VBS Advice from Two Experts

As VBS volunteers we know there is nothing more valuable than advice from a seasoned VBS expert! That’s why we asked two VBS Directors – one from Missouri and one from Arizona – a few questions about VBS.

Read on below to hear their thoughts on everything from top decorating tips to how they recruit men to assist in running a stellar program!

Erika Solidum, KidLife Ministries at LifePoint Church – Ozark, Missouri

Erika Solidum
Director of KidLife Ministries at LifePoint Church in Ozark, Missouri

Q: What VBS could you never get out of your head?

A: Sin Messed Everything Up in a LifeWay Kids VBS a few years ago. The rap style and catchy lyrics have us singing it and using it year after year as an example. I only have to start the phrase, “but a sneaky little snake in a sneaky little way…” and everyone can finish it.

Q: What is your top decorating tip?

A: Let your church members use their giftings! If you can, put together a team and give them their budget. Let them get creative and you can help resource them. Delegating and letting others lead different areas of your VBS not only helps you, but it allows them to serve and lead. God uses this to grow them in discipleship and it serves the mission of VBS.

Q: What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned directing VBS?

A: Don’t compare. We live in an area where countless churches might even host the same VBS theme and curriculum. Do what you do well and let God use it how He has planned. He has gifted your people to lead at your church and He will bring exactly who He wants to hear about His love through your ministry.

Q: Should I charge an admission fee for VBS? Why or why not?

A: We do not charge admission. We build the cost of VBS in our budget and I am a firm believer in this. Yes, you will have families who hop from VBS to VBS because it is free ‘childcare.’ But, as with any missional outreach event, we want children to come and we want them to hear about Jesus. This may mean that you get creative to save money in areas to meet budget, but to love people in this way is worth it.

Q: What are the benefits of running an evening VBS?

A: Our church (even before my time as director) has always run an evening VBS. In the beginning, it was because of size and the number of servants needed. Now, it is because we want everyone to have an opportunity to serve. Men come straight from work, throw on their VBS t-shirt, and lead kids. Empty nester couples who still work are able to jump in and serve. Yes, there will be evening conflicts during the summer months. But, overall, parents can bring children without leaving work and more individuals in our church can serve. We love having our evenings together!

Q: How do you get men involved?

A: A couple of years ago, we started doing an elective type activity station model. This means that instead of the traditional recreation and craft time, we allow kids to pick an activity they are interested in for during that time. Men who would have never led a recreation game will come and teach kids about archery or survival skills (used during a safari theme week). It is always a blessing to see these guys love on kids using whatever they are passionate about while they teach them about Jesus along the way.

Q: How do you build up your volunteer team?

A: After directing VBS for a few years and seeing God grow our church, we decided to do a VBS leadership team. This team meets from the beginning and each person is leading a different area of the week. We build up this team by our focused time together, food, and fellowship. They in turn build teams of servants who fulfill the roles in each of their areas to make the week a success (snack team, Bible teaching team, crew leader team, etc). They carry this on and encourage their teams through little notes, candy bars, and treats during the week itself. We love our servant volunteers and we love seeing some of them become VBS leaders after a couple years!


Giselle Ryan, Radiant Church – Surprise AZ

Giselle Ryan
Children’s Pastor at Radiant Church in Surprise, Arizona

Q: What is your secret weapon for surviving VBS?

A: Laughter! You have to have a good laugh every now and then. It helps to put things into perspective.

Q: What is your top decorating tip?

A: Start early. You can never start too early when it comes to decorations.

Q: What is your best marketing strategy to date?

A: Make a cool video explaining how great this event is and play it on Sunday mornings in the adult service leading up to it. It will get the word out in your congregation so they can invite people and it will get you volunteers to serve!

What is your top tip for VBS directors? We’d love to hear your thoughts!


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