Many times “VBS follow-up” is relegated to a postcard sent the week after VBS thanking kids for attending. Once mailed, we can joyfully check “follow-up” off of our to-do list and close the books on another successful year of VBS.
The problem is not the postcard – kids love to receive mail – but the reality that for far too many of us a postcard is both the beginning and end of our follow-up efforts. For this reason LifeWay’s VBS team has begun changing the term — and hopefully the mindset — from follow-up (a one-time action) to continued connections or continuing the connection (an on-going relationship).
Collectively, each year VBS allows us to discover and connect with over one million unchurched kids, teens, and adults. Statistics reveal that 10 percent of everyone registering for VBS represents an unchurched family. They come to us initiating a connection — bringing with them everything we need to continue and grow the connection (names, ages, contact information). Yet, the same statistics show we continue the connection beyond VBS with only about a third of the unchurched.
For too long we have made VBS “the event” of the summer. Connecting with millions of people but making a lasting impact with only a small percentage. To turn these numbers around we must change the way we think about VBS. Instead of VBS being “the event,” it must become in our minds the prelude to the “real event” — which is continuing the connections created as a result of VBS.
By changing our way of thinking, the success of VBS is not measured by the number of people enrolled during the week, but by the number of previously unchurched families connected a year later.
Continuing the connection must be intentional. It must be planned for and pursued with the same intensity and attention to detail as the week of VBS.
Jerry Wooley The VBS GUY!! He serves as the Vacation Bible School Specialist for LifeWay. Don’t expect to talk with Jerry for too long without him asking you about VBS. In addition to VBS Jerry serves at his local church in various roles (including leading the 4th & 5th Grade Life Group and Party Pastor) at Creekside Fellowship north of Nashville.