By Melita Thomas
Vacation Bible School (VBS) season is upon us. And with the clock steadily ticking, it’s likely that all that early excitement you felt as you began to plan for VBS has now devolved into a mild panic. Don’t worry … that’s normal! Take a deep breath and map out a strategy to get you across the finish line. Here are six VBS tips for turning the last-minute madness into mad fun!
Step 1: Ask God for help
Spend time in purposeful prayer for VBS. Ask God to reveal to you the things that still need to be done and to provide the people and resources needed to accomplish the work. Pray with paper and pencil in hand. As God brings tasks and people to mind, jot them down to follow up with later.
Step 2: Evaluate & delegate
Step back and take note of everything your team has accomplished to this point. (You’re probably more prepared than you think.) Most churches are blessed with at least a handful of experienced VBS volunteers … now’s the time to use them. Make a list of everything that still needs to be done and delegate responsibility for as many tasks as possible to seasoned members of your team.
Step 3: Organize next steps
A long to-do list feels overwhelming when viewed as a whole but instantly becomes manageable when turned into a series of action steps. Begin by compiling all your to-do lists into one master list. Break down each item on the list into next steps—who needs to be involved; what supplies need to be purchased, collected, or made; completion dates; etc. Add the completion dates to your calendar (be sure to spread them out so not everything is due at once) and check things off the list once completed.
Step 4: Assess as a team
Pull your leadership team together for a brief check-up. Review the master list together and check in on delegated responsibilities. Some on your team may be in panic mode as well, so help them step back, evaluate, and organize their tasks.
Step 5: Simplify
We all want our VBS to be the very best, but sometimes our plans exceed our available time and resources. For example, decorating every single room in the church may seem like tons of fun for the kids but may result in too much stress for volunteers. Remember that what happens in the room is much more important than what happens to the room. Give yourself and your team permission to make Bible teaching the priority of VBS and simplify everything else.
Step 6: Do a final walk through
Conduct a final walk-through with your leadership and facility teams before final VBS setup begins. Make sure everyone is on the same page about the rooms being used, furniture and equipment to be moved, and traffic flow as kids rotate through activities. Discuss which doors are to remain open and which will remain locked during VBS. Make sure the facilities team knows which rotations will generate the most trash and which rooms will need the most attention throughout the week. Take pictures of the rooms before beginning any setup so you’ll be able to return everything to its place after VBS.
Following these six tips for VBS will lessen the chaos leading up to the week. But for perfect peace entering that final week, you’ll need to remember why you’re doing VBS in the first place. Keep your focus on creating a safe and welcoming environment for kids, and take advantage of every opportunity the Holy Spirit affords to share the gospel with them. Then your VBS will truly be a success!
Melita is VBS & Kids Ministry specialist for Lifeway Christian Resources.