Does VBS Still Exist?

What did the VBS in your church look like when you were a kid? I imagine, it looked a LOT different than what it does now, for a host of reasons. My recollections of VBS include all morning long sessions, there were 80 – 100 kids (because we had counting contests) and getting stay at home moms to volunteer was a piece of cake…oh, the good ol’ days!

To make VBS work, you have to adapt to modern society to fit everyone’s schedule. If it is too hard to get people during the day to work your program, switch it to the evening. Serve dinner so families can come straight from work/daycare into VBS. They still get to eat, have some downtime and then get to experience your fun program.

Five days in a row is impossible. OK, so make it 2 or 3 days in one week. If you can only get one day a week out of most people, then do one day a week but try it for multiple weeks. There are no “rules” that say programming needs to be done in one certain timeframe. The curriculum kits offered by all the major publishers include 5 days’ worth of Bible stories and lessons, so you can do 5 days throughout the entire summer!

If the curriculum is too expensive (there’s always the Prop Center where you can borrow the kits from) you can come up with Bible stories or verses and base your theme around that topic. Any story can have a craft, a snack and a game to match it. Ask for donations to create the crafts or to assemble snacks. People are often very willing to donate supplies, especially if they can’t volunteer in person.

A themed “fun night” is also a great way to get your kids back to church throughout the summer so they don’t become strangers. Some popular themes I have used include Bike Safety Night (with a speaker from St. Mary’s Ascension who gives out free bike helmets), Messy Night, Pooch Pawty (bring your dogs night), Water Night, Pizza & Picasso (dinner and crafts), Movie nights, Candy Land, Jawsome Fun…I could go on and on. If you need ideas on summer fun themes, check out my folders on Pinterest or simply do a search. You will have ideas for days!

Even getting your kids from the congregation together once during the summer is super! An ice cream social is attractive to everyone in your congregation and the community. Open the doors to let people cool off with a sweet treat…hand out flyers for your upcoming fall Sunday school dates and promote whatever else your church has coming up.

VBS might not look like the good old days, but that doesn’t mean it is bad! Times are different and the church just needs to keep adapting to stay relevant in busy family lives. If you have any questions on planning a summer theme night, email me anytime. [email protected].

Join me on Tuesday, June 11th at 10am for a live Zoom so you can see how I prep for VBS and ask any questions you might have. My church’s first day of VBS is June 11th and we are doing the brand new Cokesbury Camp Firelight. Look it up, see how our church is decorated and get ideas and takeaways to create your own event.

Topic: VBS Live

Time: Jun 11, 2024 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

https://michiganumc.zoom.us/j/82925435174

Meeting ID: 829 2543 5174

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Central Bay District