1. Replace a current church-wide themed activity with a VBS theme related activity.
2. We printed a theme-related item with our church and VBS date and distributed them as invitations.
3. Place boomerangs in “Happy Meal” boxes or Chick-Fil-A kid’s meals with date, time and address of church
4. Hand out boomerang invitations to the moms in the school pick-up lines.
5. Mail flyers and registration forms to all the kids involved in our Upward Bound basketball program.
6. Have the youth canvas near neighborhoods and go door to door to invite kids to VBS.
7. Host a BBQ cook-off as a block party with inflatables.
8. Give schools flyers and door knockers to send home.
9. Offer classes for parents/adults such as, parenting, finance, single adults, deaf, senior adults, etc.
10. Let kids promote VBS by wearing their t-shirts to school, in local parades, etc.
11. Sponsor a “Gas Buy Down” – work with a local gas station to have them lower coast of gas for so many cents per gallon for a limited time. Church covers the cost of the gas.
12. Post yard signs in member’s yards.
13. Set up and register children a local afterschool programs, such as Boys and Girls Clubs. (Parents must register children to obtain proper information on the family for prospects for our church.)
14. Advertise VBS to schools on flyers, in newspapers, and on local radio stations.
15. Host a neighborhood blitz. Use a boxing kangaroo on Main Street.
16. Put on ad in local newspaper two weeks prior to your VBS.
17. Canvas the neighborhood with door hangers, prayer walks and visits.
18. Appoint someone to drive (a church vehicle) into designated neighborhoods to pick-up kids for VBS and then return back home.
19. Go to a local park where kids have baseball/softball, t-ball. Play a game to draw a crowd, then promote VBS.
20. Utilize your bus/van ministry to promote VBS.
21. Give invitations to kids to hand out at school.
22. Make family photos in front of your backdrop the first night.
23. Target and promote to Spanish speaking only and provide classes for them.
24. Create a promotional piece that has the VBS information and ask members to take them out to distribute within their neighborhoods. Provide enough for at least one promotional piece per family in the church.
25. Handout coloring contest papers in a parade to be entered in a contest. Coloring pages need to be turned in the first day of VBS.
26. Provide give-a-ways that are drawn randomly but ticket put in the drawing based on attendance and number of guests.
27. If you feed them, they will come. We serve lunch.
28. We set up a “coffee tent” to give away coffee to parents when they bring their children and invite them to stay for a short Bible study.
29. Participate in the carnival. It’s a community tradition.
30. Become a part of the city’s parade event. We made a VBS float.
31. Take flyers to a local baseball field during games in the weeks before VBS and personally hand out.
32. Host a community-wide (free) event as a kick-off or opener of VBS.
33. Promote during Sunday morning graduation.
34. Make placemats with the date, location, etc. and put on tables of local diners and restaurants. Also place flyers in takeout sacks. Works well if you have a restaurant owner in your congregation.
35. Do a blanket mail out. All addresses can be received the post office for free. Or use LifeWay’s Prospect Service to be more targeted with your mailing.
36. Local theater does free movies in summer. Hand out VBS information and a trinket as people exit.
37. We get donations from community businesses/restaurants for give-a-ways at Teacher Appreciation banquet. After a couple of year, teachers will come to banquet because they know they might win a prize. This is when we give out schedules, handbooks, and other important information.
38. Host a VBS Carnival with pre-registration, bounce houses, slides, sno-cones, popcorn, etc. on Saturday before VBS.
39. Use non-members as “apprentice teachers”.
40. Host a block party with prayer tents, popcorn machines, clothing drives, VBS registrations.
41. Host a community Night by inviting non-members to cookout/family fun night to advertise VBS.
42. Our adults and children have a VBS visitation every year to promote in our local communities.
43. Host a VBS parade through the neighborhood throwing out candy and flyers about VBS.
44. We us a local elementary school’s database of addresses to mail invitations.
45. At our last Upward Basketball game, we dress in VBS themed attire and do a devotion using VBS materials and invite basketball families to attend.
46. We give our church logo balloons with VBS registration cards at the local festival/parade that is closest to VBS date.
47. Host an outreach at a local park with free food and games for children.
48. Invite area daycare centers.
49. Advertise on “community announcement” on local radio stations.
50. Kids who bring friends and neighbors get a certificate for a free Dairy Queen for themselves and their friend.
51. Commencement Sunday morning, we host a lunch with family activities during the afternoon. It’s become a huge community event where we can promote VBS.
52. Have a banner professionally lettered, put on a frame on a pick-up truck and park it at a local Wal-Mart, Target, entrance to a school, ball field, etc.
53. Stuff paper boxes with VBS flyers. Do not stuff mailboxes….it’s illegal.
54. To reach local schools within the church area, give out promotional items at the end of the day or end of the year.
55. Give VBS rewards (souvenirs) to GA’s, RA’s, and Sunday School members when they bring an outside friend to VBS.
56. Place yard signs (25 on “H” stakes) in a 1-mile radius of the church property.
57. Host a family night block party on Wednesday night instead of Friday.
58. Invite people who come to our food ministry to come to VBS.
59. Encourage preschool parents to stay with child during VBS.
60. Make refrigerator magnets with date of VBS to hand out at Christmas parade or other events earlier in the year.
61. Have a VBS registration table set-up on special days when more un-churched attend such as, Easter, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
62. Ask non-church members to help with photography, videotaping, clerical, or registration. Remember, many thank you’s are appreciated and remembered. Acknowledge during service, if possible.
63. Offer a pet care in church parking lot. Hand-out goody bags promoting VBS and other community events and businesses.
64. Invite church members to involve their un-churched friends to help where they are helping.
65. Post billboards in conjunction with other churches doing the same theme on different dates. Promote the theme and list all the dates and times along major highways in town.
66. We have a visitation day the weekend before VBS and go out into the community knocking on doors and inviting people to VBS.
67. Each night the child attended VBS, brought a Bible and brought a friend, their name was put into a drawing for a free Wii.
68. Family Night is actually Sunday morning and kids go to Sunday School and parents come to brunch to get an overview and slide show then all go to a special church service where kids perform and share what they learned.
69. Each week leading up to VBS we gave out theme related treats to our Sunday School children. Each child received two treats – one to keep and one to give to a friend. This built the excitement and gave our children a concrete way to invite others.
70. Have a really big, fun free kick-off. We always rent the town pool and have a huge pool party and cook out. This will bring out non-members. Advertise heavily and then sign-up VBS at the event.
71. Choose a non-member parent to pick the winning room decorations contest. It gets them involved and I get to know them personally.
72. We take a traveling puppet show and picnic to various government and low rent housing projects to pre-register. All who then come on day one are in a prize drawing.
Add your tips and tricks below in the comments!