Get the Most Out of VBS Training

maryIt's that time of year! You have probably already planned a date to train all of your volunteers for VBS. Training is pivotal to a successful week of kids learning about Jesus and building discipleship relationships with leaders. Here are 6 quick tips to help you spend your time wisely during training.

1. Cast vision instead of teaching 1
Begin with prayer and remind teachers that more than great decorations, seamless transitions, and a ton of fun that will be had at VBS, the ultimate goal is to help children see Jesus. Trust your teachers to go home and read their curriculum, or even better, get it to them prior to training and have them study up. Ask them to bring you their questions during training (but make sure they know they can send you questions anytime, both before and after training as well). Cover those things that they won't learn from their curriculum plan. Explain how your church may do things a little differently from what they will read and explain the goals and purpose of why you do VBS... It will be a successful week if kids leave having had a life-altering experience with Jesus - rather that be learning more about Him than they knew before, entering into a relationship with Him, or being challenged to live it out and tell their friends.
2. Create the atmosphere in the training room that you expect them to create in their rooms.
The room itself should train your leaders and show them your expectations for their rooms. Explain how to use the entire room and have kids get up, sit down, and move around throughout the lesson to keep them engaged.
3. Teach them how to connect with children and talk about the Bible content. Don’t just run through the stories.
Teachers will read through the stories and prepare well. Help them also prepare well to really connect with kids by asking them questions about their lives, finding common interests, and really listening as they speak. Help them to understand how to be relational while moving through rotations and during the Bible story lesson and how to balance it with staying on task.
4. Don’t waste time that doesn’t have to be wasted.
If each volunteer is getting a shirt, collect sizes, label beforehand with masking tape, and hand it to them with their curriculum as they walk in the door. Give each volunteer a sheet (or send an email prior to training.. or both for those who forget to check their email) detailing what room they will teach in, what their rotation schedule will be, drop off and pick up details, security and safety procedures, and any other pertinent information that they will need.
5. Video content and music is great, but make sure you are very comfortable with using the equipment to play these.
Always have a plan B since technology doesn’t always cooperate like we would like it to.
6. Give teachers time to connect with the other teachers in their age group to brainstorm ideas, choose activities, and determine responsibilities within their classroom. Hopefully, your teachers will come prepared with ideas. This time will be so valuable for them to begin to put some serious planning in for the week. They can go see the room, determine when they will all come to the church to decorate, and begin to pray over their rooms.

What else will you be covering in your training that might help other churches plan their training time?


  1. Ashley says

    I'm hosting VBS training on June 2 and I need some ideas to make it fun. The last training was led by someone who had the creative spirit. She made a taco bar for the teachers and had lots of balloons that were tossed around. Can you help me with something that would show the teachers we aren't all business? Thanks!

    • marycarlisle says

      Hey Ashley! I know your training will be super fun!
      Here are a few ideas to make it even more fun:
      -Play a rec game to get everyone moving!
      -Make theme park food like cotton candy, funnel cakes, hot dogs, and nachos.
      -Have a contest for the best dressed park attendee... encourage them to look as silly as possible...and encourage lots of fanny packs.
      -Have people enter as if they are entering a theme park ride, turnstile and all.
      -Have all leaders stand. Lead them in a pretend roller coaster experience, having them lean different ways with their hands in the air and of course, lots of yelling.
      -Download some sound effects of roller coasters/theme parks and play as leaders enter to give them the feel that they are in a theme park.
      -Dress like a theme park ticket-taker with a striped shirt, vest, and hat. Ask them to please keep all legs and arms inside the vehicle at all times before you begin.
      -Play theme park games like tossing ping pong balls into a grid of jars, trying to land inside one. I did a quick search on pinterest and found some other games here:
      -Make sure to check out LifeWay Kids' VBS ideas on pinterest as well:

      I hope these get you started as you think of more ideas to make your time fun! Praying for your training!

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