Editor’s Note: Since the publication of this article, a resource for Charting a Course for VBS 2020 has been released.
Perhaps more than anything else in recent history, the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the uncertainty of life. As James wrote, we simply do not and cannot know what the next day will bring (James 4:14). In response to rapidly changing conditions and state-mandated lock-downs, churches have had to adjust their ministry plans and practices on an unprecedented scale.
Many churches are no doubt wondering what to do about their planned Vacation Bible School programs. Here are several suggestions:
- Plan to hold VBS as usual. Prime Vacation Bible School season is still several months away, and it is entirely possible that the lock-downs will have ended by the time it arrives. We encourage churches to prayerfully plan with that eventuality in mind. The most powerful response to pandemic-induced uncertainty is a bold proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and VBS is one of the most effective evangelistic tools available to churches today. So make plans to hold VBS this summer (ideally after July 1) while acknowledging that those plans may need to be adapted or tweaked, depending on how things develop over the next few months.
- Begin enlisting VBS volunteers now. To avoid a last-minute scramble later on, communicate to potential VBS volunteers that the church is still planning to hold VBS this year. Consider holding online prayer and planning meetings with VBS staff now so that all preparations will be in place by the time VBS season arrives.
- Build flexibility into your VBS promotion. You may want to leave specific dates off promotional materials for the time being so that adjustments can be made later as needed.
- Think through “Plan B” options. If the lock-downs do continue well into the summertime, it may become necessary to hold VBS at another time or in a non-traditional format this year. Whether that takes the form of smaller backyard Bible clubs, a VBS at church with more sessions and limited group sizes, or a “Back to School” bash in the fall, plenty of options are available and worth exploring. While your church tentatively plans to hold VBS as usual, you may want to begin brainstorming about alternative options in case the lock-downs continue indefinitely.
- Be in prayer! While we should plan wisely, we must also constantly seek God’s will and wisdom through prayer. Pray for your community and ask God to give your church opportunities for gospel outreach during this tumultuous time.
While the pandemic has taken most of us by surprise, it did not surprise our God! Be comforted and encouraged in the knowledge that He works all things together for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:11). Whatever the coming months may bring, God remains on His throne and Jesus will continue to save sinners. Let’s be prepared to maximize our ministry effectiveness in whatever capacities and opportunities God sends our way.