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.