Summer is in full swing now, which means many of you have either had your VBS (or whatever you call it) or you're preparing for it.
There's a lot of planning, resources, energy, promotion and prep work to get ready for VBS.
When it's over, you breathe a sigh of relief. You're exhausted, but it's a good exhausted, isn't it? You saw God at work in the lives of kids and parents. Doesn't get any better than that.
But it's not over yet. What you do coming out of VBS can have a big impact on your ministry. Let's look at 7 key steps you can take coming out of VBS that can help the momentum you gained continue for the rest of the year.
1. Debrief - Do you want your VBS to be even better next year? Gather a group of key leaders and do a debrief. Ask questions like this...
What went well?
What needs to be changed or tweaked?
What needs to be stopped?
What's one thing we can change to make it better next year?
What was missing?
What was confusing?
Where did you see God at work?
Write down the answers and use it to improve your VBS next year. Another way to get feedback is to send out an online survey to volunteers and parents. You can send free surveys at www.surveymonkey.com.
It's also a good idea to get the kids' feedback on VBS. You can gather a group of kids and ask them questions like this...
What was fun?
What was boring?
What would you add to make it even better next year?
Can you tell me what you learned from the lessons?
Gather all the feedback you can. Receive it as a gift that can help your VBS be even better.
2. Follow up with guests. You probably had guests that came to your VBS. It's important to follow up with them, if the goal is to get them connected to your church. There's lots of ways to contact them. A phone call. Text message. Letter. Email. Postcard. Whatever strategy you use, here are a few tips to help.
Follow-up should be done through the child's parents. Think about how you would respond if a stranger called, wanting to speak with your child. Avoid this awkward situation. Also, focus on the unchurched families who came.
Have something special for VBS guests when they come to your weekend services. Some ideas are...
gift for each child / family
reception after the service for VBS guests
start a new teaching series that will be relevant to unchurched people
3. Follow up with those who made a decision for Christ. If you shared the Gospel during the large group time, then it's crucial to follow up with the family. I highly recommend that you offer a class for those who indicated they wanted to follow Jesus and enter a relationship with Him.
4. Clean up. Services are still happening on the weekend. The rest of the church will appreciate it if you clean up. If you're not going to use it again, then get rid of it. We don't want to have to come to your church to film an episode of Hoarders.
One way to clean up while at the same time being a blessing to other churches, is to donate your leftover resources, stage decorations, game items, etc. to these churches.
Enlist people to help with clean up ahead of time. If you don't, you may be cleaning up by yourself.
5. Thank those who volunteered. Make sure you show your appreciation for the people who volunteered. A handwritten note that is personalized is gold. You can also include a small gift. Perhaps have a cookout the next week for them. However you do it, say "thank you."
Another great thing to do is share a report with them about what God did during VBS. Decisions that were made. New kids that came. New parents that came. Offering for missions total.
All of these can be used to show volunteers how God used their serving and giving. This is the "why" of their service. This is their "pay" for serving. Make sure you pay them.
6. invite new volunteers to join your team on a regular basis. You probably have some volunteers who served for the first time during VBS. After VBS ends, call them and invite them to join the team on a regular basis. I've had as many as 85% of volunteers who served for the first time at VBS, to join the team and start serving during weekend services.
Of course, if you want to hear a "yes" then you've got to give them a great "first-time serving" experience. Place them with your best volunteers. Don't shove them in a room with 30 preschoolers and a teenager and expect them to have a good first experience.
7. Stop to celebrate what God did. It's easy to move quickly on to your next event or program. But it's also important to slow down and celebrate what God did. Share the stories of life change. Share about the kids who made a decision for Christ. Share about how many first-time guests came. Share about families that came on Sunday because of VBS.
The angels in heaven are celebrating. Why not celebrate here on earth?
Your turn. What are some other things you do coming out of VBS? Share your thoughts and insight in the comment section below.