Jeremy Echols, leads the CentriKid Camps team for Lifeway Kids , joins the podcast this week explaining what kids ministry leaders can do to effectively follow up with kids and families after an amazing week of kids camp.
The popcorn is swept away, the games packed up, the face paint all washed away, and everyone is excited that Fall Festival was a great success. You look at the cards gathered from visiting families and wonder, “What do I do with these?”
1. Mail each family a personal, hand-written note.
2. Call each family and express your appreciation, invite the families to visit your church again. Share information about your church’s ministries or answer questions the families may have about your church.
3. Assign each family to an adult Sunday School department to follow up.
4. Assign each family to a children’s Sunday School department to follow up (assign the families based on the ages of the children).
5. Have a “Post Fall Festival Party,” inviting teachers to personally visit each of the families.
6. Enroll each family as prospects in your church’s Sunday School ministry.
Fall Festival is a great way to discover prospects for your church, but discovering prospects does your church no good if you do not reach out to them. Have an other follow-up idea? Let me hear what your church does.
Summer activities for kids in the local church are great! They give boys and girls an opportunity to learn about Jesus…experience great times of fun with friends…plus, be challenged to bring friends who may not be involved in a church.
Some of this momentum can be lost, though, when churches fail to be pro-active in planning for follow-up. Just a few quick reminders:
- Plan types of summer activities that will be "drawing cards" for unchurched kids. Even consider some type of competition/awareness for kids to be challenged to bring guests.
- Have a system in place to get contact information from visitors who attend VBS, fun days, camps, etc. during the summer months. Consider doing "pre-summer" training with your leaders emphasizing that your summer activities not just be "so-so" but indeed be outreach events.
- Give Sunday School/Bible study teachers a "heads up" that you will be sending them "prospect" information after each of these events for follow up. Ask that Bible study leaders keep you up-to-date on how contacts, phone calls, emails are going with these prospects.
- Plan celebrations with summer leaders to "thank" them for helping to shepherd and bring in prospects for other ministries in the church.
- Plan celebrations with Bible study leaders for prospects "reached" and enrolled as a result of summer activities.
Let us know about some of your "follow-up" success stories. We each need the encouragement!
TIPS TO ENSURE YOUR VBS IS THE EVANGELISTIC FLAGSHIP EVENT OF THE YEAR!
1. Plan VBS with follow-up in mind. Too often people see the week of VBS as the big event when, in reality, it is just a prelude to the real event – evangelistic follow-up opportunities.
2. Enlist a follow-up Director. Effective VBS follow-up requires creativity, organization, and someone to orchestrate the plans.
3. Establish a goal for the number of unchurched individuals you plan to register. Start with the national average of 10 percent.
4. Make evangelism and follow-up the responsibility of every member of the VBS team and the church. The pastor cannot conduct VBS alone and shouldn’t be expected to conduct follow-up alone. Enlist every VBS worker with the knowledge that participation in follow-up activities is expected.
5. Provide follow-up training. While Christians have the greatest news of all to share, there is typically great fear in sharing it. Provide training in appropriate ways to make phone calls and home visits and to lead children and adults to Christ.
6. Connect VBS to Sunday School or an on-going Bible study ministry by recruiting leadership from all age groups to be on the follow-up team. When a child attends VBS, she represents outreach opportunities for more than just the children’s Sunday School. An important aspect of the initial follow-up contact should be the discovery of the family network. Once discovered, information should be passes on to other members of the follow-up team. The team should then invite each member of the family to the appropriate Bible study class and ministry opportunities.
7. Make initial follow-up assignments by the last day of VBS and ensure initial contacts are made immediately. Valuable opportunities are lost when follow-up contacts are delayed for days or weeks.
8. Track follow-up assignments to ensure every contact is made. Create a reporting system that requires team members to report back in a timely manner.
9. Create a plan to ensure multiple contacts during a three to six month period following VBS. Include personal visits, phone calls, mailed information, e-mails, and invitations to other events and ministry opportunities.
10. Plan post VBS events designed to continue the VBS experience. Create opportunities such as neighborhood Bible clubs, a VBS reunion, or fall festivals designed to bring together unchurched families with people they met during VBS.
11. Celebrate follow-up results with the congregation. When appropriate, include testimonies from follow-up team members and individuals who made decisions as a result of VBS.
Thanks to Jerry Wooley, Vacation Bible School Specialist for contributing to this post. Check out more VBS helps in the book, “Kids Ministry 101: Practical Answers to Questions About Kids Ministry”