Foto Friday. . ."VBS Cash Cab"

This week’s Foto Friday is actually another video. . .not a decorating video but a guest video! Jonathan of First Baptist Church Jacksonville posted a great VBS recruitment video on our Facebook page. I really wanted to share it with everyone!

Unfortunately I couldn’t get it loaded on the page, so if you don’t mind, I’ve provided the link below to it on our Facebook page.

Check out the video here.

Now that the VBS season is about to start, we would LOVE to see your photos and videos and LOVE to post them on the blog for Foto Friday! ! ! So, post them to our Facebook page or our Community!

BTW, be sure to check the blog next week! ! ! Exciting time! ;)

Lookie lookie what I just posted! Another VBS 2012 Close-up photo! ! !

Help! I Need Volunteers!

If you had to pick, what would go on the top of  your VBS checklist as a director? I would say that recruiting volunteers would be at the top of mine. Anybody who has ever worked at VBS knows that it is impossible to pull it off without people who are willing to give their time and volunteer! We need people who are willing to teach, make crafts, help with registration, organize the classes, and so forth. So, how do you get people to volunteer?

  • Pray. Prayer is so important. Ask God to help you to find the right people to volunteer for the positions you need, and for you to recognize those people.
  •  Ask People Personally. Making announcements is a great way to let people know the need for volunteers, but it is also important to take the time to ask people personally. Some people may think the announcement is for everyone but them, so personally seeking them out helps them know that you really value them and want their help.
  • Recruit in Pairs. Some people may be new to VBS or may not feel confident in teaching, so recruit them and a friend. This gives you two volunteers and helps them be able to work with someone they know.
  • Provide a Job Description. People want to know what they are volunteering for, so make sure that you are able to provide a true job description so that they know what they are getting into!
  • Provide Training and Resources. Volunteers need to feel confident. Therefore it is important to let them know that training will be provided and that you will make sure that they will have all the resources they need.
  • Be Organized. Nothing can frustrate someone more than volunteering to help and then finding that the leader is unorganized and cannot tell them what needs to be done.
  • Show Appreciation. Many people are taking time off from work or giving up something else to help in VBS. Let them know that you appreciate them and all their hard work.

Making the VBS Connection

Last Tuesday I wrote about the five essentials of VBS follow-up: 1. Start with a plan; 2. Put someone in charge; 3. Know your audience; 4. Use a variety of methods; and 5. Be creative.

The ultimate goal of each of these essential elements is to help you and your church make connections with the people you want to attend your VBS.

Here are five essential (again with the word “essential”) ways to connect:

1. Make COMMUNITY connections. Since I know the purpose of my church, where it is located, and what happens inside the walls, I just assume everyone else in the community knows as well. Wrong! The majority of people who drive by the church each day are not even aware the church or the church building exist. Before we can have great success inviting people to VBS we must first introduce ourselves to them and help them know who and what we are.

This doesn’t happen just because we leave brochures at each house or place a large banner in front of the church building. Well in advance of VBS we must, as a church, become involved in the community. We must participate in parades, community festivals, community organizations and schools, and be actively involved in meeting needs of individuals and the community.

2. Make NEIGHBORHOOD connections. Many church members today have little connection with their neighbors. They may wave as they are headed to the car, but have not invested the time to build relationships. Yet these are the people we are going to hand a stack of VBS brochures and ask them to invite their neighbors.

If we are going to depend on church members to be the primary promoters for VBS we may need to invest time helping church members meet their neighbors. This can be accomplished through block parties, frontyard Bible clubs, and service projects.

3. Make KID connections. If we want to invite kids to VBS we have to first find them. We have to go where the kids go: little league ball fields, schools, parks and swimming pools, the library (do kids go to libraries anymore?). You get the idea. Discover where the kids congregate and take your information to them – especially at the time parents are picking them up.

4. Make SERENDIPITOUS connections. That is a big word that simply means connect with people in unexpected ways. If ever church in town is delivering brochures door-to-door you are going to have to do something that stands out, that is unexpected, that is memorable! My favorite idea to date is a church that put their invitation on a frisbee, waited until the middle of the night, and placed a frisbee on each driveway. The next morning as people went out to pick up the paper or leave for work they found a frisbee not only on their own drive but every driveway in the neighborhood. Not only was it unexpected, but who throws away a frisbee?

