A Place for Near All Spiritual Gifts in VBS


Vacation Bible School requires a lot of detailed preparation in the months leading up to it. Then, at the last minute, comes a flurry of activity to set up and decorate. During the VBS program, people enjoy a Bible lesson, games, snacks, crafts and perhaps a general assembly time which all require time to prepare. Afterward comes clean-up and follow-up. With so much to do, certainly there’s a place for near all spiritual gifts in VBS.

An Effective VBS Takes a Lot of Organization and Coordination

Think of all that needs to be done: recruiting, delegating responsibilities, choosing curriculum, promoting, scheduling, planning the most effective use of the facilities and church grounds, working with the budget, etc. — Someone with the spiritual gift of administration can provide the organization needed for this ministry event.

As director of VBS, this person would do well to co-direct with someone having the gift of leadership to help him/her think outside of the box, to see all Vacation Bible School could be. People with the gift of administration could also be ones to coordinate specific aspects like crafts, games, snacks, etc.

A Variety of Spiritual Gifts are Needed to Accomplish All the Details

All Gifted for Effectual Ministry but Some Lack Evidence of Spiritual GIftingOne person, or even a handful of people, cannot do it alone if we want to experience an effective Vacation Bible School. Since spiritual gifts are God’s power for serving, it only makes sense that the more we pull on people’s gifting, the more effective VBS will be. Delegating to a broad base of people according to their spiritual gifting, should increase the potential impact of VBS.

The Ministry Handbook: Spiritual Gifts in Use, includes a page that suggests the spiritual gifts that may best fit the various tasks that need to be accomplished in VBS. The handbook is a helpful tool for determining who to recruit in other ministry areas as well, fulfilling different ministry needs.


Effectively Prepare for VBS


Effectively Prepare for VBS by Praying to the One Apart from Whom We Can Do Nothing
Vacation Bible School can consume a lot of time and energy that can yield minimal eternal good if we don’t effectively prepare for VBS. Effectiveness doesn’t come through picking a great theme, a lot of fun activities, enthusiastic teachers and workers, etc. but rather by the power of the Lord at work in and through it. Jesus said that apart from Him we can do nothing of eternal value (Jn. 15:5). Because He is the Vine and we are the branches, we find our sustenance and strength in Him to bear fruit. He must therefore be a critical part of our preparation if we want VBS to truly be effective.

4 Critical Steps to Effectively Prepare for VBS

When we truly believe what Jesus said, that apart from Him we can do nothing, then we will take steps to make sure seeking after Him in prayer becomes a part of all we do. Consequently, these four steps will be the most critical steps you can take in preparing for Vacation Bible School.

STEP 1:  Envision what VBS can be through prayer.

  • What does GOD want to accomplish through it?
  • Who does GOD want it to target?

STEP 2:  Envelop the whole process in prayer.

  • Ask God if there is a time best suited for what He wants to do through it and then put it on the church calendar.
  • Ask God about the best format to use … traditional, rotation, etc.
  • Ask God for wisdom in choosing the curriculum and developing the theme.
  • Ask God to help you be a wise steward of the allotted VBS budget and for creativity in raising extra needed to accomplish His answer to step 1.
  • Ask God to raise up gifted and impassioned leaders, teachers, and helpers for the various aspects … Bible lesson, crafts, snacks, games/recreation, etc.
  • Ask God to show you the best way to train the VBS staff.
  • Ask God for help in promoting VBS so you use the right means to attract the people He wants to attend.
  • Ask God for wisdom in maximizing the use of the facilities and church grounds by designating what areas should be used for the different parts of the program and also for room assignments.
  • Ask God to help you not to miss the many details that need to go into this such as collecting all the supplies, decorating, etc.
  • Ask God to motivate people to come to VBS as you begin pre-registration.

Step 3:  Enlist the prayer support of others right from the start.

  • Recruit a prayer support team specifically chosen to pray for VBS, often good to include those who cannot be physically involved in VBS.
  • Lead the VBS staff to keep praying from the moment they are recruited by giving them specifics of what they can pray for as the time approaches.
  • Gather the VBS staff to pray together each day of VBS prior to beginning the session.

Step 4:  Engage the entire congregation in praying for VBS.

  • Keep them updated about the vision and needs.
  • Plan a special time the Sunday before Vacation Bible School begins to invite the VBS staff to come forward and be prayed over.

Wherever you are in the planning process for this year’s VBS, it isn’t too late to implement these critical steps. Be ready, however, to make some changes as a result if you’ve been seeking effectiveness apart from the Lord.


In Anticipation of VBS


Are you having Vacation Bible School this year? Reflect on these thoughts in anticipation of VBS. You will have some work ahead, some prayer to invest, some workers to recruit and materials to prepare, as well as promotional efforts. Though time intensive and energy consuming, trusting God to use it should bring an excitement and joy to your soul.

