It’s only two weeks away. I have a love/hate relationship with Vacation Bible School. I love that you get children and families into Church that otherwise wouldn’t attend. I hate the prep, the stress, the always-never-enough volunteers, and the hectic week that VBS is. Don’t get me wrong all of the headaches that come with VBS are worth it.
Recently, We got brand new padded chairs for our fellowship hall. We had the metal folding chairs; about three different colors, uncomfortable, and half broken. A member of our church decided that enough was enough and bought nice new stackable black padded chairs. It was a welcome improvement.
Knowing our VBS theme would be “Colossal Coaster World” I saved the boxes. I could see that they would make great looking roller-coaster cars with some paint and imagination. Yesterday (Wednesday) we had a small group of only five youth, it’s summer and as a whole we’ve been hurting in the numbers department since graduation. I decided that after our lesson we would make a quick trip to the store and get some spray paint and have the youth decorate the boxes to look like coaster cars. They loved it, and it was an easy way to get them involved in something outside of the youth program.
Vacation Bible School. The event almost every single church (in Texas at least) has every summer. Vacation Bible School (VBS) is for children in 6th grade and under. It is a week long 2-3hr a day outreach for children in the community where we teach them about the love of Jesus. This is usually done based on a them. This year my churches theme was Lifeway’s Jungle Jaunt. Many different Christian publishers put out VBS material to use. This is important in a town with 3 Baptist Churches because we all do VBS and many children attend more than one. We also try to make sure we don’t overlap dates.
This year we broke our attendance records with 58 children (give or take) each day. This is a big deal for a church that normally runs 10 kids or less on Sunday Mornings. Needless to say we were a little overwhelmed, we were planning for about 30 which is our average. I must brag on my youth, they have been phenomenal this week. They are on time, do their job assignments well, and are loving on these little kids. They are also sacrificing their first week of summer by waking up and coming up to church at 8:30, some even walking to church.
Like everything in life, it’s always a learning experience so I’m going to share some frustrations and lessons learned with my plethora (sarcasm) of readers. To be honest things are going better than I thought. The weeks leading up to VBS had my wife and I in a panic. It didn’t seem like we were going to have enough teachers, I made a big miscommunication on the way we were breaking up the classes and we just went with it rather than trying to fix it. We had teachers quit, not show up to the training meetings, and we honestly don’t have all the material we need, due to an itty-bitty budget. My wife and I took the lead for organizing and planning VBS because we believe VBS is an amazing outreach opportunity to families in the community and I didn’t see anyone else taking the lead. It would be better not to do VBS at all than do it poorly. Most VBS curriculum, planning seminars, etc say you should plan VBS six months in advance. We didn’t even start unless after our DNOW in March. The church we came from normally has everything planned for next year planned by the start of the school year.
First thing for next year. Plan ahead. I’m going to get together all the money we spent, all the materials we used to decorate, and all the things we should have had but didn’t like name tags. This way next year I can have a legitimate budget. I’ll know what supplies we will need to have on hand. Little things like having lamination film, butcher paper for decorating. Also nail down the order of service in advance and make sure that the pastor knows about it, or he will disrupt the closing rally every day! I was unaware of little sacred VBS cows that were apparently part of VBS that I was unaware of. Things were a treasure chest for those who brought friends on the 2nd and third day, prizes for those who came everyday, and a random group picture that was announced as we were trying to conclude on Friday. None of that was bad, I would have just liked to have known and planned it within the schedule, we’ve only got 2-3hrs with these kids.
Overall this was a stressful VBS, but it was completely worth it.