How to Plan an Unforgettable VBS

Group Photo

Before you begin planning your next VBS, check out this essential step-by-step guide.

If you're a children's minster or director, you probably have the responsibility of planning, coordinating and overseeing the development of a major event at your church. The planning of VBS is crucial and felt church-wide, but the benefits are lasting.

Although VBS is a week-long event, preparation begins months beforehand. Use this summary as a reminder of the tasks to be completed before, during and after VBS.

Also, don't forget to provide your VBS leaders with all the resources they need to successfully begin planning at your church.

4-6 Months Before VBS

  • Lead your church to begin praying regularly for Vacation Bible School.
  • Lead the church to vote on or approve your VBS director.
  • Set dates for VBS on the church calendar.
  • Determine the audiences for whom you will provide-preschoolers, children, youth, adults, special needs.
  • Prepare the budget and submit it to the church for approval.
  • Set goals for enrollment, prospects, and offering.
  • Begin recruiting VBS directors, leaders, and teachers.
  • Begin to develop your promotion strategy.
  • Set goals for your Vacation Bible School.

3-4 Months Before VBS

  • Estimate your VBS enrollment and determine class or department organization.
  • Enlist directors and leaders for all Bible Study classes and other activities.
  • Enlist a VBS Records Team Leader.
  • Create a VBS Calendar of Events and place activities on the church calendar. Distribute this information to all VBS volunteers.
  • Schedule planning meetings and develop agendas.
  • Guide the VBS Promotion Team to present the promotion strategy.
  • Plan a VBS kickoff event.
  • Plan pre-enrollment activities.

2-3 Months Before VBS

  • Order and distribute VBS curriculum.
  • Plan the VBS schedule.
  • Conduct first planning meeting.
  • Lead workers to attend the associational VBS training.
  • If you choose, begin VBS musical practice for church kids and their friends.
  • Give leaders their supply request forms and a deadline for returning requests.
  • Begin promotion efforts.
  • Plan Preparation Day.
  • Plan Family Night/Day activities.
  • Plan decorations for the church's common areas.

1-2 Months Before VBS

  • Continue promotion efforts.
  • Continue VBS musical practice.
  • Begin making decorations.
  • Lead departments to conduct planning meetings.

2-4 Weeks Before VBS

  • Conduct the second VBS planning meeting.
  • Receive Supply Request forms and gather supplies.
  • Continue promotion efforts.
  • Conduct pre-enrollment activities.
  • Continue VBS musical practice.
  • Order your customized VBS postcards and 'families with children' mailing list from LifeWay Prospect Services.
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1-2 Weeks Before VBS

  • Assign pre-registered participants to Bible Study classes and other age-group departments.
  • Distribute Prayer Guides to those who have committed to pray.
  • Distribute supplies.
  • Finalize room assignments.
  • Conduct department planning meetings.
  • Read 7 Last-minute Tips for VBS.

1 Day before VBS

  • Conduct Preparation Day.
  • Conduct a VBS kickoff event.
  • Decorate and set up all rooms.

During VBS

  • Register children as they arrive.
  • Make needed announcements during the Worship Rally.
  • Notify parents about Family Night.
  • Communicate each day.
  • Oversee all VBS activities.
  • Each day make sure all workers are present or that substitutes have been enlisted.
  • Assist with first aid and discipline as needed.
  • Make sure records are accurate and completed daily.
  • Distribute VBS evaluation forms, and certificates on the last day.

After VBS

  • Collect and return, or replace, all supplies.
  • Return the church building to its original arrangement.
  • Follow up with VBS visitors using the VBS Transfer Plan, Sunday School visitation, and other ministry activities.
  • Mail in your VBS Report.
  • Provide a summary of VBS evaluation forms for the pastor.