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Vacation Bible School Planning Schedule

3 to 6 Months Before Vacation Bible School

Begin praying for your church's VBS program.
Ask God to prepare the hearts of church members, workers, and children who will attend.

  • Will you meet in the morning, afternoon, or evening?
  • Will you meet every day for a week or once a week for several weeks?
  • Will your program be for children only, or will entire families be invited to attend?
  • Will you meet at your church or another location?

Set dates.

As you're considering dates, you may want to find out about other summer programs offered by your church or your
community so you can avoid conflicts.

Choose a Director.
The Director is responsible for planning, recruiting staff, and overseeing all details to ensure that Egypt works smoothly.
Consider recruiting a team of leaders to head up areas such as publicity, registration, shops, Family Leaders, and drama.
Delegation allows church members to use their gifts and passions in exciting ways!

Set a budget.
Look through the entire VBS kit curriculum & supplies to get an idea of what you'll need for your program. Write down
the cost of each item you'll need, and then tally the total cost to set your budget. Your church may already include VBS
in its budget. If so, find out what funds are available. If your church doesn't have a budget in place, don't worry! Money
for a quality program needn't be a stumbling block. There are countless ways you can easily (and painlessly) raise the
funds you need. Consider the following ideas.

  • Collect an offering to cover expenses.
  • Charge a per-family registration fee. Give discounts to families who volunteer for your staff.
  • Invite congregation members to sponsor children by contributing a per-child amount.
  • Try a VBS gift registry! This "gift registry" allows congregation members or even families to contribute to your
    program in a specific way.
  • Hold a creative fundraiser. Send a VBS character, for example - "Pharaoh" from Egypt VBS (a hammy volunteer
    in costume) through the congregation, demanding payment for taxes. You'll have plenty of additional funds in no

Start collecting decorations.
Round up things (like baskets, burlap sacks, colorful pieces of fabric, terra-cotta pottery, rugs, and blankets for Egypt VBS).
Let members of your congregation know what you're looking for so they can keep their eyes and ears open for theme
oriented decorations.

This schedule is from Group Publishing which brings you:

2 to 3 Months Before Vacation Bible School

Plan publicity.
Decide how you'll promote VBS in your church and community. Refer to the publicity section in your Director Guide for
publicity ideas and resources.

Set up your VBS church website. 
Your own website will help to promote, register, and organize your VBS program.
(Group Publishing provides VBS P.R.O. - easy steps to set up a website for High Seas Expedition and Egypt, Joseph's Journey.)

Encourage preregistration.
If you have a VBS website, families can register online from the comfort and convenience of their homes. Once your website is up, paste your URL (that's the Web address at the top of the screen) into your publicity items. Families can access your site and register, and staff members can fill out staff applications. And a VBS website makes it easy for you to place kids into groups when they sign up.

Begin recruiting Station Leaders.
Look for recruiting helps in the  Director Guide to catch your VBS volunteers.  Include exciting job descriptions on handouts, and bulletin inserts etc.

Networking will stretch your time and dollars. Find other churches in your community that are doing VBS. Get together and
brainstorm decorating, fund-raising, and publicity ideas that will get your whole community excited about VBS.

Estimate your VBS enrollment.
Use figures from your church's Sunday school or figures from last year's VBS program. Once you've estimated how many children will attend, figure out how many group leaders you'll need. You'll need one adult or teenage Leader for every five children, including preschoolers. Be sure to have extra group leaders ready when you need to form groups for last-minute registrants.

Order VBS materials.
If you purchased a Starter Kit, you probably have a leader pack for every station and all the multimedia components you need. You may want to order additional leader packs for team teaching—and a copy of each leader pack for yourself, if you'd like.  Some kits have a VBS Clip Art & Resources CD set, which includes customizable forms, decorating outlines, song lyrics with chord charts, etc.

Even if you're planning a late-summer program, it's not too early to order materials. As you update your registration count, you can order additional student supplies as needed.

Explore your church facilities.
You'll want to be deliberate in selecting your station areas. If your plans involve more than 150 children, you could run two or more simultaneous stations. You might need to set up a separate room or area for each station. Use the guidelines in your director guide.

