Jul 19, 2013

Why We Don't Do VBS

This is not a post against VBS.  I am not anti-VBS.  Many churches still host a successful VBS and see great results.

On the flip side, the number of churches hosting VBS is declining.  A recent report from the Barna Group stated that 68% of churches offered VBS last year.  This is down from 81% in 1997.

Our ministry does not do VBS.  Why?  We asked the questions below and the answers led us to say "no."
What is the best use of the budget money God has entrusted us with?  In other words, where will we get the biggest bang for our buck?  For us, our weekend services are our biggest opportunity to reach kids and families.  That is when we will minister to the largest number of kids and connect with the most parents.

So that is where we are going to invest the biggest percentage of our budget. 

What is our best opportunity to reach unchurched kids?  For us, our weekend services are when we have the most unchurched guests.  Week in and week out, we encourage our families to build relationships with their unchurched neighbors, friends, co-workers, and classmates.  Every week there are dozens of guests who come from a personal invite. 

Are we going to be driven by events or steps?  We do some big events...but not a lot.  We have found that creating clear, easy next steps for kids and families helps us connect them more than events do.

Does VBS pass the blank piece of paper test?  A year after VBS, how many names of families can we write down that have accepted Christ and become a part of our church?  If we can't write any names down or can only write down one or two, we have to consider it's effectiveness.

Does it fit the DNA of our church culture? 
VBS is not a key part of our church culture.  For some churches, VBS is a key component of their DNA and has a rich history.

But...I would say that just because it has a rich history, doesn't mean you should continue to offer it.  Just because Sister (fill in the blank) started the program in 1955 doesn't mean you should keep it going, if it's not effective.

These are questions you have to answer for your church.  The answers may lead you to "yes...VBS is a key ministry for us."  Or the answers may lead you to make some changes.

Bottom line...we are called to reach and disciple kids and families.  We must make sure we focus our time, energy, and resources into what is effective.  What does that mean for your ministry?

Okay.  The floor is yours.  Do you do VBS?  Why or why not?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below.