I started to title this “Connecting through VBS Family Nights,” but then it hit me. This isn’t just about VBS, it’s about connecting. So as you read through these ideas, don’t limit yourself to one time a year. Like all things electric – to work properly, and to keep working, you need to stay connected. Even if something is battery operated, it still has to be connected to be recharged. So, take time all year – not just the summer to connect with families – those inside your ministry as well as those you’re trying to reach.
All that being said…let’s get down to business. First, a few things to remember to make your life easier.
- Gather a team. You want and need some help! If you don’t put together a team, you’re going to be setting up everything by yourself before the event. Even worse, you’ll find yourself all alone when it comes time to clean up! Believe me…the last thing you want to do on the Friday night after VBS is to finish cleaning up on Saturday morning at 2 AM! This is a great opportunity to enlist some of those members who can’t help during the week of VBS but would be happy to help out with Family Night.
- Budget. On a sad note, it’s already too late to ask for budget money for this year’s VBS. At this point, I would recommend begging and making deals with other staff members…it’s not pretty, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. But, for next year, prevent yourself a headache and save your self esteem by asking for the money when you submit your ministry budget for the new year. As you put together your budget, remember things such as: honorarium for a special guest speaker, refreshments, advertising costs and the like.
- Advertising. Speaking of advertising costs…this doesn’t have to be expensive. Today’s young families are not only tech savvy, they’re really tech dependent. Think outside the box and use things like Facebook©, Twitter©, and e-mail to put the word out about your event.
Here are a few Family Night ideas to get you started thinking. Most of these work really well with Lifeway’s VBS 2011 theme: Big Apple Adventure, but you can adapt them to fit other themes as well.
- Ticker Tape Parade. Encourage children and leaders to wear their VBS t-shirts. Have classes make parade floats or let families put together floats as part of the event.
- VBS Missions Marathon. Invite families to run for the mission project. Encourage them to get pledges (such as school supplies) for the project.
- Give a Broadway Review. Let the children present the VBS music and motions for their parents.
- Hold a “(Your Church Name) loves (Your City)” day. This would be a great way to encourage families to work together on a project that would benefit the community. (Cleaning a park, doing yard work, etc.)
- Tour the Big Apple. Let parents come and experience a typical VBS day on an abbreviated schedule.
- Throw a New Year’s Party to celebrate the beginning of a new Sunday School year. Be sure to invite VBS guests who are not church members.
- Take your party to a park. Play some fun games and serve some good food to draw in curious onlookers.
- End on Sunday morning and have lunch afterward. This will help your guests share in a Sunday experience at your church. They’ll be more comfortable with coming back next week.
- Red Carpet Video Premier. Record the happenings of your VBS week and show the video during Family Night. Make copies to give to guests. Suggestion: include a short gospel presentation on the video so they hear the gospel each time they watch or show it to friends and relatives.
Whew! The list could be endless! I hope this gets your creative juices flowing. If you’ve got a great idea for a Family Night, please share it! We’d love to hear from you!