Picture this: It's summer, and VBS is over. You've gone through
the rigors of selecting curriculum, recruiting and training
volunteers, coordinating publicity, preparing crafts and songs, and
buying truckloads (it seems) of snacks. Now you're finished for
another year. Right? Wrong.
It's the time after VBS that's the most crucial to your
program's success as an outreach tool. You need a follow-up plan to
ensure that children-and their families-return to your church. Use
these ideas to make this year's VBS your Very Best Success.
VBS Adoption Kit -- Make a kit with each
child's vital statistics: birthday, age, likes, interests, address,
phone number, and family information. Then connect each child with
a church family. Families can use the kits to get to know their
"adoptees" throughout the year and encourage them to come to church
and Sunday school.
VBS Reunion -- Invite all the VBS children to a
get-together every month or quarter. Make each reunion a wildly fun
event that fits your VBS theme. For example, if you had a
"treasures" theme, have a treasure hunt one time and a treasures of
the heart auction the next where teams bid on treasured character
Follow-Up Committee -- Before VBS begins, form
a follow-up committee of volunteers who'll be very visible
throughout the week as they get to know visitors. For example, they
may do all the drama or lead the singing so will children identify
with them quickly.
Committee members stop by each visitor's home during the week
and deliver a Special Guest Pack with a children's Bible, homemade
cookies, church information, phone numbers to call if children need
a ride to church, and a T-shirt that says, "I'm Special to God,"
with your church name printed in small letters.
VBS Part 2 -- A few weeks after your VBS,
schedule a few more sessions so children who've committed their
lives to Christ during VBS can learn how to keep growing
spiritually. Have teachers explain what being a Christian means and
how children's lives will be changed. Also, prepare children to
share their newfound faith with others and then conduct an outreach
event for them to practice.
Shepherd List -- Use registration cards to make
follow-up "shepherding" visits to children's homes. Ask children
about their interests and any questions they may have about your
church. Explain to children that they're Jesus' little lambs and
that you and he want to see them become a permanent part of your
Parents Night -- Build relationships with
children's parents by having a Parents Night during your VBS.
Encourage children to invite their parents or older siblings who
can attend either an adult Bible study or VBS activities. Also,
always require parents to come inside to pick up their children so
you can make contact with them.
Visitors Day -- Have a designated Visitors Day
during your VBS with an ice cream social afterward. Make special
name tags to recognize visitors and their parents. Have a group hug
before everyone leaves, and send colorful fliers home with families
so they know what your church has to offer all age levels.
Mini Outdoor VBS -- After your regular VBS
program, set up a mini-VBS in a back yard or cul-de-sac. Use
leftover materials and crafts. Put up fliers in the area beforehand
to attract kids' attention, and invite them to your church when
you're done. cm
Stephanie Martin is a freelance writer and editor in
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