Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Summer Ministry Possibilities - "Freshen Up" Your Vacation Bible School!

Summer is about to begin! So . . . what do you have planned for reaching out into your community this Summer? If you have not planned anything yet because you just do not have a budget - or possibly the people to pull something off, consider these ideas - it is still not too late to get something together to reach into your community over the summer! The first idea I'm going to look at is VBS . . .

Okay, Vacation Bible School is almost a "given" for many, if not most, churches when they think about Summer Ministry Possibilities . . . but there is a very good reason for this! VBS is one of the most effective outreaches - and for many churches - their only outreach of the year, so as we consider Summer Ministry Possibilities, we need to first of all take a good look at Vacation Bible School. 

Why is VBS a good Ministry Outreach Possibility? People expect it. While this might sound like a negative thing, it is actually a very good thing because since they expect it, the people in your church are more likely to volunteer to help with it and the people in your community will be watching for the dates so they know when to send their kids.

This "expectation" can also be a bad thing because it can be easy to "get in a rut" with your VBS ministry; so this year stop and think about what you can do to "tweek" your VBS and make it something "new" and "fresh". Think about these ideas . . . 

  • I've heard from several churches where they are running their VBS with a "traditional" schedule for four days and then on the fifth day they are involving parents, planning a lunch and allowing the kids to put on a program for their parents. 
  • You could also involve the kids in a specific project all week to benefit a local ministry or a mission project. Develop specific and intentional activities for children to work on all week to help them accomplish their goals for this project - maybe even replace a station in your curriculum such as Chaddar's Theater if you use Group or a even a craft station. 
  • Hold your VBS in the evening or on Saturdays for a month to engage entire families in this ministry outreach. 
  • Change up your time for your VBS . . . instead of beginning at 9am each morning, begin at 10am and run it over the lunch hour - replace the snack station with a picnic lunch each day and invite parents to join you for lunch and then rotate through your final station with their kids each day! 
Use your imagination and see what you can think of to "freshen up" your VBS this year!

VBS publishers develop excellent resources for your VBS ministry outreach (check my reviews here) and while you may certainly utilize them in a traditional VBS format, you could "tweek" them for use them in a day camp, sports camp, week of camp or spread them throughout your summer and use them in a "fun days" type setting.

If you are thinking about not presenting a Vacation Bible School this summer because you've "always" done it and everyone else in your community still offers it, think about the following . . .

  • VBS is an effective outreach to both saved and unsaved children in your church and community. It allows saved children the opportunity to focus on a specific theme for five days in a row and involves them in a small groups where deep and lasting relationships can be formed. It allows unsaved children to be exposed to the Gospel message and make the decision to follow Jesus! 
  • It is a wonderful way for people in your church to be involved and serve and it gives you the opportunity to follow up with visitors to your VBS and reach out to the parents of the children who attend. 
If your budget just does not have "room" for VBS, consider going through your closet and pull out a kit you used several years ago. Use it again and have kids make zipper pulls each day with the theme - just get office key tags and let kids decorate them each day. Give kids a service project to work on all week and daily "assignments" where they live what they learn by serving their family or neighbors!

VBS does not have to be the "same-old-same-old". Get your leadership team together, look at the curriculum options available to you and think about what you could do this year to make your VBS something fresh and new!

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