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5 Ways to Engage Families at a VBS Family Night

VBS Family Night

Vacation Bible School is one of the most exciting weeks of the year. Whether in the day, night, or on consecutive weekends, the impact VBS makes can leave a lasting legacy. One way to ensure the message of VBS goes well beyond the walls of the church is to make sure to engage families in a VBS family night. A VBS family night is usually held the last day of your VBS. It’s a great way to engage family members in all that kids have learned and experienced.

5 Interactive Ideas to Implement Into Your VBS Family Night 

1. Create an Experience at Your VBS Family Night.

There is nothing worse than kids coming home after an amazing event and parents just getting the “Jesus answer” for questions regarding the day. As children’s ministry leaders, we put so much thought and prayer into every element of VBS and we want to make sure that the life-changing message makes it into the home of each child. So instead of just having parents and families be recipients and spectators during VBS family night, be sure to help them experience VBS.

    • Sing the songs of the week and challenge parents and grandparents to do the motions alongside their children. Kids love to see their adults having fun in a child-like way.  
    • Recap the lessons of the week and invite families to actively take part in the storytelling. Give parents permission to be silly and act like kids. 
    • Do a family craft together. Nothing takes the message home like a project families work on together and then display in their home.  

2. Have Families Serve Together at VBS Family Night.

VBS doesn’t end on your church’s sidewalk. One way to make sure that VBS has a community impact is to invite families to serve those in your area. Instead of a typical VBS family night, involve your families in these service ideas.

    • Do yard work or other needed tasks for area widows.
    • Collect and pack school supply bags for children in foster care.
    • Clean up a city park.
    • Pack galloon zip lock baggies for the homeless in your area and invite families to drive around and hand them to those in need. 
    • Write and deliver notes of thanks and goodies to your city’s civil servants.

3. Lead Families in Meaningful Discussions.

Jesus modeled asking questions better than anyone. This is a great tool in an intergenerational service to help parents discover where their kids are spiritually and the struggles they may be having. Give families some key discussion questions and time during the event to talk. Busy families can gain much by simply sitting and discussing truth together. Follow these guidelines.

    • Make sure questions are open-ended and are not concluded with a simple yes/no.
    • Invite parents/grandparents to take part and openly share with their kids. Adult transparency can have a great impact on kids.
    • Give signals to provide all members of the families equal time to share. 

4. Pray Together as Families.

VBS family night is a great, safe place to model prayer for families. Here’s what we’ve done in our church that you can do.

    • Set up prayer experiences for families to work through together.
    • Give prayer prompts for families.
    • Invite families to share prayer requests and pray for each other.
    • Challenge families to prayer walk the neighborhood around the church. 

5. Invite Families to Come Back to Church.

Continue the impact of VBS by inviting families to church and to Jesus. Chances are those who would never darken the doors of a church would send their kids to a VBS. And they just might attend a VBS family night!  

    • Challenge families to get involved in the church by coming on Sunday morning, joining a life group, or attending a next steps class.
    • You could even create a new Bible study group for those who found your church during VBS.

Whatever you do, don’t forget the gospel. Don’t prepare and plan for the whole year for VBS and never give people a chance to respond to the gospel. Whether you have an invitation or a special area where church staff can answer questions, don’t forget that the gospel is the reason we do VBS. 

Vacation Bible school season is right around the corner and with it come great possibilities and responsibilities. What will you include in a VBS family night to engage families? 

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Danielle has over 24 years of children’s ministry experience with a passion to share, disciple, and shepherd children and families with the message of Jesus. She currently serves as minister to children at the Dawson Family of Faith in Birmingham, Alabama. Danielle is a respected children’s ministry leader and trainer and has spoken regionally at local churches and nationally at children’s ministry conferences. (CPC, ETCH, KidMin conference). She is a curriculum writer for Sermons4Kids (sermons4kids.com) and has also written for Gospel project kids (gospelproject.com/kids). Danielle currently serves as the children’s ministry content editor at churchleaders.com and teaches in the Children's Ministry Certificate program a beadiscple.com. Danielle was named by Children’s Ministry Magazine as one of the Top 20 children’s ministry leaders to watch. Danielle’s blog, dandibell.com, was named one of the top 100 kids ministry blogs by ministry-to-children.com