The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an earthquake for the church–unlike anything we’ve seen. And it’s happening right in the middle of planning time for VBS! So, how will you respond? What is God’s desire for your ministry during this unprecedented time?

Don’t be paralyzed. Use this time to take a breath. Relax. Grab a favorite beverage. And look forward. God is with you. As so are we, here at Group.

One thing you can count on is Group will be there to help, whatever the situation. So, let’s start planning, full steam ahead!

PURSUE YOUR MOST POWERFUL MINISTRY OPPORTUNITY

VBS has always been a powerful outreach tool into the community, and into the hearts and souls of children. This year, it’s true more than ever. After your church has been forced to close its doors, VBS can be the most effective reach into your community. And, in this time of uncertainty, anxiety and stress, kids and their parents need the life-giving ministry of VBS. Not to mention the welcome relief that VBS will offer to parents who have been cooped up with their kids for weeks and weeks.

This is the most significant year for VBS in your church’s history. Grab the opportunity. God is with you.

PRAY

Talk to God. Encourage your entire team to pray. Make a prayer calendar and (virtually) gather the team. Give them specific things to pray for. Pray together. Have your kids pray for VBS. It’s one effort that can involve everyone.

BE READY TO ADAPT

No one knows what the summer months will look like. But with some planning and creativity, you can make VBS happen, no matter what.

  • If your VBS dates are early in the summer, plan alternate dates later in the summer, in case Coronavirus concerns need more time to clear.
  • If you normally run a big VBS program, consider planning multiple sessions. If gatherings are restricted on size this summer, split your VBS into multiple, smaller sessions. And other locations, such as backyards. VBS PRO provides multi-session support to make registration and admin easier too.
  • For alternate scheduling, consider conducting VBS over a weekend, or evenings, or once a week over several weeks.
  • Prepare for a VBS-at-home option. Many churches are already conducting Sunday school online for their children. So, if your area is still in a stay-at-home status in the summer, you can make VBS happen in every child’s home. You can supply a packet containing everything each child needs, and provide an online experience that children follow each day. If this option is necessary this summer, Group will provide everything you need, including permissions, to make this transition to the web.
  • Who said VBS must happen in the summer? Consider offering VBS later–as a back-to-school kick-off, or during fall break, or a fall weekend, or in the evenings, or Thanksgiving or Christmas break.

While many people are currently drowning in hopelessness, you can be a make-it-happen follower of the “all things are possible” Christ Jesus.

AFFORD IT

The current stay-at-home situation has led some churches to limit ministry spending. This needn’t limit your VBS, however. Consider:

  • Remind your church leaders of the prime importance of VBS. It is the most powerful ministry event to attract and keep families involved in your church. Leaders know the financial importance of families with children. In addition to the spiritual investment, your church’s VBS provides a practical investment in your church’s future.
  • Invite a few major donors to step forward and provide a special gift to make VBS happen in this critical year. Every congregation has people who are ready to respond to a compelling need. Approach them individually. Explain the need. Share your dream of how children will be transformed by God’s love.
  • If you have not before asked families for an admission fee for VBS, this may be the year to consider it. Many families spend hundreds of dollars for summer camps. They understand the value of quality experiences for their children. Your VBS is a top-quality spiritual experience. And, of course, you may offer scholarships to those families unable to pay.
  • Remember, if you don’t use some of your Group VBS supplies, you may return them to group for a refund. No risk. We’ll work with you according to your needs and timing.
  • Some have asked if Group’s Rocky Railway VBS will be available in 2021 as well. We are working to make that happen, as long as supplies last.

PREPARE YOUR TEAM

VBS may look different this year. But God has big things in store for you and your kids. So, continue to prepare, train, and encourage your workers. Communicate often. Use simple web tools such as Zoom, available free online, to gather your team virtually to get ready for a great VBS.

And watch for announcements from Group for the VBS FunShop training—coming to you and your volunteers, online and available when you’re available. And the online FunShops are free!

WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER

If you’re doing your part to practice social distancing, if you’re confined to your home or office, use this valuable time. Keep planning for your life-transforming VBS ministry. The families in your church are counting on you.

Your friends at Group are with you. We’re watching the changes swirling around us, and preparing contingency plans to make sure your Group VBS is the best ever. We’re with you.

And, most importantly, God is with you. All the way.