How to plan a successful vacation Bible school

Being in charge of planning a vacation Bible school (VBS) is an important responsibility. These summer events provide opportunities for children in the congregation to have fun, strengthen their faith, and make new friends.

Most vacation Bible schools are week-long events, with plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained. As you learn how to plan a successful vacation Bible school, you’ll see that the most critical work begins months before the summer season.

Here are a few helpful steps to follow when planning a vacation Bible school.

Pro Tip

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Essential steps for planning a vacation Bible school

Begin your planning early so you’re ready to provide an excellent experience when the children arrive. This process typically begins four to six months before your vacation Bible school occurs. Here’s what you need to take care of:

  • Finalize dates. Mark the calendar as soon as possible so staff members, volunteers, and families can save the dates. Decide whether you’ll have one week with several sessions or if you’ll spread the programs throughout the summer.
  • Choose a location. If you aren’t going to hold your VBS at your church, locking in a site is one of the first things you need to do. Some of the most popular places are booked months (or years) in advance. Once you know your dates, secure the location of your choice right away.
  • Pick a theme. Your theme creates a brand for the vacation Bible school and sets the tone for what kids can expect when they arrive. Pick a biblical theme that centers on the gospel and captures the imagination at the same time.
  • Set enrollment goals. Develop a vision of the experience you’d like to create. Are you aiming to collect a specific number of registrations? Know your capacity and identify these goals. Then work hard to achieve your desired results.
  • Recruit staff members. It takes time to find the right employees or volunteers for your vacation Bible school. Summer jobs fill up fast. Start your recruitment early so you can build an ideal team to support your summer programs.
  • Promote your VBS. Now that the dates are locked in and you have a location, it’s time to start collecting registrations. Share vacation Bible school information with families in nearby congregations. Look for ways to spread the word using community outreach and referral programs.
  • Create an activities schedule. As you get closer to the beginning of your program, it’s crucial to plan the schedule of activities for the week. Design a balance of group activities, individual experiences, and free time for the children to mingle.
  • Train your team. Volunteers and employees need to arrive before the students so you have time to train the team. Not only are you setting expectations for the week, but this training is also an opportunity to inspire the team to make the VBS a memorable experience for everyone involved.

The more you organize ahead of time, the less stress you’ll face when your program starts. Create a master to-do list and check off as many of these items as possible right now.

How to digitize the registration process

The vacation Bible school experience begins with the registration process. If your registrations are complicated and frustrating, you might lose potential attendees. On the other hand, streamlined and easy-to-use forms might help you attract new registrants.

You can also save yourself the hassle of stacks of paperwork and lost permission slips. Digital tools make it easy to collect attendee information and organize registrations from any location. Families enjoy the convenience of finalizing registration from home without worrying about paperwork when arriving at the VBS.

Jotform provides a range of tools to automate your vacation Bible school registration. Here are a few popular forms that vacation Bible school directors might find helpful:

These forms include various integrations for collecting payments, tracking attendee arrivals, collecting medical information, and asking families for feedback.

It doesn’t matter if you’re planning your first vacation Bible school or making improvements to an existing program — Jotform is an excellent resource for your organization. If you’re looking for software solutions that support your VBS, then it’s time to integrate digital forms in your registration process. Jotform is an effective way to simplify enrollment, allowing you to focus on planning a successful vacation Bible school.

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