Sunday, January 26, 2014

Let's Get More Out of Our Vacation Bible School Resources . . . Mission Trips and Back-yard Bible Clubs!

Today I'm going to share some ideas on how to re-use the VBS resources you select for your VBS . . . a great way to get more out of your CE dollars . . . and another way to expand your summer children's ministry by using an additional VBS resource!

Many, if not most, churches plan a mission trip for their teens during the summer. Some are quite the major undertaking - even on an international level - while others may be more locally based. My daughter and son went on mission trips each summer with their youth group - mostly to other areas of the country - but they also went on additional mission trips with groups like Reign Ministries (my son went to Nepal/Thailand, England, France, Spain, Italy, Greece and the Island of Rhodes), Youth for Christ (my daughter went to Mexico) and ZJAM (my daughter went to Costa Rica). I strongly believe in the value of teens being involved in summer mission trips big and small. When youth groups plan a mission trip, typically there is a component of their trip where the teens work with children . . . this is the ideal opportunity to re-use your VBS resources! If your church's VBS is before the mission trip, the teens can help with your VBS - great opportunity for them to prepare for their mission trip and more importantly, helps communicate to the teens serving is not just something they do once a year on a mission trip, but is something they can do in their own church all year!

Engage the teens in your church - 16 and older - as small group leaders, station leaders and helpers for your VBS and then the teens will be able to take what they learned and experienced in their church's VBS and use it on their mission trip! They will be familiar with the resources you used and know what to expect . . . and your church will be able to get more out of the materials they invested in by re-using them on the mission trip! You can even have a mission project for your VBS where children gather supplies or resources for the teen's mission trip! Talk with your youth leaders and see if you can work together to involve the teens in your VBS this summer and provide them with some of the resources they need for their mission trip!

As for Back-yard Bible clubs; when you are selecting your VBS resources, look for an additional VBS with a very strong evangelism focus and then get the Bible lesson books, crafts, music and games for back-yard Bible clubs. Plan to hold these Back-yard Bible clubs in the back-yards of members of your church all over town all summer long . . . another excellent way to involve your youth group as teams of teens could teach these Back-yard Bible clubs. This gives you an opportunity to bring your church into your community and neighborhood and potentially bring your community and neighbors back to your church! Tara Schmidt from Bethlehem Baptist Church has excellent information on their website on how to plan a Back-yard Bible club. Take a look and consider if this might be an opportunity for your church to expand your children's ministry and literally take it into your community and neighborhoods this summer!

If you have used your VBS materials for mission trips and/or back-yard Bible clubs, what is your best piece of advice for someone who is considering doing this with their VBS this year?

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