5. Make PERSONAL connections. The very best way to publicize VBS is still the old fashioned way – one person telling/inviting another person. Instead of just making a pulpit plea to invite friends and neighbors, offer a brief training session on what to say. Arm members of the congregation with all the facts so they will be able to not only invite but to answer questions kids and parents might have. Share testimonies from people who are currently attending church because a friend or neighbor extended an invitation.

Another aspect of personal connections is training church members how to connect with people once they walk in the door of the church. Connection points 1 – 4 may get someone to attend, but unless personal connections are made the person/family is not likely to return. For many church members making this type of personal connection does not come easily – especially for members who have been involved in the church for a long period of time or who have a large family or many friends already attending the church.

By now (if you are still reading this post) you should be thinking, “Wow, making connections takes a lot of work,” and your are absolutely correct. But if VBS is one of the largest outreach events on the church calendar it requires work. It requires making the connection.

Coming next Tuesday: Big Apple Adventure theme-related promotion ideas.

I Was Framed!

Hey! Pam here. I’m so excited to be a part of the VBS blog team. I’ve been very blessed to work on the creative side of VBS for several years now and it’s always fun and challenging. So, let’s get started!

If you haven’t had your picture taken at a photo booth lately, then boy are you missing out. Who knew wrapping up in a green sheet with a crown and a pair of sunglasses would be so much fun?  We had a blast shooting so many of you this year at our VBS Preview Events. This would be a perfect activity for VBS Family Night. After all, who doesn’t LOVE fun, adorable, or crazy photos of their kids? What a great keepsake! Plus, it’s super easy to pull together.

First, I started by purchasing several cheap frames at a local thrift store. Sometimes you have to dig around a little to find the good ones. Really, even the gaudy or ugly ones look good with a little spray paint. After removing the glass and cardboard backing, they were spray painted with a variety of bright colors. I used orange, royal blue, and green.

You can create a large oversized frame that’s perfect for group shots or individuals. I used a 4-foot x 8-foot sheet of blue insulation board that was cut into two strips of 48 inches x 8 inches and two more strips of 36 inches x 8 inches.  Paint all 4 strips with any craft water-based paint.  Do not use spray paint. It works great with a foam brush or roller. I used red paint and while it was still wet, added black streaks to create a fake-looking wood grain. Once it’s dry, use wide tape for assembly. This is perfect because it’s lightweight and easy to hold for photos.

 

 

You can create a cityscape or any New York scene for a background. I used the New York Harbor Supersized Backdrop. Drape green King-size flat sheets around your models and clip with binder clips. Add Statue of Liberty Foam Crowns and Big Apple Adventure Sunglasses and now you’re ready to shoot. You may want to print your own photos and place into VBS Picture Frames or create a gallery like we did on http://lifewayvbs.smugmug.com/

Doesn’t that sound like fun?  Here’s our VBS team plus a few of our favorites!

[slideshow]

5 Ways To Promote Your VBS

Spring is right around the corner! Families are going to start making their summer plans soon. That means it’s time to start promoting your VBS event! Here are five great ways to get the word out:

  1. Use social media. Post your VBS dates and times on Facebook. Tweet them out to the world. Utilize your church’s social media pages as well as your personal accounts. Create a VBS page on your church’s Web site or blog with all the details and link to this page in your posts. You can download VBS art from lifeway.com/vbs and you can also use our promotional copy.
  2. Post VBS 2011 Window Signs and Promotional Posters in strategic area locations. Are there businesses near the neighborhoods you want to reach? Ask them if you can post a sign in their store window, or leave printed flyers at the check out for customers to take. Many stores have a bulletin area for posting community events. Area day care centers and schools are also great places to post window signs with your VBS information.
  3. The Kids Promo Video was created just to help you build excitement about VBS in your church. Show it before, after, or during a special VBS announcement time in your services. Have a special area where parents can sign up their kids for VBS. You can also link to the video from your church’s Web site or blog.
  4. As your VBS dates get closer, church members can canvass their neighborhoods with VBS 2011 Doorknob Hangers or Invitation Postcards.
  5. Make a personal connection. Nothing beats a personal visit or phone call invitation to your VBS event. Encourage kids and parents to personally invite others to join them at your Vacation Bible School adventure.