We are busy preparing for our church’s VBS (we call it Summer Bible Camp) next week. Details – big and small – must be planned out, tweaked, and re-tweaked to welcome a few hundred campers and volunteers to our program each day. If you are overseeing VBS, you know exactly what I mean!
This summer will mark my third year leading VBS at my church. Each year has brought different joys, challenges and lessons. I often give myself pep-talks throughout the weeks and days leading up to kick-off to encourage me when I start feeling overwhelmed. Can you relate?
When it’s all said and done, I rely on tried and true strategies that keep me sane before, during, and after the madness – I mean planning. 🙂
- Work ahead. VBS season falls during my busiest time of year (ministry-wise and personally) so working ahead on projects helps me not to cram at the last-minute.
- Limit unnecessary meetings and appointments. Doing this allows me to be available to meet with VBS leaders and help them brainstorm ideas, gather supplies, answer questions, etc. If I’m diligent about working ahead, I can be available to them and give them my undivided attention.
- Clearly label borrowed items. That way, you can return things with ease once camp concludes.
- Eat breakfast every day. Trust me, you’ll need the fuel to start each day off right.
- Speaking of food, plan simple, easy-to-prepare meals. I use my slow cooker almost every day during VBS because I’m too exhausted to cook. I’ve also been known to keep the pizza delivery guy’s number on speed dial during VBS week!
- Go to bed at a decent hour. I don’t know about you, but I’m no good if I’m sleep deprived. Close your computer, put the electronic devices away, turn off the TV and lights, and go to bed!
- Accept offers of help in putting things away. Many hands make light the load!
- Take inventory of supplies for future reference. Not only will this save you time down the road but it can also save you money.
- Organize as you pack things away. Clearly label supplies so they can be easily located for future use.
- Celebrate the wins. You and your team have worked incredibly hard to plan a wonderful week for the children and volunteers. Take time to celebrate the stories you hear and the children who received Christ or took next steps in their faith journey. Celebrate your volunteers, your planning team and all that God did during the week!
- Debrief and evaluate with your team. Talk about what worked well and what needs to be changed to make next year’s VBS even better.
- Rest! You deserve it for a job well done.
- Power up with prayer. As the days become busier and the details are far too many to count, spending time with the Lord in prayer helps you stay focused on what’s most important. Encourage your team and volunteers to pray throughout also by providing a prayer list for them to pray through together.
Keep the conversation going! What would you add to this list? Share your ideas below!
I was not able to attend this year’s Orange Conference but I stayed plugged in through their live feed and social media posts. Here are my favorite tweets from the conference:
“You can only lead someone as far as you have gone yourself.”
“Time management hack: Look at your week and ask yourself “What 3 things have to happen for this week to be successful?”
“Saying yes to the wrong things is a momentum killer. Be willing to say no.”
“Language should be: • Relevant • Memorable • Repeatable • Effective.”
The first time you do something should be the worst time. Every other time you should be getting better at it.
“Never fight the battle of the “how to” until you have fought the battle of the value of why.”
“Courage is creating a stop doing list to do something better. Be intentional.”
“There’s an inexorable correlation between leadership and change.”
“You need 2 people in your life: 10 yrs ahead of you to show you potholes. 10 yrs behind to show you where the culture is heading.”
“You can’t fall in love with your method, you have to fall in love with your mission if you’re going to be an effective leader.”
“Change the world by investing in one life.”
“Celebrate what you want repeated.”
“Never apologize for having high standards for your leaders!”
“A healthy team culture, creates healthy church, which creates a healthy community.”
Church: we have the most important mission on the planet. Don’t apologize when asking 4 volunteers.”
“Few things are more demotivating to a volunteer than discovering staff didn’t set them up to succeed. Be organized.”
“Non-financial currencies to pay your volunteers: Gratitude, Attention, Trust, Empowerment, Respect.”
“Remind your volunteers often that even if they can’t always see it – they are making a difference.”
“Do we treat our volunteers well enough that they would recruit others to volunteer in our ministry?”
Taking Care of You
“If your only common ground with your spouse is your kids…they’re going to leave 1 day…then what?”
“Hustle is an act of FOCUS, not FRENZY.”
“Burnout doesn’t happen overnight. Passion fades. Your heart grows hard. Rest isn’t refuelling. Learn self-care, not self-medication.”
“Parents don’t need something else to do. Give them an activity to do during times they all ready have with their kids.”
“For a blended family, attending church together 26 weeks a year is perfect attendance.”
“Reaching and keeping families at your church demands you plan and create systems so families can take next steps!”
“How to reach & keep families: Visitors will make a decision whether or not they will return within 7 sec of parking.”
“Only 18% of unchurched population fit into “traditional family” category. How does your strategy reach all families?”
“The church should be the BEST place that all parents can go to coached and equipped on becoming better parents.”
“One of the best gifts a church can give a kid or teen is to help parents have a thriving marriage.”
Connecting with Kids
“Kids will forget what you say, they will forget what you did, but kids will never forget how you made them feel.”
Next Gen Ministry
“Teenagers will never believe they are significant until you give them something significant to do.”
“The sooner you get students involved in ministry the more solid their relationship with Jesus becomes.”
You can find more tweets by searching the following hashtags: #OC15, #justaphase, #thinkorange.
Keep the conversation going! Did you follow the conference online or attend the conference in person? What were some of your favorite tweets or quotes?
I absolutely love touring Children’s Ministry facilities when I visit churches. I snap pictures (with permission of course), pick up literature, peek into every nook and cranny, and ask the CM staff lots of questions.
There are many fabulous churches around the country that I would love to see in person but doing that would cost a pretty penny. But because of ingenious kidmin friends, we can visit 10 churches around the U.S. without leaving our homes (or offices). How?
My friend Ryan Frank is putting together a virtual bus tour next month. On May 27th and May 28th, you can get on a virtual bus, meet 10 kidmin leaders doing big things for the Kingdom of God through their ministry to children and families, hear their hearts, see their facilities and ask them questions.
And guess what? I’ve been invited to be one of the 10 leaders participating in this event! I am still pinching myself that I get to do something like this…it’s crazy!
I’d love to have you join me for this event. You can check out all the details here.
Hope to ‘see’ you there!