A Fresh Perspective on VBS Volunteers

VBS Volunteers

Guest post by Erika Solidum, Director of KidLife Ministries, Lifepoint Church – Ozark, MO


September – January: pick and purchase the curriculum. Check.

February – March: weed through the details to decide your plan of action. Check.

April and on – enlist the servants. Long pause…

Wait, what? Enlist servants?! 

Although the theme, decorations, and set-up change year-to-year, one thing remains—Vacation Bible School always begins long before the hot summer months and children arrive. It doesn’t happen without months of preparation…or a large servant base. Before all of this preparation begins each year, our team always asks the question: Why? Why put the blood, sweat, and tears into four to five nights? Why do this if we may only get a handful of visitors? What if the weather changes our plans? How will we ever get enough people to sign up to serve? And we arrive back again at our checklist.

For some of us (okay, maybe all of us) in children’s ministry, the mention of recruiting servant volunteers causes our blood pressure to spike. It is one of those never-ending, always necessary parts of leading. Recruiting and filling servant roles is a constant battle, no matter the size of your ministry. However, it is also vital. Without the people that God provides to do His work, we don’t get to see what all He has planned. And watching servants grow in both their placement roles at our church and in their relationships with the Lord makes it all worth it. We know that God is faithful to grow and mature us through serving Him! But is it worth it to spend our time recruiting for a single summer event? And do we really need eight people to help with snacks?

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Each year, our team faces these questions and checks them off with determination. This isn’t because we always see more and more visitors or countless kids accept Christ (But we are SO thankful when we do!) Or because we have all our serving roles filled six months ahead of time. VBS is a staple event on our church calendar because every year it is proven worth it. God uses VBS to mobilize His people to fulfill the Great Commission.

In our church we set out to recruit over one hundred people to serve during the week of VBS. And many times this means there are countless messages and phone calls made asking members of our church family to step up and give their time. Without fail, every year, we have seen God provide through His people.

What other time during your ministry year do you see countless members of your church step up and serve kids? For us, this is one of the reasons we set aside funds in the budget and put in the time to plan. VBS unites our church body to serve with one single mission in mind. Members from every age range jump in and take on varying roles to see kids introduced to and taught the gospel. Some teach the Bible story for the week. Others lead small groups of kids and build relationships with them. And then there are some who prepare the snacks and make sure bellies are full so kids can keep up with the evening’s activities.

Without these servants the week would not happen, nor would it be successful. We strategically plan our VBS to happen in the evenings. This means that more people can sign up and serve without work conflicts. In a time when we need men serving in children’s ministry like never before, this gives them that opportunity. This is the one week a year where well over half of our church body is engaged and involved. They are serving to see kids grow to know and love Jesus. It is a tangible picture of the church moving on mission.

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Each year God uses this week of serving with children as a catalyst for our children’s ministry. Almost every single year, someone has stepped in to serve during the week of VBS with little to no experience within our ministry. But God uses it to draw them into His church and exposes them to the giftings He has given them. We have seen couples who were small group leaders become Sunday classroom teachers, teens step into regular serving roles because their confidence grew in their ability to serve, and men who might not have answered the desperate plea for Sunday or Wednesday children’s ministry servant roles jump in to serving with excitement. Some have even braved the stage and found that kids love their goofy attempts at each skit.

Just this last summer, I met a new family. They had just moved from out-of-state and were anxious to get to know people, so they strategically signed up to serve at VBS. Now, this entire family is actively serving at our church with three of its members serving in our children’s ministry. Each year at VBS, God shows us how He established His church to operate through the giftings and roles He has given us as a body. Each one being built up into the Head, Christ (Eph 4:11-16).

Whether you are hosting a VBS for five or five hundred, the mission is the same—to see kids exposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ and come to know and love Him. We know this takes willing servants who will be obedient to love and lead for the week. While this can be a stressor for many of us because recruiting feels daunting, the rewards far outweigh the cost. What better way to engage your church in fulfilling the Great Commission than spending a week serving side-by-side while kids come into your space each day to hear about Jesus? And what better reward than seeing kids come to know Jesus?

Guest post by Erika Solidum,
Director of KidLife Ministries, Lifepoint Church – Ozark, MO

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