Church leaders attending VBS Previews in January and February were challenged to make Connection Groups part of their VBS planning. A Connection Group is a Sunday School/small group class designed specifically for the unchurched parents identified during VBS, and scheduled to begin the first Sunday after VBS.
I have heard some great stories from churches who took the challenge. Now weeks after VBS these churches continue to connect with parents and families who might have otherwise been forgotten.
My favorite story so far is from a VBS leader who reported their Connection Group now has eight people attending. She said when challenged at Preview to create a Connection Group she just couldn't make the commitment because she was concerned that her church would not support the idea. She said her trip back home was consumed with guilt from not making a commitment, yet the conviction that intentionally reaching parents was the right thing to do.
Once home, this leader made the decision to meet with her pastor and present the challenge and opportunity. She was overjoyed that he realized the potential and gave her the green light to enlist leadership for the group. However, her joy began to diminish as her attempts to find leadership produced no results. She said she finally gave up and concluded that the creation of a Connection Group was not going to happen.
Two weeks before VBS she was invited to attend a Sunday School workers meeting to share VBS plans and needs. While planning to share craft supply and snack needs she had no intention of talking about the Connection Group. She felt it was too late and that obvious it wasn't meant to be. During her presentation she sensed God telling her to lay out the challenge to intentionally connect with the parents of unchurched kids attending VBS. She shared the idea of creating a Connection Group and her attempts at finding leadership.
At the conclusion of her presentation a teacher of an adult class said someone else could teach his class and he would accept the challenge to start the Connection Group the first Sunday after VBS.
At first only a couple of parents attended, but four weeks later attendance has increased to eight!
I love this story because the leader didn't give up. She remained faithful to the challenge of connecting with unchurched families, and she was sensitive to God's leading and timing.
How about you? What are you doing to intentionally connect with the unchurched families discovered during VBS?
Jerry Wooley has served as LifeWay's vbsguy since 2006. He would love to hear the stories of your Connection Groups.