Hold on to your hats! Before you know it, vacation Bible school
will be upon you. It seems that the more years have gone by, the
bigger vacation Bible schools have grown. It's one of the biggest
happenings in a church year -- Christmas, Easter, VBS. No wonder organizing a VBS can seem like
a huge, overwhelming task. Here are a few ways to make this year's
VBS go easily and smoothly.
1. Use the buddy system. Any job is more fun to
do with a friend, so find a co-director to share the load. Clearly
specify who does what. Maybe one person is in charge of supplies
and the other is in charge of staffing. Pray for each other daily.
Get together for coffee to touch base. On each day of your VBS, one of you can be a "roamer" and the
other one stationed in the "office." Use walkie-talkies to stay in
touch and troubleshoot any issues. "Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work" (Ecclesiastes 4:9).
2. Stay focused on your vision. Is your vision
neighborhood outreach? family outreach? growing your children's
ministry? Your vision sharpens your plans and affects all
decisions, such as location, time, length, and activities. As you
develop your program, a vision helps you stick to important
elements and not add unessential bells and whistles. For example,
if you choose to do an outdoor VBS to reach neighborhood children, you might
choose to put less time into elaborate decorations. Set a vision
and use it as a filter during planning. Keep your eyes on the goal.
"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has
called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14). Goals are good!
3. Choose a format. If you haven't yet chosen
your format, allow your vision to direct your choice. What works
best for your church? When and where will you hold your VBS? An evening format might make it easier to
get volunteers. Or if you want lots of families to attend, a
weekend or a retreat format might work best. Or if you have a small
church and like to work with others, host a communitywide VBS, partnering with other churches.
4. Gather supplies early. Order resources early
so you have time to organize them. On a bulletin board and in your
church bulletin, list additional supplies you'll need and then set
out a grocery cart to collect items church members donate. One
church took digital pictures of the supplies they needed and hung
the pictures on a bulletin board. That way, the church members knew
exactly what to donate.
5. Recruit staff according to gifts. Instead of
having your volunteers do everything in a traditional classroom,
consider rotating kids through specific stations such as games,
crafts, snacks, Bible stories, and songs. A person who loves drama
and storytelling could lead Bible stories, a person who loves to
cook could organize snacks, and a person who'd rather work behind
the scenes could help with decorations or baking or publicity.
Staff members will dig into their roles when they're allowed to use
their gifts. "The body is a unit, though it is made up of many
parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it
is with Christ" (1 Corinthians 12:12).
6. Use a combined-age approach. Studies show
that children learn as much or more when linked with kids of
different ages. In fact, one study observed that children naturally
chose to play with other children their age only 6 percent of the
time. They played with children at least one year older or younger
55 percent of the time. Multiage groups facilitate cooperation.
Older kids help younger ones and the younger ones try to be like
the older ones. Multiage cuts down on discipline and makes
discussion times easier. And multiage cuts down on the variety of
crafts you'll need since you choose crafts that all ages can