Our church—though only six months old—did Vacation Bible School this summer. We don’t have our own space yet, so we rented the gym and three classrooms at the school where we regularly meet on Sundays. Dozens of our volunteers served kids and parents alongside a mission team of twenty or so Texan teens. From what we learned, here are three considerations.
1. Consider recruiting a leader specifically for VBS.
This develops another yet another leader in the church—and developing leaders is always a good thing. Also, it frees the primary children’s leader for their normal ongoing tasks (Sunday morning, developing leaders, building teams, scheduling, administrative responsibilities, etc.) and let the VBS leader/director handle all of the VBS tasks. A good VBS doesn’t just happen. There are months of planning and preparation. By the time it’s all over, you’ll have developed another high-capacity leader that will serve the church well for years to come.
2. Consider your space.
A church that has its own space has the advantage of decorating ahead of time and leaving the decorations up throughout VBS week. Renting a space, on the other hand, may require daily setup and teardown, which means more time and manpower. It’s not impossible to do, but it should be considered before finalizing VBS dates and promotions.
3. Consider not utilizing a mission team.
Let me say from the outset: we absolutely could not have done VBS this year without the mission team of 20 teens and three adults that came from Texas to help us. But, it did get us to thinking: “Why can’t we train our teens to do this? We can do this!”
Furthermore, our youth group and supervising adults will know our kids better and will have long-term relationships with our kids. Our children see our youth serving every Sunday. Those youth are their heroes. And kids want their friends to meet their heroes.
Planning Vacation Bible School in a new church (or a church that meets in rented space), may require a different set of questions than doing VBS in an established church. You’ll need to consider:
- Will it be in the morning or evening, and how many volunteers would be available for each?
- Are youth volunteers available? Can you provide training for them before the event?
- Are you renting a space? What time can you get in the facility? What time must you be out?
- Can you leave signs up for advertisement prior to and during your VBS?
- Can you leave the decorations up all week or will you have to set-up and tear down daily?
Recruiting a new leader, thinking about limitations and opportunities of your rented space, and training your own people to help are concerns every church planter or space-renting church should consider. If you do, your Vacation Bible School stands to be effective in building a new bridge into your community.