Each year, Vacation Bible School is the largest prospect discovery effort for most churches. In fact, about 25-30% of baptisms in Southern Baptist churches are a result of VBS. In addition to key prospect information about participants in VBS, additional information is discovered about their families: parents, siblings, and others residing with attenders. On top of that, ministry needs are discovered.
Each of these facts adds up to opportunities for Sunday School to step in and follow up. So many times, VBS has required so much time and energy that when it is over, church leaders walk away with relief at a good experience. They stack registration cards on a shelf and then don’t think about them again until next year. What a wasted opportunity!
Instead, there are so many ways that Sunday School can capitalize upon the great investment of time and energy during VBS. Consider some of the following:
- When enlisting a VBS director, enlist a VBS follow up director whose job is to mobilize Sunday School teachers and workers to visit, contact, and minister to all VBS prospects and their families.
- Ask Sunday School classes to set aside a specific time to pray for VBS and for prospects to be enrolled and won to Christ. Praying in advance will prepare for the work of harvest.
- Set goals for enrolling VBS prospects and family members.
- Enlist Sunday School leaders to help with advance and daily VBS registration. Faces make follow up even easier.
- Make sure you get thorough records of every VBS participant and their families. Poor records are lost opportunities!
- Set up a special day immediately after VBS for Sunday School classes (and/or VBS workers) to visit all VBS prospects and families. The longer you wait, the colder the follow-up trail will be.
- Send information home with every prospect on the final day of VBS about Sunday School classes and other church activities appropriate for each age group. Don’t assume your community families know about Sunday School.
- Have the pastor send a letter to every VBS prospect the week after VBS with information about the location of the age appropriate Sunday School class(es). Tell prospects where they can enter the church to get a guided tour to classrooms.
- Share reports about VBS with your congregation so they can share in the excitement, follow up, and prayer. Doing so also raises awareness of those around them who should be invited to Sunday School and VBS.
- Plan a VBS Day in Sunday School on the Sunday after VBS. Don’t remove VBS decorations or allow children to take home their VBS materials until then. Invite parents and families. Instead of celebrate VBS in evening worship, do so in the morning service(s). Sing VBS songs. Share testimonies. Show pictures set to a VBS song. Recognize each age group. Give everyone present a handout with information about Sunday School classes. (VBS gives you and excuse to invite worship attenders who have not yet connected to a Sunday School class.)
- Ask Sunday School classes to sponsor a VBS Carnival on Sunday night after
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VBS with each class providing a game/booth and refreshments. Provide all attenders with a handout with Sunday School class information.
I would love to hear more ways that Sunday School can capitalize upon great VBS work. What have you done to connect VBS to Sunday School? What would you add to this list? Press Comments (above) and share your ideas and experiences. Make VBS even better. Partner with Sunday School in following up VBS.
Darryl Wilson has served as Director of the Sunday School Department for the Kentucky Baptist Convention since 1997. He served as Minister of Education in five churches in Kentucky and South Carolina. He is the author of The Sunday School Revolutionary!, a blog about life-changing Sunday School and small groups.