Children’s ministers, unite! It’s the time of year where your trunk is full of plastic decorations, inflatable balls and paper cups waiting to become a spaceship craft. That’s right: vacation Bible school is almost here!
For many churches, vacation Bible school is one of the biggest events of the year. But this event is not just a great way for your church to engage with your community — it’s also a great way to disciple children about God’s heart for the nations!
Now, many of us might be thinking, How am I supposed to add one more thing to our already busy summer?
That’s why we’ve compiled five simple ways to add cross-cultural ministry elements to your VBS event.
1. Provide registration advertisements and forms in another language.
As communities grow and diversify, VBS is a great opportunity to welcome the nations to your church.
My church’s neighborhood has high Hispanic and Chinese populations, so this year we’re advertising our event in three languages. Our hope is to show our community all are welcome to participate. We will have room signs and registration forms in these languages. Since vacation Bible school is one of our most evangelistic events of the year, we want to make sure everyone feels welcome!
2. Involve your missionaries.
To add a personal touch to the missions lesson, invite missionaries on home assignment (or over video) to share their story of how they serve God.
Hearing how God calls normal people to share the Gospel encourages kids to see sharing the Gospel as something God has called everyone to do.
3. Use downtime to encourage missionaries.
During snack time, invite kids to write encouraging notes to your church’s missionaries. Be sure to remember any missionary kids as well. These notes remind missionaries your church loves and misses them.
You can also have kids write notes of encouragement to your short-term teams going out this summer. This involves your whole church in sending missionaries!
4. Complete a project.
If your VBS is taking up a missions offering, find a project the kids can fund, such as sponsoring a VBS in another country or purchasing chairs for a new church plant. The offering becomes a tangible way your VBS attendees can take part in God’s mission.
Bonus: Sponsoring a project also comes with a natural follow-up! After VBS, send email updates on the offering to parents or a thank you postcard in order to build your relationship with the family!
5. Bring it to their level.
Sometimes when we talk about missions, we make it sound like only superheroes could do this job! But as you discuss missions during VBS this year, we encourage you to bring it to a child’s level. Show a video of how a missionary kid serves alongside their parents, or encourage your first-graders to tell their friends about what they learned at VBS. This intentionally shows that God has a plan for everyone, even kids, to share the Gospel with their friends and neighbors.
This summer, we are praying your VBS impacts your local community and the world as God brings families to your church.
Which idea from this list do you want to implement? Are there other ways you’ve added missional elements to your church’s VBS?