We spend weeks, if not months, pleading with the congregation to volunteer, to donate craft supplies and snacks, and to invite neighbors and friends. We put announcements in the bulletin and newsletter, cajole from the pulpit, and decorate the walls with posters. We perform skits, project videos, and hold pre-event enlistment and registration events. All this - and much more - for the sake of educating the congregation about our upcoming Vacation Bible Schools.
But once VBS is over how well do we tell the story of what happened during week? And why should we put effort into telling the story anyway? Glad you asked.
Telling and retelling your VBS story:
- Gives God the glory and spotlights how He worked during and through the week.
- Invites the entire congregation to celebrate the victories and successes of the week.
- Encourages prayer for those who made decisions and the unchurched families who participated.
- Identifies continued connection possibilities with unchurched families discovered during the week.
- Gives value to the efforts and contribution of every worker including those who played less visible roles.
- Expresses appreciation to workers and to those who may have been unable to participate except through the donation of resources and funds.
- Promotes buy-in for the funds, support, and workers needed for next year.
- Helps the congregation see how VBS fits into the bigger picture of the church's mission and outreach.
Just as we used a variety of methods to promote VBS, we need to use a variety of ways to tell the story. Here are a few examples:
- Encourage the entire congregation to attend and participate in VBS Celebration (Family Night) activities.
- Work with the pastor to conduct a service of thanksgiving a week or two after VBS. Enlist workers, kids, and parents to share what the week meant to them.
- Create picture displays throughout the church building. If pictures are worth 1,000 words then choose pictures that tell the story well. Show as many activities and as many different people as possible. People enjoy seeing the pictures of people they already know, but they need to also see the many new faces of unchurched kids and families who participated in the week.
- Create a video of the week and show it during a worship service. Better yet, instead of one long video, create several short videos and show a different one each Sunday.
- Interview people who made decisions during the week and make their stories part of the VBS story. If appropriate and the individuals give permission, video the interviews and let those who made decisions tell their own stories.
- Ask workers to share their VBS experiences with adult Bible study groups and during services.
- Publish registration, attendance, and decision statistics. If possible compare them to previous years' to help the congregation see how the ministry has grown.
- Share plans for continuing connections with unchurched families and why it is important for the congregation to participate in follow-up activities.
- Ask kids to write stories of their VBS experiences and publish them in the bulletin and newsletters.