7 Tips for a Successful Vacation Bible School

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

For many children and youth, Vacation Bible School (VBS) represents the most wonderful time of the summer! That exciting week where they can make new friends and grow closer to God.

And while it’s a week full of fun activities, in reality, it takes a lot of hard work and preparation to pull off a successful week of VBS.

As is the case with most programs and events, the key to success is planning. Here are seven tips for making sure your organization’s VBS program runs safely and smoothly this summer:

  1. Get an early start on planning. It’s best to start the planning process several months in advance. One of the first things you need to do is pick the dates and decide on the hours. Some churches like to hold VBS in the morning from around 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., while others prefer an evening program that goes from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Also, some programs are held for four days and some are five days in length.
  2. Establish a theme. Choosing a theme is another important starting point. The theme will be the basis for all of the activities and curriculum for the week. Look for one that will engage and interest children, possibly related to sports, superheroes, space or animals.
  3. Set a budget. Costs can quickly add up, so it’s important to set a budget and stick to it. It’s a good idea to divide your budget into departments like snacks, decorations, teaching materials and craft supplies. If possible, ask for donations of snacks and craft supplies from congregants.
  4. Plan activities and curriculum. The VBS curriculum is always built around the week’s theme and all activities, lessons, music and decorations should tie into the theme. The curriculum should include meaningful faith lessons that are also fun. Many churches will choose to purchase a VBS curriculum. There are also numerous resources available online for free.
  5. Recruit volunteers. Volunteers are the lifeblood of any successful VBS program. Don’t wait until the last minute to recruit them. Use your church’s website, newsletter and word-of-mouth to recruit church members to help with VBS. Once you’ve recruited volunteers, make sure they complete their online training, screening and background checks through Safe Gatherings.
  6. Advertise. Before you promote your VBS program, you’ll want to decide if it’s open only to children who are members of your church or to children throughout your community. Once that’s decided, advertise your VBS through flyers and the church’s website and newsletter.
  7. Establish rules for drop off and dismissal. One thing that often gets overlooked in the excitement of planning a Vacation Bible School each summer is the establishment of a procedure for dropoff and dismissal. You should always make sure that two teachers are with students at all times during pickup and dropoff. Establish a guideline that requires parents to walk into the building each day to drop off and pick up their child. This cuts down on the danger of children crossing a busy parking lot while walking to their parent’s car.

With a little preparation, you can put on a Vacation Bible School program this summer that your organization will be proud of and that the kids will talk about for months or years to come!