Some of the happiest times of my life as a child were in summer Daily Vacation Bible School and that wonderful experience continues in many churches today. Kids have a wonderful week, but thoughtful communications can extend that week into a continuing relationship with the church.
There are several ways you can do this, but the over-riding idea is that you need to intentionally communicate to connect with parents, to let them know what else is going on for their children at the church, and invite them to take part in it.
Why this is so important
If you asked a person in the neighborhood of your church, who does not go to your church, "What does our church do on Sundays for children?" you would most likely be met with a blank stare. Most people who do not go to church have no idea what people do in church other than the media picture of people standing around singing with their hands in the air.
The parents of the neighborhood children you worked so hard to reach so their kids would come to VBS are no different. To many of them the church is providing a nice summer community service and they get a few hours of free (or almost free, as many VBS programs charge these days) child care for a week. That the church has anything else of value for their kids is probably something that never crossed their minds.
For the church staff putting on VBS that's difficult to imagine, but it's true and though you want people to so love VBS they will bring their kids back on Sunday to your children's program and begin a relationship with the church, this won't happen unless you are intentional about it. Here's how to do it:
Ways to connect with parents
You have their contact information from the sign-ups for the kids and the parents show up to pick up their kids each day. This provides you with multiple ways to communicate with them, develop a relationship and invite them back. Here are some ideas:
Via email and social media
After each day you could send a short email or post on social media to/for the parents with a message "Here is what your kids learned today and here is what we have planned for tomorrow!"
Make the message in non-churchy, upbeat terms. To begin a relationship with the parents, you could link them to useful parenting tips (great if you have a church staff member write them), so they can begin to see your church as a helpful partner in raising their children.
Via direct invitation and print
At the end of VBS, most churches have a program and often everyone in the extended family shows up to watch the cute kids perform. Obviously you want to invite families back to the church, but if you only have a verbal invitation, they won't remember it—the cute kids are what have their attention. Give them a refrigerator reminder, a flyer that has a message something like this:
Did your kids have a great time this week?
We know they did and want you to know this is just a sample of the great things that are happening each week at our church for your children!
We'd love to have you attend! Here are some of them (either listed on this page or on the back).
Please contact our Children's Director (phone, text, email—and be sure the person is committed to answering) for more information.
Below are some samples of the kinds of materials you can give out. Below them is a ZIP File that has the MS Publisher file of templates for the flyers. You can either expand your information on the sheets themselves or on the back. You could also take the same message and put it out in the social media links you used previously.
Regardless of the method you choose—and doing every way possible—print, email, social media, announcements, personal invitations, be sure you do SOMETHING to let parents of your VBS kids know what is going on and to invite them to join you. If you do that, not only will VBS be a wonderful memory, but potentially an eternity-altering event for the whole family.
Click the following link to download the ZIP file that has the editable MS Publisher file of the flyers above and a viewable PDF file:VBS Return Flyers