Outreach: Church communication and marketing tools

Summer Is Coming... Have You Planned For VBS Yet?

Easter is over and your ministry year is turning toward summer. Along with higher temperatures usually comes lower church attendance as families go on vacation or take the summer off. But for many churches, the one summer activity that actually brings in new people is Vacation Bible School or Kid’s Camp program.

No matter what you call your summer Kids activities, providing families with a fun, educational event for children is an important strategy for outreach and church growth. And while VBS can be labor intensive, many times the opportunity to reach new families and enfold them into your church is worth the efforts.

Here are a few key steps you can take to make the most of your VBS opportunity this year:

  1. Pick a fun theme-based curriculum - Initially, you might think that putting together your “own thing” for VBS would be easier and less expensive but when you look at everything that goes into 5 days of lessons, songs, videos, activities etc…choosing a pre-prepared kit makes a lot more sense. Most packages include different age-related activities and lessons that your volunteers can just pick up and implement. Click here to see two great options.
  2. Invite the Community - You work hard to plan a fun week for the kids, now make sure you are inviting unchurched families in your community to come participate too. The easiest way to spread the word is through direct mail invitations, outdoor banners and posters pinned up in local businesses. Click here to see resources to get you started.
  3. Empower your kids and families to invite their friends - Your church members are your best word-of-mouth promotion - make it easy for them to tell others about your VBS. Give every child and family a few small invitation cards with the benefits and details about your event. These cards can be handed out to friends and other soccer moms in the weeks leading up to summer.
  4. Give Parents a reason to come to church - It’s great if children come to your VBS and learn about Jesus, but what if you could make a connection with their parents too? One way to ensure that the adults spend a little time in your church and hear the Good News is to include a final session of VBS during a regular service at your church. Have the children perform the songs they learned and then while the kids go off to meet with their VBS class one last time, you can speak on a topic that most parents will find valuable.
  5. Add the families to your guest list - Make sure you are capturing the information on all the families that come to your VBS. Add their names to your visitors list and send them a Thank You note to make them feel valued. Then include them on regular email updates from your church -- just like you would a regular guest on a Sunday morning, this will help them feel like they are part of your church family.
  6. Provide them a reason to come back - Don’t let VBS be the end of your family outreach! It’s a good idea to plan another family-oriented event or series that you can invite everyone back to. The kids will want to come visit their friends again and parents will feel more comfortable because they have been to your church before.

This summer be intentional with your VBS planning, get volunteers and staff involved, and think through all the ways you can make the most of this opportunity to impact families in your community. Need some ideas and resources? Click here