March 28, 2021
Updated December 13, 2023
What are you planning for VBS this summer? What curriculum/resources are you using?
Any and all ideas welcome! Thank you!
The initial question shouldn't focus on VBS content but on the size of the group. Since the transition to Zoom for most churches, there is no longer the assumption that VBS needs to be confined to the church building's neighborhood. VBS has suddenly gone global; at least, it should.
There is no reason why any church can't expand its online VBS presence to children across the country or around the world. And if a local church is blessed with members who speak a language other than English, the natural audience could cover Mexico, France, much of Africa and Asia.
In fact, VBS shouldn't be confined to "Vacation" Bible School but should be rebranded as global children's ministry. Thanks to Zoom, the world has become our audience; limited only by our imagination and human resources.
All I'm asking for is some ideas of how churches are running their VBS programs this summer. I have no desire in debating what VBS is or isn't.
Your answer has only confused me as to what you think VBS is. First you say it shouldn't be about content and group size, then say we should open it up to worldwide. If we do a virtual VBS the content can be easily posted on YouTube for anyone to access...but that depends on how you do your virtual lesson...with vulnerable ppl included. For safety reasons if a church is including children in their content, then some may not want to have that put on the web for all to see.
I also am not as skilled or trained in putting the VBS week together as some places such as group are, so if group wants to create content that can be used worldwide, I will let them. But as a church with limited resources and volunteers, we are happy to reach out to our own community for now
This is such a good question Melanie! Last year my son participated in a virtual VBS (I wish I could remember the name of the curriculum) and here are some things that seemed to help with engagement:
- following up screen time with activities (i.e. they had little challenges, games, coloring activities)
- a VBS participant Facebook group where we could share pictures (my son loved seeing pictures of the other kids doing things)
- keeping the theme simple and repetitive (i.e. only one Bible verse to remember)
I'll keep brainstorming!
Hello Melanie! We commend your desire to engage with your community this summer, despite the ongoing pandemic. We saw some great help on this website: https://www.genonministries.org/collections/summer-resources-for-intergenerational-ministry.
As much as possible it would be wonderful to offer in-person VBS. This may require smaller groups meeting in various locations across your city, also known as Backyard VBS! How wonderful it would be to have your members get to know their actual neighbours while offering this time together, safely of course. This article is great and again, you could adapt it to your context!
Some churches have opted to create a VBS-in-a-box type ministry, which would put more onus on parents to do the activities with their child; not a bad thing either! Another one did a one-night event "Under the Stars". Again, you'd have to adapt for your location, budget, amount of volunteers, but including your entire congregation in reaching out to their neighbours is a win-win!
If you ever have any other questions about community engagement, or would like more help, you can reach me at [email protected]. Blessings as you plan!
(We don't know if you are in Canada or in the US or what region but we know you'll adapt your VBS to local health guidelines, rules and restrictions.)
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