There are tens, hundreds, or even thousands of kids in your local community who will be out of school for the summer. Their parents will be looking for somewhere to send them, and your church could be the perfect safe haven for them while their parents work IF your vacation bible school ideas can be congruent with the goals of the local parents.
Where Vacation Bible School Coordinators Go Wrong…
Often times, when we think vacation bible school, we’re thinking crafts, fun, kids, and so on, but if you want to help your ministry obtain necessary funding and outreach goals, you have to think about how the vacation Bible school can be impactful to your community.
It’s just like the entrepreneur who goes on Shark Tank. They’ve created this concoction that they’re pitching as the solution for everyone in the world, but the problem is …..they’ve created something cute that no one wants.
If you want your vacation bible school to be a success (potentially even more than any one you’ve had before), you want to begin with …
1. Market Research
What are the parents in your community like? What are the kids in your community like? What are their struggles? What are the parents struggles with their kids? What are the kids’ biggest struggles? What would they like to see developed in their children?
I’ve personally sent my son for several Church programs that were designed simply to be “cute” or “traditional” rather than to be a solution to obstacles I may have as a parent, or obstacles he may have as a growing child. You’d be surprised the things kids can articulate that they experience, and some things they won’t be able to verbalize, but when you create a good program, it can help solve problems that may have circulating inside.
Kids experience things like:
- and so many other things…
You have the opportunity to sow seeds that can help to solve issues they may be experiencing!
Once you’ve done some market research, you’ll gain a better understanding of your community. You can do surveys, you can look at community centers or ask around, you can network in public places (grocery stores, libraries, and so on) to get a gauge of your community, the pain points, and the biggest parenting concerns near you.
You also want to find what parents are searching for in your area and why. They may be enrolling their kids in dance, karate, or other programs with an aim in mind you may be able to solve. For example, maybe they are signing their kids up for karate because they didn’t realize the superior service the church would be offering to teach physical fitness and self-discipline thru the vacation bible school program. Consider the solutions that are out there already.
After you’ve gotten together a list, you may have things like:
- Fitness and staying active
- and so on…
2. Create Your Vacation Bible School as a Solution
After you have a list of the biggest pain points your parents and children have in the community, you can create your vacation bible school as a solution to their pain points, and it would be much more likely to draw members, but also to be a tool of outreach.
Contingent on the problems in your community, you can get ideas on how to help solve the problems from local community centers and the programs they may have, local churches, local schools, and you can identify gaps that may lead to other programs not effectively solving the problem. You may also find the problems in your community requiire repetition to solve them.
3. Choosing a Vacation Bible School Curriculum
When you choose a vacation bible school curriculum, you want to ensure it addresses the subjective needs of your community. There are “general” things you can teach, but the greatest power of the Gospel is applied. When children and parents can learn how to use the Bible as medicine for their issues and concerns, it becomes a more personal experience.
You want your vacation bible school to be an opportunity to show those who sign up what it’s like to apply the Bible to their lives rather than simply repeating stories or making the Bible sound like a “fairytale”. Many kids only have a relationship with the Bible as if it’s a fairytale, rather than seeing it as historical, accurate, and a solution to the problems they face daily.
Choose a vacation bible school curriculum that helps them apply God’s word to their subjective situations.
If you enjoyed this article, and you want more tips on vacation bible school, consider checking on Pinterest! There are some great ideas there for activities, crafts, and administration of vacation bible school.
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Now, it’s Your Turn…
Have you coordinated a vacation bible school before. Do you have other tips a VBS administrator should know before choosing a curriculum? Leave your comments, questions, or feedback below.