Before VBS Starts, Do This (Checklist)

woman telling a Bible story to children at VBS

Every church outreach event takes some foresight to pull together, but vacation Bible school (VBS) planning? That can take even more. (How does it go from the start of spring to the dead of summer in a blink?!)

Here’s a handy VBS planning checklist to start you off on the right foot. 

Step 1: Plan your VBS communication strategy

Yes, this part of VBS planning goes first, even before gathering your volunteers. If people in your community don’t know your VBS is happening, you’ll only see a fraction of the visitors you could have otherwise attracted. You’re doing all the work already—make it count! 

Here’s what to think about for your VBS communication, both within your church and your community:

  • Social media posts
    • Facebook
    • Instagram
  • Media slide(s) or video announcements for Sunday morning and social media
  • Announcement in church bulletin
  • Announcement on church website
    • Include registration link
    • Include a sign-up link for volunteers
  • Newspaper ads
  • VBS banners, yard signs, posters
  • Printed invitations to share with neighbors
  • Landing page on your website

Even if you have a small budget without much room for banners and ads, you can get a lot of traction from online marketing. Don’t forget to make VBS images your church members can share on social media—and ask them to. 

Step 2: Recruit volunteers

You knew this one was coming! Start gathering your volunteer team, and be sure to take advantage of the communication methods above to let your members know you need help. Clarify how much help you need, when you need it, and what’s expected. 

Think through the questions people would have. For instance, “If I volunteer, does that mean I need to be there every day of VBS?”

If you’ll have several teams as suggested below, let your church know. Some people aren’t especially gifted in working with children, but they could solve all your VBS supply problems in a snap or create fantastic props. Sharing the different areas where you need help will keep people from thinking that they don’t have anything to contribute when it comes to VBS.

  • Planning team
    • Curriculum team
    • Volunteer recruiting team
    • Supply team
    • Stage and classroom design team

  • VBS week team
    • Check-in/check-out and security team
    • Classroom teachers and aides
    • Activity center leaders
    • Song leaders/worship team
    • Large group teachers and volunteers
    • Audio/visual team
    • Cleanup/restock team

Don’t forget to follow your church’s volunteer requirements, including background checks and personal interviews.

Step 3: Order & organize VBS materials and supplies

After your team has collaborated and you know what you need, create a list and start ordering. If you’ve designated volunteers to help with supplies, they can inventory your VBS curriculum as it comes in, help distribute your volunteer shirts, etc. 

Step 4: Open registration for students

This part is exciting! Opening VBS registration early means you can start to get a better idea of how many guests you might have and order more supplies as VBS approaches, as needed. 

Include multiple ways for parents to register:

  • At your church’s physical location with a signup sheet or RSVP cards to be filled out and turned in
  • On your church’s website
  • On your church’s VBS landing page
  • On your church’s VBS event page on social media

And there you have it! Complete those steps before VBS begins, and you’ll be well on your way to success.

Faithlife Proclaim: Simple, beautiful, powerful.

Written by
Faithlife Staff

Faithlife (makers of Logos Bible Software) is the largest developer of Bible study software and a worldwide leader in multilingual electronic publishing. Faithlife partners with more than 500 publishers to make more than 120,000 Bible study resources available to customers around the world. Faithlife also offers a range of ministry, communication, and management tools for churches.

View all articles
Written by Faithlife Staff