VBS requires months of preparation. During the week, it demands cups of coffee and perseverance. We love VBS and yet we feel relief when Friday comes because the week has been exhausting. Many people mistakenly believe VBS is finished when the last child is picked up on Friday. But, the work of VBS continues even after the children go home and the rooms have been cleaned up. VBS ministry continues in how we follow-up with the children and their families.
While attending Lifeway’s Big Apple Adventure VBS preview conference, I sat in on a breakout session titled “VBS and Beyond: Evangelistic Follow-Up” led by Mike Smith. In this session I learned about the importance of the work done when the doors on VBS have closed. How do we stay connected with the children who visited our church for the first time and those who made first time professions of faith in Christ?
Follow-Up begins at Registration:
In order to follow-up well with families, you must ensure there is complete and accurate information on each child included on their registration form. When VBS comes to a close you want to be sure to have the child’s phone number and address ready to go.
Plan in Advance:
Before VBS even begins form a team of people who will follow-up with families. Decide what method would work best for your church (phone calls, home visits, post cards, etc)
If your church is planning a closing event to VBS where parents are invited, then utilize this event as a way of connecting with those parents. Enlist a team of greeters at the doors, so the visiting parents feel welcome. Assemble a take-home packet with information about your church and future events being held for children and families. If families feel welcome at your VBS family night, then they will be more likely to visit again for another event or Sunday morning service.
Follow-up in Just One Hour:
Gather your follow-up team at your church campus for one hour during the week following VBS. Have all of the information organized and ready to go for the children who were first time visitors and/or made a profession of faith. Have supplies ready for writing post-cards or letters including pens, church letterhead, envelopes, and stamps. During this hour your team will make phone calls to the homes of these children and then write a post-card/letter when appropriate. This can also be a time to set up appointments for home visitations.
Celebration Worship Service:
Take a Sunday morning to celebrate with your congregation the great work God did through VBS. This is a way to share with your larger congregation and an opportunity to invite back the families whose children visited your church for the first time. The children can sing some of the songs they learned and share about the Bible stories which were taught. Your congregation will be blessed to hear about what went on during the week of VBS and encouraged to continue supporting your VBS ministry in future years.
Why is follow-up important?
The main purpose of VBS is evangelism. We want the un-churched families in our neighborhood to get connected with our church and their child attending VBS can be a first step to open the door. We also want to support any new professions of faith with ongoing discipleship. The parents in our church need to know if their child made a profession of faith and the un-churched children who professed Christ need us to continue reaching out to them. This all requires follow-up!
The week of VBS should not be viewed as the climax or final ending to all the months of preparation. Instead VBS is the starting point where ministry to these children begins. It is a spiritually intensive week where children will grow in their faith or be led to come to Christ for the first time. VBS is a way to jump-start spiritual growth in the children of your church. We don’t want that growth to stop on Friday, so we must continue to persevere and follow-up with our VBS kids.