‘Twas the Morn Before VBS : In Anticipation of VBS

‘Twas the morn before VBS and all through the church,
not a car was a stirring, not a person in search.
The tent was hung by the building with care,
in hopes that lots of children soon would be there.
The classrooms were empty; the sanctuary was bare,
not even one person to sit on a chair.
The directors were busy with last minute details,
while visions of blessing their mind couldn’t curtail.
Yes, visions of laughter from children at play,
enjoying recreation every day.
Fun games for all from the littlest to the oldest,
with challenges to see who’d be the boldest.
Our vision didn’t end there, so much more we would share
as we’d welcome each person to a special affair.
There were visions of craft time for each one to make,
a reminder of that lesson’s truth they could take.
There’d be singing and offerings to a mission we’d claim
all for a demonstration of God’s love to proclaim.
One vision would outshine all the others we’d sow,
and that was to make our Lord Jesus Christ known.
They’d learn how God loves them and wants them to be,
a member of His big family.
A new life He’ll give them, one full and free,
one able to reach out and love as does He.
These visions were dancing around in our heads,
and that long winter’s nap … well …
All of the sudden there arose such a clatter,
we didn’t have time to see what was the matter.
Then what to our wondering eyes to appear,
people registered for VBS this year.
The moral of this story is so plain and so true,
God will work through VBS, but that we already knew.

© 2022 Ministry Tools Resource Center, MinTools.com (permission to print for ministry use with copyright info included but not on another website)

Need help preparing for your VBS?


VBS . . . Is It Worth It?


Vacation Bible School can be very consuming of time, resources (people and financial), and energy. A lot of effort goes into a short blast of ministry. VBS … Is it worth it?

Obviously I can’t answer that question for you.  You need to look at your particular situation.  I can, however, give you a few suggestions to maximize your effort.

Suggestions to Help Make VBS Worth It

1) View prayer as critical.
Make sure this is what God wants you to do. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5-6). If this type of ministry is His will for you, ask Him to give you a clear purpose for it. Then envelope everything you do in prayer. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). For more help on praying your way through VBS, read: 4 Critical Steps to Effectively Prepare for Vacation Bible School.

2) Have a clear purpose and diligently pursue that purpose.
Having Vacation Bible School because “We’ve always done VBS” probably isn’t the reason God would have you hold VBS. We have a purposeful God.

Is your VBS to be a way to disciple your own church’s children and youth during the slow summer months? If so, get beyond the fun of VBS and make sure it also truly helps students know and love the Lord better.

Is your VBS to be a means of community outreach? If so, do everything you can to make sure community kids come and not just those from your own church. And, make sure the Gospel is clearly presented.

3) Choose your curriculum wisely.
A friend told me of her church choosing a certain curriculum because they liked the theme. As teachers prepared, they began to find teaching they did not believe was biblical. Now it was too late to change. All they could do was ask teachers to make necessary fixes … hoping they all knew the Bible well enough themselves to find what needed to be changed. There is more to consider than the theme. Get help here: Choosing Curriculum for Vacation Bible School

4) Plan well enough in advance.
The best time to begin is right after finishing. If you wait too long to begin, everything becomes a rush. You are tempted to take short cuts and not put adequate time into it.  People get frustrated not knowing what they are supposed to do, not having materials early enough, etc. Think through all that needs to be done and strategically plan when to do it. Here’s a tool to serve as a guide: VBS Planning Timeline

5) Recruit strategically.
There is no reason for a handful of people to be overwhelmed. The work of leaders and teachers would be greatly reduced if you got more people involved. How, you might ask, are you supposed to do that when you can’t even fill all the volunteer positions needed in the on-going work of the church? Most people are more willing to help out in time specific, low-commitment ways that fit their gifting and passions. Delegate to many rather than to few and you will spread the load. Yes, that takes coordination but if you do the previous suggestion to plan well enough in advance, that won’t seem so daunting. Here are some examples: A Place for Near All Spiritual Gifts in VBS

6) Take time to follow-up.
Don’t expect that just because you had a VBS program that brought in the community that they will come back. Don’t settle for an unspoken sentiment that those who got saved at VBS are better off than before they came, that you fulfilled your responsibility. If you want people to keep coming back and you want participants to continue growing, you need to follow up. You can read some ideas here: When VBS is Over, Then What?

These suggestions, if followed, could very well tip the scale on whether or not VBS is worth it for you because you

go beyond simply having a nice program that is an end in itself and stresses out its workers

to something God is in and is able to bless that leads to an even greater purpose and that people find rewarding.


Vacation Bible School? Choosing VBS Curriculum


Often you will find helps on which VBS curriculum to choose but not much seems to be written about when to choose it so I want to begin with that.


Normally by the end of summer or beginning of autumn, most of the major curriculum companies announce the next year’s theme.  While you usually cannot order the material at that time, you can start comparing what is going to be available.

