Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Vacation Bible School - Tips for Inviting Children and to Keep Them Coming Back! (re-post)

Hello! We are back again this week to discuss more about planning a fun and successful Vacation Bible School. By the way, what makes a VBS program successful? In my opinion, you can count it successful if you are able to make contact with new children that have never attended your Sunday school class and if you have met a few parents as well! After all, that is the goal - to meet new children and parents, praying that they might begin attending services and come to Christ! A more open and relaxed atmosphere like a week of VBS provides a wonderful opportunity for the community to see what you are all about and how you work with their children. If you are new on a field, a VBS program can be a great way "ice breaker" to give both the children and parents a better idea of what you are about. 

One important rule to guide you throughout the program - 
What if a stranger came knocking on YOUR door to invite YOUR child to attend a daily Bible school? 
Think about it!
What would you like to see in that person or in the way he invited your children? 
What are some things that might cause you not allow your children to attend?

Thinking about the situation from the parent's perspective helps us better understand any hesitation we might receive from parents or children. It also helps us think more seriously about how we will go about inviting children to attend.

I believe the best way to invite children and actually have some attend is to walk around the village/city and hand out flyers, hang up posters, and do your best to meet the parents. We even gave out candy or balloons with the invites as well just for effect. The kids become much more interested when they see a big bunch of balloons walking around!

Our daughter (2007) ready to walk through the village
and hand out invites to our first VBS!

When you are walking around and not in a car, you are less intimidating and more approachable for anyone to come up to you and take an invitation or inquire about the VBS program. Obviously, you may need to drive to an area due to the distance away from your church or area where the VBS will be held, but then get out and walk around a bit so you can personally hand out invitations to children and parents.

Another great encouragement to help the kids get excited about coming out as well as bringing new visitors during the week is a point system. We have used a point system every year, and it is a great motivator. Here is the general breakdown we use...

Memorizing Daily Memory Verse
Bringing Worksheets back each day
Bringing a First-time Visitor

VBS 2007

The point values can be determined based upon your needs/plans. One determining factor for us is that we have a "store" at the end of the week where the children can spend their points to purchase toys and small items. Usually, on Thursday evening, my husband and I pull out all of the items so that we can give them "prices" based on the number of points the children have earned during the week. We do this in order to be sure that every child can take something home, even if he was only able to attend one day during the week. 

Preparing the store - VBS 2012

VBS 2009 Store

Another idea that we tried this past year with our Olympic theme was to award the first, second, and third place winners for most verses memorized and most visitors brought. These children were rewarded with gold, silver, and bronze medals. This was a great idea to me, and I think we will implement it into future VBS programs even though we will use other themes besides the Olympic theme.

Scripture Memorization winners (2012).
They were wet from playing water games!

I will leave you with one more piece of advice in using a point system. You must have a very organized method to keep track of each child's daily points.
This gives us great material for next week's VBS post! 
See you then!

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