We receive so many well wishes and support each year in the days leading up to Vacation Bible School (VBS) and this year was no different. We hear things such as: “I hope you all have a great week!”, “I know it will be a great success!” and “I can’t wait to hear how many kids were at VBS.” All of those statements are great, and yet they aren’t exactly how I define the success of VBS.
How I define the success of VBS:
- Everyone (children, youth and adults) feeling (and being) safe and included.
- Everyone experiencing meaningful ways to connect with God and learn more about Jesus.
- Everyone experiencing ways to connect to their purpose so they can leave VBS and continue that work.
- Everyone having fun, smiling and enjoying the new friends they’ve made at VBS.
Am I interested in the numbers? Of course I am! The more kids at VBS, the better. However, the quality of the connections made with God, people and purpose are so much more important to me than the number of kids who are here.
Top 10 signs of a successful VBS, according to Jen (in no particular order – except the last three):
- The smiles on the faces of the kids, youth and adults as they sang at morning assembly, participated in Open House and traveled through the halls all week. You could see the fun they were having and the meaningful connections they had made with one another by the smiles in their eyes! (There’s a link to all the photos at the end of this blog.)
- The adult leaders pouring out their hearts and souls as they led the lessons for the kids and as they led the kids to the different stations each day. The adults were caring, compassionate and genuinely excited to be experiencing VBS with the kids.
- Staff members offering to help Shepherd groups of kids throughout the week when they learned we were still short on adult volunteers. I saw the smiles on their faces and heard their praises about the great groups of kids they had.
- Witnessing so many youth leaders step up into larger roles and take ownership in ways that were incredible! One youth leader took on the role of completely leading preschool music for the week and another youth leader took the initiative to go home and create a “busy bag” to help with a child in the group who needed extra support to stay focused!
- Listening as Chad, Rev. Matt and Rev. Philip stepped up and played guitar for the kids to sing. It meant so much to the kids to have these guys involved at VBS. If you were around and saw it (or if you go look at the pics) you can tell that Chad, Matt and Philip really enjoyed it too.
- Calling our VBS Director team on Thursday afternoon and asking for them to help stand at the church doors to let people know that VBS Open House had been rescheduled for Friday due to the power outage. Not only did the Directors show up at a moment’s notice, but they took it upon themselves to drive to the edges of the church parking lot to alert people of the change so that people wouldn’t unload all their kids in the summer heat for no reason.
- Another adult and I taking numerous quiet walks with one of the young children who was a bit overstimulated by the week. Then, as we were on one of the walks, the child calmed down, took my hand and kissed it and said “Thank you for helping me.” He felt safe here, even in the midst of the overstimulating setting.
And now, my top 3 signs of VBS success:
- One of our VBS Directors, Jennifer Boyett, announcing at Open House that she loved being a VBS Director this year and it was NOT an overwhelming job. And I loved it when our rock star Children’s Volunteer Coordinator, Abbie Arellano, left on Friday after VBS saying that even though VBS week is the hardest week of the year for her, she loves her job SO much and would be back after her vacation.
- My heart melting as one of our youngest VBS attendees (who had never been to our church before) ran down the hall on Friday afternoon to me and gave me a hug and told me it was the BEST week she’d ever had and she couldn’t wait to come back on Sunday and sing and learn more about God.
- Getting a text from a mom saying that her girls had come home mid-week and starting playing VBS with their Barbie dolls. They were playing out the stories they had learned so far at VBS with their Barbie’s! Children master what they’ve learned through their play and it was already happening before the week was even over!
So, I’d say that based on these stories, that the 275 children at VBS:
- Felt safe and included.
- Experienced meaningful ways to connect with God and learn more about Jesus.
- Experienced ways to connect to their purpose and will hopefully continue that work.
- Had fun, smiled and enjoyed the new friends they made at VBS.
Take a look at the pics and see what you think! VBS 2019 PHOTOS
Thank you to everyone who stepped up and helped out at VBS.
Thank you to our Children’s Discipleship Staff: Abbie Arellano, Rhean Wren and Misty Miller.
Thank you to our VBS Director Team: Jennifer Boyett, Amanda Jennings, Betsy DiPaula and Lauren Beville.