Five Things Easter and VBS have in Common

bethany I love Easter! I’m like a little kid about it. It’s not eggs and candy and dresses. It’s the way Christ’s resurrection becomes real as dark winter fades to wonderful lively spring and we hear the old story one more time. It never gets old.

Come to think of it, neither does VBS. Which brings to mind what Easter and VBS have in common (in my quirky brain at least).

1. They’re fun! Easter comes with fun kids’ activities that, if we’re intentional, point the way to Christ’s death and resurrection.  There’s always a danger of letting activities gloss over the story and meaning of Easter, but if we work at it there are tons of ways we can celebrate the resurrection in fun ways with our kids. Check out our Easter Pinterest board for some ideas. There’s also the joy of waking up on Easter morning, knowing that Christ is risen! It’s always true but more real in the sunrise and pollen producing blooms beating out the death of winter. As mentioned, it makes me a bit giddy. VBS . . . well, I KNOW I don’t have to tell you why it’s fun!

2. Community connections. Both Easter and VBS give you a chance to meet kids (and families) who aren’t in church regularly and love on them. In fact, Easter Sunday is a good way to let a larger audience know about VBS. Consider preparing Save the Date cards to hand out to your Easter Sunday crowd so they can know about VBS ahead of time and hopefully plan to come. But don’t wait for VBS! Start building relationships with visitors at your Easter service, even if it’s talking just one person. You never know how God might use that relationship.

3. Volunteers! Easter and VBS often call for extra volunteers to be on hand in your church’s kids ministry since there are lots of extra kids to care for and extra activities to be accomplished. Think about volunteering if you haven’t already. If you’re in charge of recruiting helpers and teachers for Easter, VBS, or both, make sure you thank them for their hard work and sacrifice, and see this post for ideas about handling the extra traffic Easter brings. Try here and here for VBS recruitment.

4. Pause button. We get a chance to pause and realize that our problems pale in comparison to the grand story of God becoming man and dying for our sakes. Our problems also often pale in comparison to what others are facing. Look around on Easter Sunday for someone who could use help or support, then do what you can. Do the same thing during VBS.

5. They celebrate the reality that Jesus died for our sins and conquered death. They remind us to celebrate that truth often, to see it in new ways, to thankfully accept it, and to share it with others.

What’s your favorite thing about Easter? VBS? How can you use them to reach out to your community? Tell us in the comments.

Make a BIG impact after VBS

VBS season isn’t even in full gear and I’m already wondering what my church is planning to do for follow-up. Right now, we’re working on recruiting leaders—so this a great time to enlist a person to be in charge of our follow-up efforts. I was searching around for some helpful tips, and found this awesome article by Polly House that is full of practical VBS follow-up advice. I want to share it with you.

VBS Shouldn’t End on Friday

Written by Polly House

Year after year, churches indicate their greatest need for Vacation Bible School is help with the follow-up. “What takes place after VBS is just as important as anything that happens during the week,” said Mike Smith of the leadership and evangelism area of LifeWay Christian Resources. “You have opportunities after VBS that didn’t even exist before.”

Smith led a session on “VBS and Beyond: Evangelistic Follow-Up,” during the 2011 VBS Preview held Jan. 27-28 at LifeWay Christian Resources’ home office in Nashville, Tenn. A second preview was held Jan. 28-29. More than 1,500 people attended. Smith said the first step to successful evangelical follow-up is to have a VBS follow-up director. “This person is just as important as the VBS director,” Smith said. “The follow-up director makes certain every child is remembered after the week. This is especially important for children who are not already a part of the church family. The weeks soon after VBS may be the only time a church member is welcome in the home of an unchurched family. It can be a time of introducing what the church has to offer to the entire family.”

Smith highlighted some notable statistics from LifeWay’s 2009’s Vacation Bible School (the most recent statistics available). “These numbers are just from the churches that actually reported their information to their state conventions and to LifeWay,” he said. “We know there are many that don’t send in a report.”

  • Number of churches reporting: 24,427
  • VBS enrollment: 2,840,380
  • Professions of faith: 88,410
  • Sunday school/Bible study prospects discovered: 264,716
  • Prospects enrolled in Sunday school/Bible study: 49,541
  • Prospects added to the prospect file: 206,392

He also listed a number of follow-up strategies and ideas for churches and explained how they can help.

  • Have a fun and evangelistic family night. “This may be the only time some of the unchurched parents will ever step foot in the church.”
  • Follow up with the Children’s Music Series. “The children always love the music at VBS and the CMS is a great way to keep them excited about music.”
  • Use the aids in the VBS Administrative Guide. “This gives resources, PowerPoints, training ideas and follow-up plans.”
  • Gather accurate/sufficient information on every VBS participant. “Get as much as possible, and be honest why you need it. Tell them you plan to follow up.”
  • Determine ahead of time what will be your plan for follow-up. “Establish your strategy before VBS ever begins.”
  • Immediately after VBS, activate your follow-up teams. “People will never be more open than they are right then.”
  • Send information about the church directly to the homes. “You really can’t trust the kids to make it home with the information.”
  • Connect everyone in the family with the appropriate Sunday school class. “If they get connected with a small group like Sunday school, statistics tell us there is an 83 percent chance they will still be connected after five years, but only a 16 percent chance if they aren’t.”

Celebrate the results of VBS during a Sunday morning worship service. “Have the whole service be about VBS. Do the music, have testimonies, and have a VBS-themed sermon.” Smith also suggested the resources Leading a Child to Christ and More to Life to help churches evangelistically reach out to new families.