Resources for Christian Education
Summer Means VBS Follow-Up and Getting Ready for Sunday School
VBS Follow-Up Is Vital!
In many churches, summertime means taking a break from the usual Christian Education programming and focusing on special events such as Vacation Bible School (VBS). By now, VBS planning is well underway as staff and children look forward to having fun doing crafts, singing, playing games and, of course, learning about God’s love for all of us. Whether VBS lasts for a week or is offered in a different timeframe, by the time it’s over you might just want to collapse as VBS earworms play on and on in your head. But don’t forget to follow up after your program so you can connect with new families and get feedback while it’s still fresh in everyone’s mind.
Make sure you offer an invitation to attend Sunday school, worship services, and other activities to any VBS families who aren’t already part of your church. Having your worship service continue the VBS theme on the Sunday after VBS is a great way to encourage new families to attend; have the kids participate by singing or in other ways and you’ll have an even better chance of getting families through your doors.
Get your pastor or outreach team involved in follow-up and make sure you have a brochure or other resources available with information about your church. This can be given out to families on the last day of VBS, mailed, or emailed.
The Children’s Ministry magazine has more ideas for VBS follow-up in an article titled “No Fail VBS Follow-Up Ideas.”
Evaluations from staff and parents can help you improve your VBS program and make you aware of problems that may need to be addressed. The Ministry-to-Children website offers downloadable staff and volunteer evaluation forms. You can find examples of VBS parent surveys and create your own online survey for free on SurveyMonkey.
Get Ready for Sunday School
If you need some assistance and/or inspiration to jump-start your Christian Education programs for the new year, consider attending a free webinar offered by PRC – Practical Resources for Churches on August 10, 2017 at 7 PM Eastern time. The title of the webinar is “Getting Ready – for CE Directors” and it’s led by Christian educator Elizabeth Christie who will be discussing an effective schedule for communications, programming, staffing, facility maintenance, and administrative duties. Don’t worry if you can’t attend the live broadcast; the webinar will be recorded. Register here to attend the webinar or receive a link to view the recording.
Are you considering a new curriculum? Deep Blue Kids, the children’s Sunday school curriculum offered by the United Methodist Church, is also recommended by the United Church of Christ and used by other denominations as well. It is a comprehensive curriculum available for babies through tweens and is available as a traditional or rotational curriculum. New to the Deep Blue family is Deep Blue Life, a “downloadable, customizable curriculum option that focuses on living life faithfully.” It includes Bible stories, stories about faith leaders, and spiritual practices.
Another children’s curriculum that focuses on spiritual practices is Shine: Living in God’s Light published by the Church of the Brethren and the Mennonite Church. Like Deep Blue, Shine is recommended by the United Church of Christ and used by numerous other denominations. Shine encourages children to express their faith “through lives of compassionate peacemaking and service.” Samples of Shine can be downloaded from the website or you can request a free all ages preview pack.