It is already the beginning of spring, and the time is speeding toward summer programs at church, specifically Vacation Bible School. Two to three months before the beginning of Vacation Bible School is the time when all the balls should start to be in the air.
By now you have picked a theme and found a curriculum or guide. If not, there are a lot of places with great resources, even sharing with another colleague or church. We are planning to offer the new Operation Restoration: Mending God’s World VBS this summer. The next item on your list is to put together a Vacation Bible School committee, a few key volunteers to plan and handle details. You should decide what your goal registration numbers will be and what is your cap. Getting registration forms ready and publishing your program to the congregation and community is a priority since a lot of families start planning their summers after Christmas.
Two to three months before VBS, the main push is for coordinating classes and teachers. For my congregation this particularly true for the youngest children, which is where we get the most sign-ups. Volunteers who will teach preschoolers and early elementary aged students are hard to find. If you are having difficulty recruiting teachers for your program, widen your scope to include college students who are home on break, empty nesters, grandparents, and older adults.
Next, find and coordinate a group to help introduce the theme each day—musicians, performers, good story tellers, people with high energy. Youth can bring great energy for teaching songs and dances, doing skits, and helping children get excited about a week of encountering God. More than half of the children who attend our VBS are from outside the church. Making sure they feel welcome and joyous every morning is a priority for us as we plan out our program.
Two months before Vacation Bible School is a great time to find volunteers for decorating the VBS spaces, coordinating daily snacks, shepherding classes, and managing childcare for smaller siblings. Make sure everyone has their safety clearances. If you are working with new volunteers who are unknown to you, have a meeting about child safety and protocol. This type of clarity of expectations and protocol is important and should not be skipped.
Advertise! Invite people to be part of the fun. Put up some of your theme decorations on a bulletin board, social media, or your church website. Give people an idea of what your Vacation Bible School program will be like. It is always fun to see who is sparked by your enthusiasm and offers to help. These last few months before VBS can be filled with creative and fun details and building excitement for a great summer faith experience.