From the Archives: Questions To Ask About Your VBS Promotion

wooley1 2013LifeWay’s VBS team is Celebrating 90! That’s 90 years of providing VBS curriculum, training, and administrative helps that have been used by thousands of churches to reach millions of unchurched kids, teens, and adults. I’ve been combing the archives for advice from the past that is just as relevant today.

This list of questions will be a valuable resource as you begin planning printed promotions (flyers, newspaper and web advertisements, and bulletin inserts) for VBS 2015.

1. Does the message focus on how VBS will benefit the family?

 

2. Is the copy exciting, compelling, easy to read, quickly understood, and directed to one person (written as if you are telling one friend)?

 

3. Are all the essential details included (church name, location, dates, times, ages, cost, and contact information)?

 

4. Does the copy end with a call to action (enroll now, phone for additional information)?

 

5. Are the graphics appropriate and related to the VBS theme?

 

6. Does the appearance and message project quality and create a positive first impression of the Bible school and church?

Celebrating 90: LifeWay Christian Resources began publishing VBS resources in 1925 under the leadership of Dr. Homer Grice.

From the Archives: Telling Your Church About VBS Part 3

wooley1 2013Too often we VBS Groupies mistakenly assume everyone is as aware and enthused about VBS as we are. The truth is, no matter the size of the congregation, most members are unaware of and concerned about the dates, details, and needs of VBS until they are publicized and promoted. Even then little notice is taken to the first announcement. This is why we must actively and intentionally promote VBS to the congregation as well as the community. 

I know it seems a little early to begin promoting VBS 2015, but it is definitely not too early to begin planning how you will promote when the time comes. Here are four more ways to add to the ideas previously posted in Part 1 and Part 2.

1. Visit every Sunday School/small group class to explain the purpose and opportunities of VBS.

2. Send a personal letter to everyone who served during VBS 2014.

3. Create a video presentation using video and photos from VBS 2014.

4. Use skits and dramas (both live and video) during worship services, church business meetings, and other ministry events.

Celebrating 90: LifeWay Christian Resources began publishing VBS resources in 1925 under the leadership of Drs. Marion Frost and Homer Grice.

From the Archives: Telling Your Church About VBS Part 2

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Enlisting congregational support for VBS is a continuous process that must begin early and build momentum. As you continue evaluating VBS 2014 and begin planning for VBS 2015, here are six ways to insure every member of the church is on the team.

1. Enlist a phone team to call every member.

2. Conduct a Pep Rally two or three weeks before VBS to teach the theme song, motto, and Scripture.

3. Sponsor a coloring contest for children to promote VBS. Display the finished artwork throughout the church building.

4. Begin decorating sections of the building several weeks in advance. Add something new each week.

5. Hold a VBS Preview Day several weeks in advance. Display crafts, sample refreshments, demonstrate games, and preview Bible study and music.

6. Ask the Pastor to preach on the importance of using VBS to reach the community with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Check out additional ideas by reading From the Archives: Telling Your Church About VBS Part 1.

Celebrating 90: LifeWay Christian Resources began publishing VBS resources in 1925 under the leadership of Drs. Marion Frost and Homer Grice.

 

From the Archives: Telling Your Church About VBS Part 1

wooley1 2013

VBS 2014 may be behind you, but it’s never too early to begin spreading the word about VBS 2015.

As LifeWay’s VBS team celebrates 90 years of providing trustworthy curriculum and training, I have been searching the archives for wisdom and tips that are as relevant today as when first published. Here are six ways to insure every member of your congregation is aware, energized, and on the team for VBS 2015.

1. Display photos from VBS 2014 to remind everyone of the fun and life-changing impact of VBS.

2. Make bulletin and newsletter announcements exciting and creative. Build expectation!

3. Conduct a Worker Enlistment Sunday complete with banners, displays, buttons, and prizes.

4. Give every volunteer an “I’m On the Team!” button, and ask that it be worn for three or four weeks before VBS.

5. Create eye-catching displays throughout the building.

6. Enlist volunteers to give VBS testimonies in every Sunday School class.

Celebrating 90: LifeWay Christian Resources began publishing VBS resources in 1925 under the leadership of Drs. Marion Frost and Homer Grice.

Let the VBS 2015 Shopping Begin!

wooley1 2013A group of enthusiastic VBS Groupies recently asked me what they should be shopping for now that will be useful for Journey Off the Map™. If you are thinking ahead and have storage room, Summer clearance sales can be a great opportunity to purchase decorations for pennies on the dollar.

In addition to discount and hobby stores, be sure to check out hardware and garden centers, toy stores, the seasonal section of your grocery store, and party stores. I have also captured good finds at Bed Bath & Beyond and Target.

Here are a few bargains I have found in recent weeks that will make great additions to VBS 2015 decorations:

  • Butterfly kites (2 sizes)
  • Bamboo poles used for staking plants
  • Bamboo fencing (also found at the garden center)
  • Woven mats (both table mats as well as floor mats)
  • Botanical place mats
  • Botanical yard banners
  • Botanical serving bowls
  • Mosquito netting
  • Yard (tiki-style) torches
  • Wood crates and boxes

Let the shopping begin!

