Melita Thomas on 4 Options for Your Church’s VBS This Summer

Image: Photo by Ashton Bingham on Unsplash

On a typical church calendar, the passage of Easter often signals the ramp up to summer activities—none more eagerly anticipated than Vacation Bible School.

But this is not a typical year, is it?

Church leaders are wisely reassessing their future plans and reprioritizing based on what is truly essential. But as programming needs and methods shift, one thing remains the same—people need to hear the good news of the gospel, perhaps now more than ever.

Vacation Bible School is the single largest evangelistic outreach of the year for nearly 75 percent of churches, according to LifeWay Research. It also consistently accounts for one-quarter of all baptisms among Southern Baptist Churches churches, and last summer directly resulted in 59,026 professions of faith! The impact of a single week of VBS is almost without parallel among regular church programming.

So is VBS worth doing this summer? Unequivocally, yes! Will it look the same as in years past? Probably not—but that’s OK.

Let me share four ways in which VBS can still happen in 2020. Each of these strategies is designed to help churches use their existing VBS curriculum to facilitate VBS creatively and safely this summer. We don’t know exactly what things will look like a few months from now.

When VBS rolls around, churches will likely be in different phases of reopening, depending upon their location and the recommendations of their state and local health authorities and government leaders. These four strategies will allow a church to put on a VBS that meets the COVID-19 requirements of their governing authorities.

Traditional VBS — This is the “VBS as usual” approach. For some areas of the country, VBS may be able to happen as it always has. It may get pushed back to an alternate date later in the summer, but VBS could still happen as planned. Churches might even experience record-breaking attendance as parents and kids alike are eager to get out of the house.

Neighborhood VBS — This approach utilizes church-member “hosts” in multiple neighborhoods throughout the community to conduct a small-scale VBS in their driveway, front porch, backyard, or cul-de-sac. This could be a great solution if only smaller groups of 10-20 are permissible.