Tips for Planning a Virtual VBS

It’s been several months now since many of our churches gathered. We’re beyond ready to be back together again. We miss the harmony of congregational singing and the joy of friends and families fellowshipping together in the church halls. And I know you miss the kids! Though many states have now begun their phase-by-phase reopening plans and some churches are starting to meet again, many are still hesitant to host an in-person Bible Club or Vacation Bible School this summer.

If that’s you, I’m excited to tell you about an opportunity from my friends at New Growth Press. They’ve made the PROOF Pirates and Clap Your Hands, Stomp Your Feet VBS curriculum sets available in downloadable e-versions for churches and families to use virtually. Here are some ideas for how you could do this with your church community.

• Choose the format that is the most digestible for your congregation.

You can host your virtual VBS over the course of one week like a traditional VBS, or you might consider spreading out the VBS content over several weeks—perhaps releasing one day’s worth of materials on each Wednesday during the month of July.

• Host Video “Assemblies.”

Pre-record and/or Livestream songs and skits from each day’s Open-ing Assembly. You may also want to include an abbreviated version of the elementary lesson. Make this time as interactive as possible. If you’re using a social media platform like Facebook, Instagram, Vimeo, or YouTube, encourage families to interact with one another by using the comment sections to respond back with greetings for their friends. If you are using the Clap Your Hands VBS, you have permission to include our hand motion videos as part of your live stream.

• Distribute the other VBS activities directly to families.

You’ll want to find a way to get each day’s preschool activities and crafts directly to your church families so they can work through those together after watching the video. It would be ideal to do a Door Dash craft delivery so that you can provide families with all the materials they need. But if that’s not feasible for your church, New Growth Press will allow you to post VBS files on a password-protected section of your church’s website.

• Encourage families to live on mission.

If it’s safe to meet in smaller groups, encourage your families to invite their neighbors to VBS watch/craft parties in their backyards or cul-de-sacs. You may even want to recruit families from within your church to make their house a VBS host home.

• Finally, share what you’re doing with us.

We’d love to hear how VBS is going for you. Use the hashtags #ProofPirates or #ClapYourHandsVBS to share what’s happening with your virtual VBS. You might even get a re-share from New Growth Press.

Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children” (Matthew 19:14 NLT). Just because you can’t have a traditional Vacation Bible School this summer, that doesn’t mean you can’t be intentional about sharing the good news with children.

Thank you for your joy in sharing the good news with the next generation!

About the author

Jared Kennedy

Jared Kennedy, MDiv, ThM, serves as an editor at The Gospel Coalition and as cofounder of Gospel-Centered Family, a ministry that helps churches and families share Jesus with the next generation. He is the author of The Beginner's Gospel Story Bible and the Beginner's Gospel Story Book series, God Made Me for Worship, and Keeping Your Children's Ministry on Mission. He is coauthor of Faith Builder Catechism. He has also helped develop two VBS programs, Proof Pirates and Clap Your Hands, Stomp Your Feet. He and his wife, Megan, have three daughters.

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