Let’s be honest – there are very few churches that do a good job with Vacation Bible School follow-up. If you’re like me, your church struggles to be effective in reaching VBS prospects.
In this article, I want to talk about some common challenges and strategies for VBS follow-up. Then I’ll share some ideas to help your church be more effective in this ministry.
Some Challenges To VBS Follow-Up
- Post VBS exhaustion: People are tired after VBS. The all-out effort of putting together an excellent Bible school can leave everyone too exhausted for follow-up programs.
- Reaching the reached: Many children who attend are from other churches. It can be discouraging to spend energy reaching families that already faithfully attend another church.
- Failure to Plan: The most overlooked detail of VBS planning is follow-up. It’s easy to put it off until after Bible school, but it’s a detail that often gets forgotten.
- No evaluation of follow-up: Most churches keep detailed statistics about VBS attendance, but few monitor the effectiveness of their post vacation Bible school outreach. Too often, you get what you measure.
Four VBS Follow-Up Strategies
- Sunday school enrollment: One traditional tactic is to assign unchurched prospects to an appropriate Sunday school class for follow-up. This works well if you have a strong Sunday school system.
- Pastoral follow-up: This is the default plan in many small churches and can be an effective on a limited scale. But many pastors can’t add more than a handful of visits to their busy schedules each week. As the memory of VBS fades, so does the likelihood of reaching those families.
- Refer prospects to the follow-up department: Some larger churches have established outreach teams. These departments are often led by paid staff who specialize in outreach.
- Assign prospective families to outreach minded church members: I’ve heard this idea passed around, but never seen it in action. The idea is to find church members who are known for hospitality and willing to invest in an unchurched family. They would then invite the prospects to dinner at their home and begin to build relationships and invite them to church.
Practical Advice For Your Church
- Know your church culture: Different ministry settings will require different strategies. It’s important to know what strengths your church has in the area of outreach. Choose one strategy from the list above and focus on making it work.
- Be realistic: For many smaller churches, adding one or two families a year would be a major accomplishment. Pray that God would direct your efforts and lead at least one family to Christ.
- Trust God: Ultimately it’s God’s job to bring people to Jesus. Pray and work hard, but trust God to bless your Vacation Bible School follow-up.
Share Your Best Ideas
If your church has had some success with VBS follow-up, leave a comment below and share your advice.