It used to be I would go to the local Christian bookstore when the curriculum was in stock and spend a number of hours checking out the various programs.  Now, with the Internet, you can do much of the research online and much earlier.

The earlier you begin the process, the more potential for your “creative juices” to start flowing to imagine the possibilities of what you could do with the various themes.

The earlier you decide, the sooner you can start praying more specifically and even dropping hints to build excitement.


In Choosing VBS Curriculum Be Sure to Pray about It
In choosing VBS curriculum, pray for God’s guidance as you ask the following questions:

How does it meet the basics?  Take into consideration factors vital to choosing any kind of curriculum.

You need to look at it doctrinally.  Don’t let a theme sway you into compromising.

You need to make sure it follows a sound teaching-learning process.  VBS is more than fun and games.  Bible lessons need to promote changed lives, moving from head knowledge to seeing the implications of truth to their lives, culminating in application.

You need to check age level development issues.  It’s easy when trying to develop a spectacular theme with all the bells and whistles to move too far into the abstract, making it fun but not right where students are at in the various age levels.

How does it fit our setting?  Take into consideration the following elements as you check out the various curriculum possibilities.

– Culture of the Community (how a theme might be perceived)

– Primary Target (i.e., saved vs. unsaved; urban vs. rural)

– Facilities & Property (the potential to do what is required)

– Budget (cost of workbooks, extra teacher’s manuals, craft kits, decorations, publicity, etc.)

– Number of workers or teachers available to implement it

– Level of skill, knowledge, and time required by leaders, teachers, & workers to successfully implement it in comparison to what our people can offer

How will it interest our people?  Take into consideration the level of appeal not just of the theme but of the materials.

Will people find the theme exciting?

Will people find the music, games, & crafts engaging?

Will leaders & teachers find the material easy to use?

Will the unchurched attendees be able to connect and will the churched be challenged?

How will it provide support for successful implementation of the program?  Putting together an effective Vacation Bible School is a lot of work.  What does the curriculum provide for you?

– publicity materials (Is the logo and other clip art available to you if you cannot afford their printed materials?)

– online forums, blogs, faq sections, etc.

– training tools (What comes with the kit?  What is online?)

– music tracks (Does it provide you with good quality music?)

– decorating ideas (Does it suggest ideas for decorating, some of which will be low cost alternatives if needed?)

– supplemental or alternative ideas (Does it provide possible suggestions for what to do if the ideal doesn’t work in your setting?  Does it give ways to shorten or lengthen the agenda to accommodate your time table?)

You might not find a Vacation Bible School curriculum that aligns perfectly as a good fit for you in all these areas.  Make sure, however, that it at least measures up in the basics and then do your best to make it work in your setting, trusting God to use it to His glory.  Remember, the earlier you choose your curriculum the more time you will have to pray about it and tweak it to make it a better fit.

For VBS Curriculum Currently Available: Vacation Bible School Curriculum & Theme Supplies


When VBS is Over, Then What?


The title of this post is inaccurate.  Vacation Bible School is never over.  Well, perhaps the actual program is, but the “follow-up” that ought to be taking place, keeps it going.   Various kinds of follow-up can be implemented to help make this year’s VBS even more spiritually successful as well as set the stage for the next VBS.   While everything is fresh in people’s mind, it’s time to start planning for the next year.

Follow-Up Ideas for When VBS is Over

The following ideas provide some broad suggestions for what you can do for follow-up. Specifics for implementing these suggestions depends on your setting but in some way could be a part of your plan.

  1. Take Home Follow-up:  This could be information sent home the last day to inform parents of what other opportunities are available for their children and for them as well.  But, even better, is to send something home recapping what was learned and something they can do to enhance its effect (the next steps).
  2. Contact Follow-up:   This is communication in writing or through a personal visit to thank them for coming, to inform them of other church ministries, and to welcome them to come again.
  3. Outreach Follow-up:  This is for those who attended the VBS to have an opportunity to do some sort of service project a short time after VBS to do something with what they learned.
  4. Prayer Follow-up:  This is a time of prayer for those who attended that the Spirit would continue to work in their lives.
  5. Report Follow-up:  This is a report given to the total church body a week or two after VBS to inform them of what God did this year and to invite them to pray about their participation for next year.
  6. Evaluation Follow-up:  This is when leaders, teachers, and all workers come together to discuss and learn for the next year, the good and the bad.  Or, rather than pull the whole team together, people could be surveyed, perhaps even those who attended.
  7. Projecting Forward Follow-up:  This is casting the vision for the next year at the end of this year while the spiritual victories are still fresh.
  8. Reunion Follow-up:  This is a special event a month or two down the road wherein everyone who attended is invited to come back and revisit some of the favorite moments or activities.  If a video or pictures were taken, a media presentation could be part of it.

If your VBS program is long over and you haven’t done any follow-up, you can still implement some of these ideas.