December Planning for VBS

VBS //


Yes, you read that right—VBS planning in December! After years of running VBS, I have learned that setting aside a day in late December for prayer and planning goes a long way toward a successful VBS. After the kids’ Christmas program is over and everyone is off to Grandma’s house, take a day to pray and plan. Over the years I have directed Vacation Bible Schools of all sizes, from 40 kids all the way up to 800, and the need for prayer is critical during the entire process.

Pray for God to lead you to the right people to recruit into the main positions:

  • Bible teachers
  • Prayer leader
  • Music leaders
  • Drama leader
  • Craft director
  • Snack leader
  • Recreation leader
  • Nursery director

All these positions are crucial, but key for me is the nursery director. If I have that person in place early, that helps in my recruiting for all of the other positions. Why, you may ask? If young moms are comfortable about where and how their young babies and toddlers are going to be cared for, they are much more likely to agree to help. And once they find out that their toddlers are going to have a full-orbed VBS in their own room, they are fully on board!

Pray for God to give you direction as you plan your theme, decorations, drama, and music. I love VBS music! I like for it to be fun and exciting, but I am also very picky about the lyrics. The one thing I know about VBS music is that it stays with kids for a lifetime, so make sure you choose songs with good lyrics that reinforce your Bible truths.

Read through all of your VBS material (most publishers have it available for you in mid-December) as you pray for all of your planning.

OK, so here are my 5 musts for VBS:

  1. Pray
  2. Plan
  3. Recruit
  4. Prepare
  5. PRAY!

Recruit according to people’s strengths, but recruit everyone. Your senior pastor should participate in your VBS even if he is just greeting each morning and praying for the start of each day. I have found, however, that pastors are awesome at lots of different things as it relates to VBS, so use their strengths as well.

As your team prepares, make it fun! For example, bring all of the ladies together from their morning Bible study and ask them to help you prepare for VBS before they dismiss for the summer. Serve food and have stations set for them to work from. Trust me, 40 ladies working for two hours in a fun atmosphere will get a ton of work done that you will not have to do later.

As you make the final preparations with setup, etc., make sure the parents who work during VBS have a chance to help with putting up the sets and decorations. And don’t leave the dads out. They are a great resource! On setup days, make sure you and one or two other leaders are ready to lead. And since there are usually multiple rooms that need to be set up, it helps to have several leaders who know the plan throughout the building.

Over everything, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!!! There is a reason we start and end with prayer and prayer everywhere in between.

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About the Author

B. A. has more than 20 years’ experience as a children’s director in churches ranging in size from 200 to 4,000 but finds her passion is the same no matter how many children she’s serving. Show the children Jesus. Teach the kids all of the Bible so they see that the stories from the Old Testament point to Jesus and that the New Testament shows how Jesus fulfilled God’s promises—yesterday, today, and forever. B. A. began her formal ministry as a children’s director and consultant in 1993, but she has taught and led music for children since she was in junior high school. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Tennessee and taught college until the Lord called her to seminary and full-time ministry. She graduated with a master’s degree in Christian Education from Columbia International University. Speaking at conferences, consulting with leadership, and training teachers brought her to Great Commission Publications ( in 2014 as the Children’s Ministry Consultant and Marketing Coordinator.