning and preparing materials in-house.
Purchased materials can be handy, chances are good that another nearby church will have the same theme. If your ministry has the time and resources, coming up with a unique theme can set your church apart from others in your local area. If you feel like being creative, come up with your own games, activities, and crafts. Think outside the box. Create a theme that wows.
2. Provide Activity Options For Everyone
Let’s face it; not everyone is athletically inclined. Even if a child is great at one sport, he or she might not perform very well at another. While some kids will thrive when given a sport to play, others will fare better with other types of activities.
That’s why it’s important to mix things up at your Vacation Bible School. Offer plenty of options for outdoor games and sports throughout the week so that every child feels comfortable taking part.
Also, be creative with your games. Think outside the volleyball box, so to speak, and do some research to find entertaining and educational alternatives to standard games. The work will be worth it when the children choose to keep coming back day after day to see what you have in store.
3. Let Them Make a Mess
VBS typically occurs in the throes of summer, when kids are getting antsy and parents are frazzled. Why not let kids get some of that pent up energy out in a safe environment?
Have a water balloon fight. Let them go a little wild with finger paints or sidewalk chalk. Let them eat without hovering over them with a napkin.
In essence, let them make a mess (within reason). They will love it, and their parents will too.
4. Don’t Forget T-Shirts
You know the saying: “Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.” This common expression proves a point: we all want t-shirts that help us remember an event or place. To create a fun atmosphere at your VBS and give children a souvenir to take home when the week is over, invest in t-shirts to commemorate the occasion.
Make sure all of your teachers and volunteers have one, and also make them available for the kids who attend. You can even do different colors for different ages, and create a shirt that fits the overall theme.
5. Show Them You Care
“They won’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
The best and most effective way to wow the kids who attend your Vacation Bible School is to show them that you love them. All of the work you put into the event will be meaningless if the children do not feel loved by your church community.
Make it clear that you care about each child as a person, not as a name on an attendance roster. When you do this successfully, kids will feel welcomed and loved, which will lead them to come back again and again. After all, love is the ultimate wow factor!
6. Boost Church Giving to Raise Funds
You need to have a well-funded VBS in order to create a truly memorable experience. Let’s face it, money makes it easier to wow kids by bringing your out-of-the box ideas to fruition. Additional VBS funds allow you to do exciting things like rent inflatables, bring in live animals, rent a video game truck, and other exciting activities.
One excellent way to increase church giving before a special event is to modernize your giving method. By offering a mobile giving app like Givelify, parents and other members of your church can quickly donate from the convenience of their phone. The easier it is to give, the more likely your members will be to make extra donations to support your Vacation Bible School.
Using the Givelithon feature, you can even project a running total of donations on a screen during service to show how much more is needed to reach your VBS fundraising goal. This is a great way to not only get your members excited about supporting a special cause, but will also help get the word out about your upcoming event.