This article was written by state missionary Rob Jackson.
Eastern Hills Baptist Church in Montgomery (where I am serving as interim pastor) is having Vacation Bible School this week. I love VBS! My wife, Tonya, was saved during VBS. As a pastor, VBS was circled on our calendar all year.
I firmly believe that VBS remains the most effective evangelistic opportunity a church has every year. With that in mind, here are nine things you can do to make your VBS more evangelistic:
Pray corporately for VBS. Send home prayer sheets and encourage the entire church to pray daily. Encourage prayer walks (or drives) in the neighborhoods you are targeting. Do prayer walks in and around your church facilities.
2. Bring children in.
Don’t leave it up to a “y’all come.” Advertise. Go door to door with door hangers. At Central Baptist Church in Decatur, David and Yadira Roesener (our Hispanic pastor and his wife) took teams to every Hispanic house in the area. The entire church invited their respective neighborhoods. We rented school buses and their drivers and picked up children all around Decatur. Before our “bring them in” mentality, we averaged 150 in Bible School. After this church-wide effort, the numbers grew exponentially over the years, with a high attendance of 1600 registered! Praise the Lord!
3. Make your effort multi-generational.
When you do that, VBS stops being only a “reward” for our children. Instead, it becomes an opportunity for every family and child to serve the Lord. Our children were busy inviting (we rewarded whoever brought the most guests). Our parents and children were taught that VBS was held so that others could hear about Jesus. We worked hard for our children to see the need to reach out and embrace and welcome children who were not “like them.” I recall a beautiful sight seeing four generations serving the Lord together for a VBS.
4. Be there for the children.
As pastor and leader, you need to be present. Interact with the children. Love on them. High-five them. Let them know you are approachable. Do the motions with the children during the VBS music. Dress casual.
5. Be there for the volunteers.
All these volunteers notice if you are present (or conversely, if you are “hiding” in your study). Make them feel appreciated. If you are involved (and praying), they, too, will give VBS the importance it deserves.
6. Share Jesus on their level.
The children will feel they know you because they have seen you all week. Because you have prayed all week, they will listen to your words. Even in the year when we had 1600, the young people were as quiet as a mouse when the Gospel was shared. The reason? We bathed this time in prayer. We moved the invitation until Thursday so the children would be saturated each day with the Gospel before I shared.
7. Repeatedly share the Gospel.
Share the Gospel at every step. Every teacher is trained to turn each lesson into the importance of salvation. By Thursday, these young people heard the Gospel over and over again.
8. Select and train your counselors in evangelism.
Before we recorded a decision, we ensured every child received counseling so that, to the best of our ability, we felt good about their decision for Christ.
9. Follow up.
Take the time to follow up on every decision for Christ. We contacted each parent. We would forward the contact to the pastor of another church (if the family was a member). We reached out with teams to those families who did not have a church home. We scheduled a special day for VBS baptisms. VBS is not for the faint of heart
Your state missionaries are praying for Vacation Bible Schools around the state this summer, that many may come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior through these efforts!