Early Stage Planning
You start by praying. God
knows the best way to get things done at your church. If you have
read Experiencing God (Blackaby & King) you'll remember
this example. A church asked, God, how do you want to reach
our community through us and build a great church? God let
them to start a bus ministry and provide transportation for
children and adults to come to church. They did what God told them
to do, and their church grew into a great church. They were
flattered when people from all over the country began to ask, What
are you doing to grow so rapidly? They wrote a book on how
to build great churches through a bus ministry. Thousands of
churches began to buy buses to reach their communities, feeling
that the method was the key to growth. Later many sold those same
buses. They are saying, It didn't work for us. IT never
works! HE works! The method is never the key to accomplishing
God's purposes. The key is your relationship to God. When you want
to know how God would have you reach boys and girls, ask Him.
Ask God to show you where He is at work at your church.
Watch to see what God does after you pray. Always make a
connection between your prayers and what happens next. For
instance, maybe you'll start hearing people say, We sure have a
lot of children in our neighborhood. Sure wish there was some way
we could reach them. PERHAPS this year -- instead of a traditional
VBS like you've had every year . . . God is working in that
neighborhood and you'll need to have a backyard VBS. We'll
be going over some planning principles in this workshop. But
planning is simply a tool -- it can never become a substitute for
God. The biggest problem with planning is we plan and carry out
things in our own wisdom. We've got to be willing to let God
interrupt our plans any time He wants.
Be willing to attempt something only God can do. Often we attempt
only what we know we can do!
Be willing to adjust your plans and programs to what God is doing.
Why are we doing what we're doing?
What is our purpose?
Where is God working?
3. Choose the kind of school:
traditional VBS or an option, based on your answers to #2.
The major purpose is outreach and evangelism.
By taking VBS away from the church to neighborhood homes, a
congregation is able to reach a greater number of unchurched homes
Schedule one month for preschool and
kindergarten children; another for primary and middler; and the
final time slot for junior and teens. This alternative plan works
great for churches short on space and staff.
Select a children's musical with a good message
and spend at least two intensive weeks learning it. Present
on a Friday night or Sunday morning, inviting parents and friends.
During practice session, can include a brief devotional,
activities, crafts or games.
Plan a series of five field trips to places of
interest in your area. While in transit, learn Bible verses and
songs. Concentrate on kids bringing friends and making new
contacts for your church.
Super Summer Saturdays
All age groups meet in Saturday for a five to
ten week period and have VBS
Super Summer Sundays
Conduct VBS for 5 weeks during the summer on
Sundays, combining Sunday School and morning worship hours. Great
time to give your S.S. teachers a break by recruiting a SSS staff.
VBS Day Camp
Children and the out-of-doors go naturally
together! Boys and girls love to run free, hair blowing in
the wind, inspect a fuzzy caterpillar creeping slowly along a
low-hanging branch . . . It's almost as if God planned the natural
world as a special birthright of the young. Children's
natural and wholesome fascination with God's creation is a
foundation stone in VBS Day Camp -- which is simply a planned
program of experiences for children in an out-of-doors setting
during the day. Can be held at the church, making use of parking
lot and other available space nearby; at a local park; or anywhere
camp-like activities can be conducted. Open-ended program,
offering many opportunities of resident camping (nature study,
recreation, crafts, outdoor education and fellowship) without the
extended absence from home. Program activities include the
use of VBS curriculum materials.
4. Set the date for the
school, and putting it on the church calendar.
5. Order VBS curriculum
Middle Stage Planning
1. Enlist workers
a. Pray -- workers for the harvest
If VBS is God's work, you can count on Him to
b. Recruit the right people.
c. Don't wait for volunteers to come to you.
--Most people want to help, but aren't very
good at initiating.
--Some people lack confidence in their ability
to teach or lead.
--Others simply have never been asked!
d. Make the approach person-centered.
Present an opportunity, a responsibility and a
need rather than a predicament. It is important to sell people on
the need of ministering in VBS, but to do so does not require
describing the predicament. The conveying of a crisis is
indicative that the organizational structure with its recruiting
policies has not been functioning properly. Rather than a general
call from the pulpit (anyone interested in working in VBS see
so-and-so after church), contact people individually. Ask specific
people for a specific job. Avoid appearing out of nowhere with a
help request! Build relationships first. Many potential volunteers
wonder if they can interact effectively with children. Let
potential volunteers observe children's classes. That way they
will get to know the children before you ask them to decide. And
they will have a better idea of what's expected.
e. Provide clear, detailed job descriptions.
Many potential workers misunderstand the task
they are asked to perform. No one can satisfactorily function in a
given role unless it is clearly understood what the duties are and
what is expected included in the job description should be some
indication of what the worker may expect from the church, as well
as what the church expects from the volunteer. For example, you
may expect from us:
--Guidance at all
f. Do not hurry the worker's decision.
The potential worker should be allowed to
carefully study the job description, consider the matter in prayer
and finally make a decision. If divine sovereignty is at work
within the framework of the local church (and it is), then the
worker's response to the request after prayerful and intelligent
consideration must be viewed by the church leadership as within
the will of God.
g. Exhibit enthusiasm!
2. Raise visibility of VBS
The more excited people become, the more likely they will want to
Let the church know something exciting is about to happen.
Train workers for success
One seminar professor has
been quoted as saying it was a sin to give lay people a job and
not tell them how to do it!
But training helps ensure
that what you delegate will get done because your volunteers will
know how to do it. Through training you impart your vision of what
you hope to accomplish through VBS. Training will build a
team spirit among all your volunteers.
Volunteers want good training to succeed in their job
Plan individualized training sessions, if necessary
Have seasoned teachers mentor new ones.
Direct the event
Recognize volunteers by finding personal and surprising ways to
say thank you.
Candy bar with a message (ZERO would happen in our VBS without
your willingness to help)
Make a heart magnet that says You're at the heart of what happens
in our VBS
Give a plant with a note: Our VBS wouldn't GROW without you.
Thank you note
Used with permission. The above
is an excerpt from Avalanche of Ideas for A Successful VBS
© by Betty Robertson
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