Kick-start or Kick off: It Only Takes a Spark

By Rhonda VanCleave | Mar 8, 2022

It only takes a spark to get a fire going. That saying has been around for a long time. Some of you may find yourself humming a song popular with church youth groups … well, a long time ago too. But the meaning is still true today. A little bit of sparkle, enthusiasm, and persistence can ignite interest in your VBS hours, days, or even months before your actual event.

S—Save the Date

  • Place “save the date” promotional posters in visible locations as early as January.
  • Encourage volunteers and parents to plan vacations around VBS dates. Make them feel wanted and welcomed.
  • Be sure your dates are on church calendars and any communication that goes out to members.


  • Send flyers home with kids frequently, especially anytime you have visitors (such as Easter events).
  • Plan to put up yard signs two or three weeks ahead of VBS.
  • How do parents in your area get information? Tap into those methods.
  • Challenge your church members to invite friends. Make it a contest!

A—Attract Volunteers

  • Blessed is the VBS director whose pastor is fully on board with VBS. If he’s not, meet with him to share the vision and enlist his support. His leadership can be extremely valuable in encouraging volunteers to step up.
  • Create an “ad campaign” around the church with short info blurbs about what types of volunteers are needed.
  • Personal enlistment is still the strongest way to tap volunteers. Enlist your key leaders first, and then encourage them to enlist their teams.

R—Register Kids Early

  • Pre-registration (early registration) can make the chaos of “day one” much smoother.
  • Once kids are registered, you can use their contact information to send reminders right before VBS.

K—Kid Connections: Choose the best way to connect with kids in your location.

  • In some areas, you may need to go to where kids are. Set up a table or booth at local festivals, kids sports locations, or neighborhoods. Have a fun giveaway and encourage kids to register for VBS.
  • In other locations, you can create the event at your church in the parking lot or front lawn. Provide a VBS “teaser” with a couple of games to play or something to make and, of course, a snack! Invite kids to pre-register for VBS or at least gather contact information so you can send VBS information later.
  • The VBS 2022 Administrative Guide contains ideas for Kickoff Events (page 48) and VBS Celebration Events (page 53). Kick-start your VBS plans early to capitalize on momentum. Then, kick off your VBS in a way that engages your community and draws attention to this exciting event.

Rhonda VanCleave is VBS editorial team leader at Lifeway Christian Resources. This article originally appeared in Lifeway’s Kids Ministry 101 magazine and is posted with permission.

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