Top 10 Tips For Writing Your Church’s VBS

Friday, June 07, 2024

The KidzMatter Blog/Top 10 Tips For Writing Your Church’s VBS

#1. Work with a Team
As someone who worked with a team to write Vacation Bible School programs for a major curriculum publisher, I strongly recommend assembling a team before you do anything else. Your ideas will be stronger, your work load lighter, your meetings more fun, and you’ve got a built-in team of volunteers to work VBS—who already know the material!

In fact, build a team of leaders who assemble their own teams. The game leader you recruit can in turn recruit others to help them write the games that will be played. The music leader can recruit other musicians they’ve worked with to help them choose, rehearse the songs, and choreograph fun moves for the kids.

As multi-faceted and talented as all children’s ministry leaders are, building on the strengths of others is always a great place to start.

#2. Start with the Bible Content
Work with one or two key VBS team members to decide on the Bible content. You want to have a Bible theme for the week: The Lord’s Prayer; Creation; Psalm 23; Stories of Moses, Paul, Peter, David, etc.

And since VBS is the number one outreach for most churches, make sure you include the Gospel. Don’t let VBS week go by without taking the opportunity to ask kids to make the decision to follow Jesus.

#3. Choose a Fun Theme
There are a number of ways to choose a fun, party theme for your VBS. The Bible content you’ve chosen might suggest a theme. Psalm 23 and the shepherd theme would work well with a farm theme. Stories about Paul might lead you to a shipwreck theme. Whatever fun theme you choose, it’s best to find some connection to the Bible content.

Other ideas to consider when it comes to choosing a fun theme:
- Research what popular movies will be out at the time of your VBS.
- Consider where you are—Near the beach? Maybe a surfing theme. Live in the woods? Camping!
- One of my favorites is to go to a party-supply store. Look at the themes for children’s birthday parties. They are usually right on with the trends that are popular with kids.

Look at the themes the curriculum companies have done in recent years.

But don’t look at the themes that the curriculum companies are doing the same year! Churches that use published curriculums are limited to the themes available. By writing your own, you have the opportunity to be unique! Capitalize on that.

Also, by writing your own curriculum you can do themes that publishers can’t. By that I mean themes that might be controversial for some churches (pirates, dinosaurs, Bigfoot, etc.) but would be acceptable to your congregation. Or trademarked themes that would involve licensing issues for publishers (Marvel, Disney, Sesame Street, etc.)

Finally, consider themes that would be hometown favorites: A local sports team, popular landmark, or community favorite activity.

#4. Talk with Church Leadership
Before you invest a huge amount of time and energy creating an entire VBS curriculum, be sure to run your plans by your church leadership. Perhaps that’s just the Lead Pastor. But maybe you need to get an OK from the Christian Education Board or the Board of Elders. Be sure to take these steps early in the process.

Also consider enlisting help from ministry leaders with recruiting for VBS. Though your worship pastor may not be able to commit the worship band to lead worship every day at VBS, they may be able to recommend a musician who can lead your music team. The director of the church kitchen might be willing to head up snacks for you—or have a member of their team who could. Don’t be shy about asking for recruiting suggestions from the leaders of different ministry teams at your church.

#5. Make a Calendar—with Due Dates
Of course, as a publisher, I’m into deadlines. But there’s no better way to get things done! And truthfully, it’s a courtesy to your team to let them know what you expect and when you expect it by.

Consider monthly team meetings for the leaders of your different teams. Have objectives set tasks to be completed before the next meeting. Be sure to start these at least six months prior to VBS.

#6. Use Pinterest Boards
Not only is Pinterest a marvelous, easily searched wealth of ideas, but you can create group boards for everyone on your VBS team to use. Create folders within your VBS board to categorize types of ideas:
- Bible stories
- Theme ideas
- Music
- Games
- Crafts
-  Snacks
- Decorating
- Etc.

By letting everyone involved with VBS have access to the different folders, someone from your music team could still pin a great game idea they might stumble across.

#7. Tie It Together
Make sure that everything you do ties back to that all-important Bible information. Make sure the instructions for each activity includes guided conversation and discussion questions for activity leaders and volunteers to use with kids.

Whenever possible, work in opportunities to review the memory verse or sing your VBS songs. These could be done while kids are working on crafts, enjoying snacks, or waiting for an assembly to begin.

#8. Review & Revise
Once you or your team of writers have written the curriculum, share it with each other for comments and corrections. Speaking from personal experience, even editors need editors! The more eyes you have on what has been written, the better it will be.

Also, have one person (maybe you, maybe not—it depends on what your strengths are), take one final pass through all the material for consistency, tone, and correctness.

#9. Pray
Pray. At every stage of the game, pray. From steps one through ten, pray. At every meeting, pray.

And encourage your VBS team, church leadership, and the congregation to pray.

#10. Have Fun!
​Planning, writing, editing, organizing . . . It’s all part of VBS and VBS is fun! So have fun and enjoy the process.

Karen McGraw is the managing editor of RoseKidz, the children’s arm of Hendrickson Publishing Group; and the former managing editor of Gospel Light’s Vacation Bible School.

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