When I was first asked to take on the role of VBS Coordinator as a junior in college I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. With the help from my Pastor and many volunteers in the church, we have been able to make a successful VBS week each summer. Here are a few of the many things that have helped our small congregation reach out to a whole community.
When planning a VBS so much organization and preparation take place months before the actual week. It is highly important to be selective in the week that is chosen for VBS. In our small community, before we set the date for VBS, we check with the local swimming pool for swimming lessons, baseball/ softball schedules, and surrounding county fairs. Once a week is set for VBS flyers, postcards and a Facebook page are created and set out to families that are members of the congregation and also families that are not members but have come in years past.
The next focus is finding volunteers. It is so important to seek volunteers and helpers months and weeks before VBS. Our church is so blessed to have many teachers that can work together to make it a success! The main goal is to find helpers that can lead the main stations: crafts, music, snacks, games and lessons.
Then find younger volunteers that can help lead groups from station to station. It is very important to consider the gifts that your volunteers have. We have a volunteer that loves to sing and has an amazing voice; therefore she helps each year with the music. Encourage your church members that they are never too old. We have a member that is 90 years old and helps every year!
Many people in the congregation who are not able to help during the week of VBS are willing to help provide in other ways. It is best to get a list of donated items that are needed for the week of VBS out ahead of time to church members. Snacks and craft supply donations big or small can be the biggest blessing for VBS.
Each year it is so important to keep detailed records of everything. Document who was able to volunteer to help teach, lead or donate. Keep records of the children that attended. It has also been helpful for us to document the good, the bad and the ugly on how the week ran. It is so helpful when planning to know what worked well the year before. I have found it is also helpful to review what didn’t work so well to prevent the same outcome and to fix it and make it better for the years to come.
Rural & Small Town Mission supports and encourages rural and small town congregations in engaging their communities and growing together in Christ through Word and Sacrament. If you have a good idea for outreach or a story you’d like to share so that we can share it with others, please email Amy Gerdts at firstname.lastname@example.org.