Plan and schedule a staff training meeting.
Some starter kits include a DVD which contains clips from the VBS field test. Your station leaders will enjoy seeing the VBS in action. Be sure to include other helpers in your training so they can better understand their role.  Director Guides and Leader Guides often include helpful, practical tips to make your VBS the best around. Plan to meet for at least two hours.

8 Weeks Before Vacation Bible School

Begin recruiting Leaders & Helpers.
They can be church members, college students, parents, or grandparents, teenagers. They need only to love the Lord and love children.

They should all plan to participate in vbs for the entire adventure. If they need to be absent one or more days, encourage them to find their own substitutes.

Begin publicity.
Fill in your program's dates and times on an Outdoor Banner. Display the banner in a prominent outdoor location.

Hang publicity posters in your church and community.

Some vbs kits supply a promotion DVD. Show a promotion segment during a worship service or other church gathering. This brief segment gives people a glimpse of how vbs works and what kids will learn. You'll find that the video helps build enthusiasm, recruit volunteers, and promote attendance for your program. Be sure to follow up the video by telling the congregation how excited you are about the program!

Begin gathering supplies.
Refer to the vbs master supply list, usually in the Director Guide or Teacher Guides. Consult with your  Leaders to inform them of how you'll handle supply collection. Will you gather all supplies, or will each leader gather his or her own supplies? You may want to ask church members to donate food supplies (such as pie filling, Jell-O, and fruit) or easy-to-find items (such as decorations).

Plan your schedule.
The average VBS program runs for up to three hours each day. Most segments are divided into 20 - 25 minutes each. Check the Director Guide to see the times suggested and if they work for you. If your program will meet for more or less time than three hours each day, you'll need to adapt these times accordingly.

VBS Store

4 Weeks Before VBS

Recruit additional volunteers. In addition to Station Leaders and Crew Leaders, you may want to recruit volunteers to help with registration, transportation, and child care for the staff.

Does your VBS have a mission project.? Get your congregation excited about it and find easy ways to get everyone involved.

Continue publicity. Mail invitation postcards to children in your church and community. Use clip art to create your own doorknob danglers, and distribute them in your neighborhood. Include your church’s name and when your VBS will begin. Be sure to inform people about your registration methods. Do you have a website? Registration card? A preview date?

Continue preregistration. Insert registration card copies in your church bulletins, distribute copies in Sunday school classes, and keep a supply in your church office. Encourage parents from your church to preregister their children and their children’s friends. Pregistration makes your first day more manageable.

To get more kids preregistered, you might offer incentives. For example, provide a T-shirt or a Music CD for each child who registers early. Or fill a large jar with jelly beans. Children who preregister can submit a “guess” as to how many candies are in the jar. (The winner gets to keep the entire jar of candy! Yum!) These incentives will build enthusiasm for your VBS, too.

Hold the scheduled staff training meeting. Plan to meet in a large room where you’ll be able to try out some snacks and activities. Before the meeting, set up a TV and DVD player, and decorate the room using the suggestions in your Director's Guide or Kit. Bring the Leader Guides, and handouts.

Meet with each Leader. It’s a good idea to touch base on a one-on-one basis. Take each person to lunch or out for ice cream or simply go for a walk together as you discuss what supplies the leader needs, what concerns he or she may have, or any aspects of the program that are not clear. This will not only prevent mis-communication but also help your volunteers know how much you appreciate them.

Important Training Info
Although Leaders may want to add their flair or creativity to an activity, drama, or craft, encourage them to stick as closely as possible to the written material. Remind your staff members that each element of the program has been designed to fit with the others—sort of like a jigsaw puzzle. Remember, we want to make VBS easy for your staff. There’s no need to re create or reinvent the wheel!

Provide VBS information to your church office. Fill in your church’s information on a community flyer, and photocopy a stack of completed flyers on bright-colored paper to put in your church office. Someone in the office can refer to the flyers if people call with questions about your program and can distribute flyers to people who stop by the office.

If your church has a phone answering machine, you may also want to include VBS  information in your recorded message. If your church has its own website, be sure to add information there, too.