It’s Time to Report Your VBS

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VBS 2014 reports have been arriving in my office by the thousands. If quantity of mail is any indication I must have the most popular address on the 7th floor. Of course the envelopes are actually addressed to the VBS Report Desk – which you might find humorous to learn is nothing more than a FAX machine sitting on a small metal foot stool in a corner of my office. So actually it is the Report Desk that holds title to the most popular address.

If you have not already done so, it is time to file your report as well. Here are a few reasons why reporting your VBS is valuable to both your church and to LifeWay.

1. Filling out the report forces you and your VBS ministry leaders to take time to evaluate your goals, actions, and results. Were your goals realistic and achievable?

2.  Reporting VBS 2014 creates a bench mark for setting goals for next year and future years.

3. Creating a year-to-year record reveals the long-term health of your VBS ministry. Are the numbers increasing or decreasing? Are your efforts resulting in professions of faith and other decisions?

4. Your VBS report is a vital element of your continued connection (follow up) process. It helps you clearly identify the number of unchurched families who participated in VBS and who need to be connected to ongoing ministries such as Sunday School.

5. Your VBS report becomes a tangible part of your ministry’s story that should be shared and celebrated.

6. Your VBS report and evaluation helps the LifeWay VBS team create future resources and training opportunities. Your report helps us measure the evangelistic health and effectiveness of our ministry and curriculum offerings.

To report your VBS you can fill out the Director’s Evaluation found in the Administrative Guide and mail it in. Or you can submit it electronically here.

What to Save for 2015

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Want a jump on prepping for VBS 2015 decorations? Here’s a list of things you can start saving (and collecting) now for next summer.

  • Giant, colorful flowers (stores like Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, and JoAnn’s have tons of summer decor on sale at the end of the season)
  • Natural grass skirts or tablecloths
  • Palm fronds
  • Sticks, branches, bamboo poles, and the like
  • Green plastic tablecloths (for vines)
  • Green vinyl tablecloths (for lily pads)
  • Blue foil curtain (door curtain available from party supply stores)

Be sure to check back on August 29th for a list of craft supplies to start saving!

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

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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.

How Are You Connecting with Parents?

wooley1 2013Church 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.

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!

From the Archives: “Preparing for VBS” Part 3

wooley1 2013As we continue to Celebrate 90, today’s archives wisdom comes from a 1997 training outline titled: 62 Ways to Prepare Yourself for A Galactic Good News Adventure. While some of the ideas were specific to the theme, here are six more reminders that apply every year. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 for additional ways to prepare yourself for VBS.

1. Visit lifeway.com/vbs for additional ideas and suggestions. (And don’t forget PINTEREST and FACEBOOK, which are now two of our most popular sources for sharing ideas.)

2. Write your personal VBS Purpose Statement.

3. Delegate as much responsibility (at home and church) as possible so you will have time to enjoy the excitement of the VBS week.

4. Make a VBS preparation checklist.

5. Call or send a note to a VBS worker from your past and tell him/her how their ministry impacted your life.

6. Enlist adults (and teens) who will not be able to attend VBS to help you with preparations.

 

 

From the Archives: “Preparing for VBS” Part 2

wooley1 2013We’re Celebrating 90! That’s 90 years of publishing VBS curriculum, and I’ve been digging through the archives.

Today’s wisdom is obviously a continuation of Part 1, and comes from a 1997 training outline titled: 62 Ways to Prepare Yourself for A Galactic Good News Adventure. While some of the ideas were specific to the theme, here are six reminders that apply every year.

1. Conduct a prayer walk around the church campus.

2. Prepare meals for the week of VBS ahead of time and freeze them (double your recipe and share with another VBS worker).

3. Pray that other churches in your community will catch a vision for the evangelistic opportunities provided by VBS.

4. Make sure you know how to lead children to Christ by studying the inside cover of your VBS leader guide.

5. Enlist a homebound member of your church to be your personal VBS prayer warrior.

6. Search your closet, garage, and second-hand stores for your theme-related costume.

Today’s Trivia: LifeWay Christian Resources began publishing VBS resources in 1925 under the leadership of Dr. Homer Grice, a pastor from Dallas, Georgia.