The Secret To A Great VBS

by Holly Crawshaw

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” – Stephen Covey

Does your countdown to VBS have you jumping for joy? Does it have you grinning from ear to ear? Or does it have you checking under your arms for sweat stains? Does it have you giggling nervously when someone asks you how planning is coming along?

If you’re like most ministry leaders, your answer may change depending on the day, or even the hour. That’s okay. Putting on an effective and engaging VBS is challenging—regardless of how many planning guides, tools, or kits you’ve purchased.

Take a breath.

Remember what your goal for the week is: connections.

Between you and your leaders.
Between kids and their friends
And most importantly, between leaders and their kids.

Focus your energy and time on creating the best opportunities for small groups to connect. Brainstorm ways that they will create memories and moments that will make a lasting impression. These moments create trust. They create influence.

Here are a few ideas that will help your kids connect with their small group leaders:

 CREATE SPACE FOR SMALL GROUP TIMES.

Literally. Space . . . on the floor. Tables are great, but there is something about sitting on the floor without a table between leaders and kids that automatically starts breaking down barriers.

 EMBARRASS YOUR LEADERS.

Again, this is quite literal, but be sure not to humiliate them. Anything that gets them on the stage getting super messy will have the kids in their small group cheering them on like they’re going after a gold medal.

 ENCOURAGE LEADERS TO GET IN THE MIDDLE OF IT ALL.

During your large group times, are your leaders in the middle of the mosh pit with their kids? Or are they standing along the back wall? Get them in the middle of all the action to worship and learn with their kids.

 HELP LEADERS AFTER HOURS.

After VBS is over and done for the week, make it easy for small group leaders to keep the communication going. Provide them with pre-stamped thank-you notes or postcards to drop in the mail to each kiddo. Give them a list of phone numbers so they can call and say “Hi” from time to time. (PS: A phone call is a great way for leaders to introduce themselves to mom and dad too!) Anything they can do to create an easy opportunity to reach out to their kids is all it takes!

Check out the 2015 VBS product from Orange, MOVE!, for great ideas to make all of these connection points happen! It’s filled with messy games, small group discussions, and tons of ideas to support the invaluable role of the small group leader!

Holly’s passion for ministry began while attending college when she helped found a ministry for middle and high school students. After graduation, Holly worked as a high school English teacher for a period of time before joining the staff of North Point Ministries to work with middle school students. Another transition moved her into the role of Director of Waumba Land (preschool) at Browns Bridge Community Church. Currently, Holly is the editor of the VBS products at The reThink Group. Holly lives in Cumming, Georgia, with her husband, Ben, and their daughters, Lilah and Esmae.

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