Although about 25% of all Southern Baptist baptisms each year can be attributed to Vacation Bible School, Indiana’s percentage has been declining. VBS is not just an event on the church calendar, but an opportunity for authentic evangelism. As part of the church’s overall evangelistic strategy, the pastor needs to be involved so the church can catch the vision for what God can do through VBS to reach children, youth and adults with the Good News of Jesus!

Here are some ideas to organize for a successful evangelistic VBS.

1 – Enlist a Prayer Team

All authentic evangelism begins and ends with prayer. Enlisting those who will consistently pray is the first step. The team will pray for the teachers, workers, students and all who are involved by name. Pray! Pray! Pray!

2 – Recruit VBS Workers

There are many reasons people hesitate to volunteer - insecurity about working with children, time constraints and more. Many may not realize the great potential for evangelism during and following the week of VBS. Here are some ideas to help begin the recruiting process:

  • Promote VBS to reach the lost.
    Most important is getting your church excited about what God can do through a church committed to having an authentic evangelistic VBS.
  • Have a VBS Sunday in March.
    Example: On a Sunday in March, an Indiana pastor preached on the importance of reaching children for Christ, the children sang “Yes to VBS!” and the VBS director had tables with sign-up sheets, donation envelopes and information about the many ways to be involved. By April, the VBS director had many volunteers, donations to cover expenses and the men’s group volunteered to build the VBS theme set for the stage!
  • Allow for different levels of commitment.
    The lead teacher needs to make a high level commitment. The assistant teacher may be someone who feels insecure about teaching, but willing to gain some experience. A prayer team member may be unable to attend VBS but will prioritize prayer. Volunteers who may not work well with children can help with promotion and follow-up with families after VBS. Donations to VBS is another way church members can be involved.
  • Recruit your leaders face to face.
    This is not a “you all come” philosophy. Committed leaders are needed.
  • Train your teachers!
    Once your VBS team is recruited, encourage them to attend your associational VBS clinic. Teach a class on how to lead a child to Christ.

3 – Promote Inside and Outside the Church

  • Build excitement in your church.
    Provide times for workers and students who attended last year’s VBS to share testimonies. Encourage church members to invite their neighbors and friends. Word of mouth and personal invitation is the best way to get more lost people to bring their children to VBS. Post yard signs, send out postcards, place door hangers.
  • Invite the community.
    Train church members to prayerwalk their neighborhoods and hang door hangers as they go. This is also a great opportunity to personally invite those that you see as you prayerwalk. Is there a festival, parade, or carnival in your community that you could participate in by handing out water or popsicles and invitations for VBS too?
    Have a Block party the Saturday before to kick off your VBS with a bang and invite the community.

4 – Follow-up with Decisions and Prospects

  • Establish follow-up strategy plan before VBS begins.
    Planning for follow-up is strategic. Follow-up is one of the most important aspects of VBS and our planning and delegation of resources needs to reflect that. When God brings the lost to VBS, He has opened an opportunity to talk to the parents, invite them to your church and even lead them to Christ.
  • Recruit a follow-up director.
    This is just as important as having a VBS director. This person will organize volunteers from Sunday School classes or small groups to visit, send letters and invitations to follow-up events. Follow-up should begin within the first week after VBS. This may be the only time a church member is invited into the home of a lost family.
  • Follow-up depends on gathering information.
    During the week of VBS, accurate and sufficient information on every VBS participant needs to be gathered. Let them know you want the information to contact them after VBS. Each name represents a family that needs to know Jesus.
  • Make evangelism and follow-up the responsibility of every VBS team member.
    The pastor cannot conduct VBS alone and shouldn’t be expected to conduct follow-up alone. Enlist every VBS worker with the knowledge that participation in follow-up activities is expected. Get your Sunday School teachers involved in follow-up by connecting all family members of VBS attendees to a Sunday School class. If a family begins attending Sunday School or a small group, they are more likely to continue attending church.
  • Provide training for those doing follow-up.
    While Christians have the greatest news of all, many do not know how to share it. Many training curriculum are available. One of these is LifeWay’s Share Jesus Without Fear.
  • Create a plan to make contacts.
    Continue to make contacts over a three to six month period. Track visits to homes, asking follow-up teams to report back in a timely manner. Plan post-VBS events and invite your lost prospects.
    Celebrate follow-up successes with the congregation. This will begin to give momentum and excitement for post-VBS events and the following year’s VBS.
  • Link up with another congregation.
    Look for opportunities to involve your trained leaders in assisting a church plant or a smaller congregation with their VBS.