By Brian VanderArk
I saw a strange site yesterday here in Michigan. It was a tulip starting to sprout from the ground (an orange one of course). Around here, that means Summer is closing in. And that means someone is planning a Vacation Bible School! Immediately, I had these visions playing out in my mind:
Volunteers in a room with brainstorming cards or paper lining the walls filled with ideas.
Staff or volunteers are feverishly inviting others to join them in reaching kids.
Other team members are in a parking lot trying out all the cool games.
Large Group leaders are reviewing the bottom lines and practicing their lines.
Musicians are downloading tunes and jamming out at rehearsal.
Kids are opening up invitations and looking forward to a crazy fun and exciting time at VBS!
Hmmm….what’s missing? Who is thinking about parents?
Parents who will be dropping off their kids.
Parents who will volunteer.
Parents who will think it’s Christmas because they have a couple of hours to chill out.
What about all of these parents?
We know that parents have the greatest influence in a kids’ life. And VBS is a great addition to a kid’s life. Here are a few ideas to engage parents during VBS:
- SURPRISE A PARENT by having a gift ready for each parent or family as they register their kids the first day. Tell them that you take their role seriously and that God is FOR them as a parent.
- HAVE PARENTS STICK AROUND the first hour of VBS and introduce the team and kid leaders to them. Do something crazy with them in front of their kids.
- CREATE A PARENT PAGE for each day of VBS that describes what is happening and gives them questions to ask on the ride home or at bedtime.
- INVITE THEM INTO THE FUN of VBS. Never be afraid to ask the adventurous parent to jump into a game that involves goop or water.
- CREATE A VIDEO EACH DAY with all the crazy activities and great photo shots of each kid in action and either put them on a flash drive or create a link they can use to download their kid’s videos.
- ENCOURAGE KIDS TO WRITE A NOTE to their parents about something they learned during VBS. To take it up a notch, ask each Small Group Leader to write a note to each of their parents honoring their work as a parent. Parents love those who love their kids! (BONUS IDEA: Ask parents to write a note to their kid and hide it somewhere for the kids to find during the week. Just remember to supplement with extra notes for kids whose parents are unable to participate).
Here are a few more crazy big ideas of how to add parents into the VBS mix:
- OFFER A PARENT PICNIC the last day of your VBS.
- CREATE A SERVICE OPPORTUNITY FOR FAMILIES to reinforce the community involvement you’ve already started.
- While kids are at VBS, CREATE MINI SEMINARS or TABLE GROUPS around various topics:
- Parent through the ages and stages
- How to have a meaningful dinnertime or bedtime routine
- How to talk to your child about God.
- Resources for your pre-teen
- Setting social media boundaries
- Transitions: Preparing for what’s next (Preschool/Elementary/Middle School)
The possibilities are endless! Time to brainstorm with your team about how you can engage parents during VBS!
Check out the BRAND NEW VBS offering from Orange for 2016 – WALK THIS WAY! Your kids will take a journey with Paul and ask the same questions he asked – making some incredible discoveries along the way!
Brian VanderArk is the Family Care Pastor at Ada Bible Church near Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has developed a comprehensive ministry strategy that coordinates parent resources and family celebrations with weekly resources for children and students. Brian is passionate about helping churches strengthen their strategy to allow families to better follow Jesus. He leads a GREAT team who is energized by Orange thinking. Brian and his wife, Ruby, have a son, Will, who is currently a freshman in college.
Sign up for the FREE monthly VBS Newsletter from Orange: The reSource! You’ll get content like this from leaders like you every month to ensure that you’re ready to host the best VBS ever!