Home Children's Ministry Leaders Articles for Children's Ministry Leaders VBS Follow-Up for Churches: 4 Ways to Extend Your Reach

VBS Follow-Up for Churches: 4 Ways to Extend Your Reach

VBS follow-up
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Strategic VBS follow-up plays a huge role in making the most of vacation Bible school. In fact, intentional follow-up should be part of your regular VBS planning, right from the beginning. That means as you’re rounding up supplies, handing off manuals, and decorating, you’re also preparing to make a strong post-event impression.

Match Your “Why”

Your VBS follow-up plan must be intentional. It all begins with your VBS “why.” Why are you doing VBS? What do you hope to accomplish? What will success look like? Your curriculum selection, budget allocations, and time investment should all point toward that “why.” And so should your VBS follow-up.

For example, suppose your VBS “why” is to bring new families into your church. That means before VBS, you hung publicity posters in local community centers or schools—places families visit. Then during VBS, you made sure church staff had ample time to introduce themselves and interact with parents in meaningful ways.

A strong VBS follow-up initiative should also focus on families. You might invite families to a wrap-up picnic or your next all-church event. Or send information about an upcoming parenting class.

Think Ahead

Effective VBS follow-up takes preparation. If you’re planning to send photos home, assign someone to take photos of every child. (Plus, this person can get the photos printed.) You’ll also want to have notecards or mailable photo frames ready. Or, if you’d like to write personal notes to each volunteer, be sure you’re actually watching them during VBS so you can thank them for specific things.

VBS Follow-Up Is a Team Effort

Finding someone to focus on VBS follow-up may seem daunting. After all, you’re likely tapping into a large number of your core volunteers already. But you can easily delegate VBS follow-up and break it into smaller jobs.

For example, if you’re using Group VBS, have Crew Leaders (small-group leaders) mail a note to each child in his or her crew. You just supply cards and stamps. Or as the Spotlight VBS photographer is snapping pictures for the Spotlight show, they can take Crew photos to send out after VBS.

One way to strategically approach VBS follow-up is to look for opportunities in four areas: kids, parents, volunteers, and church. This divide-and-conquer approach helps you prioritize what follow-up initiatives are the best fit with your VBS “why.”

To ignite your imagination and fuel your own objective, here are follow-up ideas from VBS veterans.

4 Areas for VBS Follow-Up

1. Follow up with kids.

This is the follow-up that most of us think of. It involves circling back with kids to remind them of the great time they had at VBS. Or perhaps you want to send a reminder of your Bible focus or Scripture they learned.

Personal Note

Gloria Lee, a children’s ministry leader in Los Angeles, reaches back to kids with good old-fashioned snail mail. “I’ve sent photos of kids (random ones we’ve taken throughout the week) with a greeting, inviting them to our next event—typically our Fall Family Event.”

Lee enlists the help of volunteers to make each note personal. “I had Crew Leaders write a note to each child on Wednesday or Thursday. Then we’d drop in the VBS theme decal and mail the notes one week after VBS.”

Events

Following up with kids might mean connecting them to year-round events at your church. Consider reaching out with graphics, activities, and topics for fall Sunday school or midweek programs. Kids rarely get mail, so even though snail mail may seem outdated, it’s a great way to grab kids’ attention.

Before you know it, kids will be asking their parents to come back to church!

Group’s Simply Loved Sunday school curriculum makes it even easier to draw kids into church. It uses the familiar Bible Memory Buddies (which kids meet at VBS) in weekly Sunday school lessons.

Discipleship

Many kids make a faith decision at VBS. So it makes sense to follow up with simple, kid-friendly discipleship tools. Debra Taylor, a children’s leader in Dublin, Ohio, has a fresh follow-up idea. “I’m looking at creating a VBS devotional kit, and having the Crew Leaders send a follow-up note with a devotional to each of their crew members.”

Consider short, kid-focused books (like Notes From Jesus) and kid-friendly Christian music. Remember: VBS music may be the only Christian music a family hears!