Many congregational leaders struggle with VBS. With the increased competition for children’s time, many congregations have either cut VBS way back, joined forces with another local congregation to offer VBS together, or have dropped it.
But other congregations are breathing new life into VBS with success. They’re thinking out of the box and working at creating a VBS model that works in their congregation.
They’re talking a lot with parents about what matters to them. They’re asking questions, such as these: What attracts your kids to VBS? What turns them off? What other activities get in the way? What pressures do you feel as a parent that could be greatly reduced if our congregation offered VBS in a new way? How do you wish the church could help you as a parent?
They’re choosing more strategic times to offer VBS. Many congregations have discovered that summer no longer works as well for VBS because of all the other commitments families have. Instead, they’re doing VBS during school breaks, such as during fall break, winter break, or spring break. Others pinpoint one-day school breaks, such as Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, and Labor Day.
They’re focusing VBS more. A number of congregations have created more focused VBS offerings, such as a VBS only for preschoolers and another one that helps older children discover the Christian themes in the Harry Potter books. By creating more specialized VBS offerings, they’re finding that not only are kids excited but so are people willing to volunteer.
What matters is not to do the same thing over and over but to discover a new way to offer VBS so that not only your church benefits but so that children and parents benefit as well.