A VBS Gift

When planning your Vacation Bible School, be sure to map out what the weeks following the big event can look like, too. This part of the VBS puzzle is easy to leave off the priorities list, but it holds so much potential, when planned intentionally.

Like a speeding train you couldn’t stop if you wanted to, it’s almost here! The moment many churches wait for all year: Vacation Bible School! Funny title, right? There’s nothing “vacation” about it, at least not for all the dedicated leaders who pull it off every year. There’s “tired” and then there’s “VBS tired.” But every moment is SO worth it. When the sounds of children echo the halls in real time, there’s no more joyful noise. Between the children we see every week and those we see only once a year, whenever God’s name (Love) is demonstrated – it’s worth every single body ache and ounce of fatigue.

From my years of consulting with churches, I’ve found there’s not much to improve upon during the actual week itself. You’ve got this! But where I’ve seen many churches miss the mark is in the follow-up after the big week is over. We FINALLY get guests and infrequent attenders through our doors…and then drop them like a hot potato till the next summer. Not good; they need your church and more of that VBS love!

So, I’ve created a quick game plan you can use for maximizing the outreach long after the markers have been capped and the glue has dried. Enjoy!

VBS Follow-up Game Plan

Training Community
  • Train everyone on the VBS team about the follow-up process and why it’s important.
  • Make sure all VBS Leaders are prepared to provide a welcoming climate for guests and are especially on the lookout for those new-to-your-church parents.
Data Collection
  • Get their data! Information is the golden ticket to follow-up.
  • Ensure that online and paper registration forms have some way to indicate to you and your team when a family is a “guest family.”
  • Give the key VBS leaders the follow-up info for families so they can send cards, texts, emails, post on social media, etc. You’re not in this connection work alone.
Intentional Connection
  • Within three days after VBS, send a letter to all guest families, mailing it before a week has passed. Personal connection goes a long way in someone’s potential return.
  • Work with the data management person at your church to ensure that guest contact info is put into the larger church system, too. Community connection goes a long way in someone’s potential return.
Before Fall
  • Plan a fun “VBS Reunion” event where all the kids can return for a fun, energetic 2-hour program.
    • You can invite families to this on the last day of VBS, as well as make it a part of the “guest family” mailing.
    • In this way, adults can plan ahead and kids are able to attend.
    • This event can include a video/slide show recap from VBS (kids love seeing their faces and remembering the fun), a look at the fall CM ministry (what a great way to preview and invite!), a craft to take home (and remember their connection), and, of course, game time, snacks, and the songs they loved from VBS.
Throughout the School Year
  • Make VBS guest info available for all Sunday school teachers, children’s ministry volunteers, and other weekly school year CM program leaders so they can extend impromptu invitations to new families, too.
  • Be sure to invite your VBS guests to special annual events like Back-to-School bashes, Trunk-or-Treat, Christmas and Easter parties, and, in the new year, the next VBS, of course!

I can’t wait to hear how you use these ideas in your unique setting.
And if a thought partner would be helpful along the way, I’m just a click away.

Ministry Architects Consultant Stephanie Caro

Stephanie Caro


Stephanie Caro has been involved in ministry to children, youth, and adults in the local church (both large and small) since…a long time ago. Her humorous, straightforward style keeps her busy presenting and coaching at conferences, training events, camps, mission trips, retreats, churches, etc. She is a Veteran Lead Consultant (since 2008!) and Small Church Specialist, drawing on her years of experience to help churches assess, vision, and formulate their ministry game plans. All her books, blogs, articles, videos, and other printed/digital resources support small church leaders and ministries. She, her hubby (Steve), and their two dogs live in Katy, TX.

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