Preparing for VBS and other summer church events
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
The summer months are when many churches host Vacation Bible School, summer camps, and other events. While most of the staff’s focus has been on preparing for Easter up until now, schools will be letting out within the next month or so.
If you haven’t started planning summer activities yet, here are a few quick tips to help you get started.
Tip No. 1: Keep it simple
It’s tempting to pack the summer months full of activities to reach everyone (parents, kids, teens, single adults, college and career, and more). What often ends up happening is we stuff the calendar with events, then we can’t find enough volunteers to pull it all off (since many people are taking vacations throughout the summer), and wear out the staff to compensate.
Instead, identify one to three events that have historically had the highest participation and best outcomes at your church. Focus your time, energy, and resources on making those few events amazing and give everyone a chance to breathe over the summer.
Tip No. 2: Start planning now
Ideally, you started planning for summer events in January. However, since that doesn’t always happen, now is the second-best time to get started.
Assign someone to be the event planner and main point of contact for each event. That person should then gather a team of staff and volunteers to develop the theme, identify necessary tasks, and start checking items off that list to make the event possible.
Tip No. 3: Talk with key behind-the-scenes department leaders
Finance, facilities, and communications tend to get overlooked in the beginning stages of planning a church event. That’s unfortunate, since without their support you’re going to have a tough time making this event a success.
As soon as you’re considering dates for an event, talk with the facilities manager to see if there are any other events or maintenance activities planned at the church facility (in the areas you’ll need to use) on those dates. Next, talk with the finance director to see if there’s money allocated in the budget for this event.
Also, ask if the budget included the assumption that people would pay to participate in this event or not (and if so, at what price). Finally, talk with the communications director to discuss how to promote this event, when to start promoting it, what information they need to develop promotional materials, and when they need those details.
Tip No. 4: Invite volunteers to participate
One challenge with hosting events in the summer is having enough volunteers since many people take summer vacations. If you start inviting people to serve now, you have a much better chance of getting their assistance than if you wait until they’ve already made vacation plans.
Hosting events during the summer can help boost weekend attendance and attract new people to your church. However, due to the nature of summer schedules, it’s best to avoid cramming too much onto the calendar. Focus on a few highly successful events now and start preparing for more activities in the fall and winter months.
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