5 Ways to Stay Connected with Preschool Families from VBS

by Klista Stortschalkboard headshot

Connecting with new families is one of the main reasons for conducting Vacation Bible School in your community.  If it’s not, you might need to take a closer look at why you’re doing it!  And because we most often target elementary aged kids with VBS, you might be overlooking an important group that needs your connection – families with preschoolers.  Here are five ways to consider how you can reach those families and keep them connected to your church.

  1. Pair up the child’s future Small Group or Sunday School teacher with the VBS leader when making a follow-up visit to a preschooler’s home.  The child has bonded with the VBS teacher during the week, and chances are, so has the parent! That transition on Sunday morning should go a lot more smoothly once they’ve met.
  2. Enlist parents with similarly aged kids to connect with a specific preschool family. Give a gift card to help pay for a quick meal at a local kid-friendly restaurant to encourage them to make a play date.
  3. Offer classes on parenting, finances, marriage and other family issues that would benefit preschool parents.  Now that they know you’ll take great care of their children, and made new friends of their own, they’ll be more likely to attend.
  4. Make sure they know you have other activities! Put together a calendar of future events and classes—include your Sunday morning services—and invite them to come.  The number one reason people attend is because they were invited!
  5. Promise to meet them at the front door on their first Sunday morning. Show them where their children’s classes are, take them to your small group, and sit with them during worship! Everything is easier when you do it with a friend!

My prayer is that these will just get you started. Keep that connection going all year long. Love on these parents and their children.  Let them know that your church cares, not just the week of VBS, but the other 51 weeks as well.

Let us know how your church connects! Blessings, friends!

5 Reasons My Pastor Loves VBS!

brown2Hey guys.

I’ve always been impressed with my pastor’s involvement in VBS, so I asked him if he would share a bit about why he, as Senior Pastor, thinks being involved in VBS is a good thing.

Here’s what he said:

1. VBS gives the pastor a chance to be directly and almost exclusively engaged with the children in ways that he can’t be on Sunday morning. Reflecting on Jesus’ blessing of the children, one of the easiest ways a pastor can be like Jesus is to be involved in VBS!

2. VBS gives children a chance to see a different side of the pastor which, for many of the children, may be a chance to see how God could call them one day to be a pastor, missionary, etc. This is why I try to be around for the worship rally and make myself available to visit classes to share a Bible story during the week.

3. Nothing can take the place of a pastor’s involvement in the evangelistic emphasis associated with VBS. This involvement is strengthened when the pastor has been a visible part of VBS throughout the week.

4. Pastors can become heroes to the kids in VBS. When an un-churched family member comes with the child for something like a Family night, an involved pastor who has already befriended the child has a better opportunity to connect with the adult family member.

5. When a pastor is involved with VBS he has a chance to interact with all of the adult volunteers who make up the VBS faculty. Again, this is going to be different from the typical Sunday morning interaction. Adults who are giving a week of their time to staff VBS will form a closer bond with their pastor and appreciate his love and attention for the children.

We’re thankful to Senior Pastor Frank R. Lewis of First Baptist Nashville for sharing his thoughts. Does your senior pastor love VBS? If not, maybe you can encourage him with these 5 reasons Pastor Lewis serves at his church’s VBS.

Shining in Your Sweet Spot

VanCleave - new (1)A couple of years ago we had one of “those” VBS weeks. Unexpected illnesses and surgeries and countless other things derailed our VBS plans. Thankfully people rallied and jumped in to do things outside of their norm. We “accidentally” discovered something great. We found a lot of people’s VBS sweet spot. One lady who “always” teaches jumped in to run the kitchen (we do a full meal each night of VBS). She doesn’t want to do this particular job all the time, but for one week she loves it!

Leaders who teach preteens throughout the year have a blast with kindergartners during VBS. Many couples have found that they enjoy being a team during VBS. Each year since that “accidental” year, we have discovered one or more people who have found their VBS sweet spot in an unexpected role.

The bonus of all this is that we are almost fully staffed for next year because people want to keep “their” jobs. And, a couple of people who did not see themselves as “good with kids,” now have a regular role in our kids ministry.

While this year is fresh in your mind, make of note of people who seemed to really enjoy what they did and enlist them now! Then, as you look to fill the rest of your slots for next year, give people a chance to try something different. The results can be … well, SWEET!

Another 2015 Sneak Peek

You’ve already gotten a sneak peek at the interior and exterior of the Tangled Branch Tree House (Bible Study) and Survival Springs (snacks). “But what about the other rotations?” you say. “We must see more!” Have no fear, the others are right here! Enjoy this little preview of what’s to come next summer on your “Journey Off the Map!”

Shady Grove (crafts)

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Boulder Bridge (missions)

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Rushing Waters (music)

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Tangled Branch Treehouse — The Inside Story

brown2Hey guys. Bible Study for Journey Off the Map is gonna be great! We’ll be focused on Jesus and digging into the life of Daniel!
In my last post, I showed you a tiny portion of the set we used for Worship Rally, which was the outside of The Tangled Branch Treehouse. Here’s what the final product looked like:
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For Bible Study, the setting is INSIDE the tree house! Maybe you can get a few ideas from what we did.
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The walls are 8′ tall, the top of the tree is about 10′, the floor is made out of a scrap piece of linoleum. We cut the edges and painted the back side with latex house paint to look like wood flooring.
Sets are fun but hopefully you’ll spend the majority of your time digging into the lessons. ​​We’ll be praying for you as you share Jesus with kids; some of whom may have never heard His name.