You can never start planning too early for Vacation Bible School (VBS)! So much goes into hosting a week full of activities and children. You will want to have everything in place well in advance. It’s especially critical as you walk through the planning stages to recruit and equip quality VBS volunteers.
With so much going on before and during the week of VBS, it’s important to have a dedicated team of volunteers to help run the show. But where will all these volunteers come from? We’ll help you with 10 VBS volunteer recruiting and training tips.
Your church probably has a children’s ministry with volunteers in place. However, not all of them will be able to commit to helping with VBS. That’s why it’s important to start planning and get the word out early so you can obtain as many team members as possible. This team should include people who love Jesus, have great attitudes, are teachable, and of course, love children!
Share the Vision
Get the word out to your congregation. Explain the vision behind why you’re hosting a VBS. During church announcements, include the dates and need for volunteers, but also add the passion behind the why. When people understand how impactful VBS is to children (and entire families!), they may be more apt to get involved.
Contact Current Volunteers
Use your church management software (ChMS) to contact existing and former volunteers. You’ll be able to run a report of current volunteers and then connect with them via phone, text, or email. And since it is during the week, you may get volunteers who aren’t able to serve on the weekends but desire to get involved somehow. You can also connect with former VBS volunteers to see if they would be interested in serving again. Remind them how much fun it was last time!
Send Mass Communication
Another great thing about a robust ChMS is that you can send mass communications. Include information about VBS and the opportunities to volunteer in the church newsletter. Send a specific email with volunteer registration. Getting the word out to the entire congregation can help enlist people who have been attending who are looking for a place to get involved.
Host an Informational Meeting
Some people want to know how large of a commitment they’ll have to fill before they sign up. If you host an informational meeting, it can let prospective volunteers understand that there is a wide array of roles for VBS. They could be a part of the planning committee or serve the week of VBS, or both! Maybe they can only show up in the mornings; they could run daily check-in and then leave. The point is, having a meeting that shares the general overview and commitment can be helpful to recruit more volunteers.
Along with enlisting enough volunteers, you want to have the right volunteers. Background checks help to weed out potential threats and provide a form of accountability. Before you allow any volunteers to be present with the children for a week, you’ll want to have background screenings completed (and passed) and all volunteers updated with training and safety information.
To have a successful Vacation Bible School, volunteers will need to be prepared for their specific role(s). This is another reason why you’ll want to do the recruiting early, that way you can ensure that volunteers have enough time to attend training meetings, read through policies and procedures, and feel equipped.
Assign Leadership Roles
Aside from the general volunteers, it’s wise to assign leadership roles—including grade-level leaders, teachers, registration, marketing, and overseers for crafts, activities, games, skits, and snacks. A good leadership team will help shoulder the weight of VBS by overseeing key areas. This will help reduce the burden of only one or two people having to do all the work. Then, these leaders can pour into the other team members that join their team.
Host a Kick-Off Meeting
This is the time to motivate the troops! Here is where you want to define VBS and lay out goals, review the event outline, and discuss the exciting things planned for this year’s VBS. Take the time to pray as a group and answer questions people might have. Consider including food, fellowship, and a little fun!
Send a Training Packet
This is the complete guide for volunteers and should be part of an orientation manual. Along with the dates and times, you’ll want to include important preparation for your volunteers to review prior to training (see number below). Such items will include the overall VBS theme, lesson summaries, and relevant Scriptures. Include things like safety processes, discipline procedures, and rules (like dress code, picture taking, bathroom policies, etc.) Encourage volunteers to prepare for the event in prayer and reading the Bible.
Host a training session for both the leadership team and the volunteers. Have a general session with everybody to briefly discuss important things like safety, discipline, and rules. Then dismiss groups to attend their role-specific training. For example, the people helping with teaching the whole group or small groups would learn about how to do this effectively. Those involved with check-in could learn the system. (Sharefaith has easy child check-in!). Volunteers who are helping with media can get acquainted with any technical programs you’ll be using.
Schedule a “Dress Rehearsal”
Physically walk the volunteers through the different stations for the week of. Do a general walkthrough with all the volunteers so they can see how everything is going to happen. Review check-in, crafts, lessons, drama presentations, games, videos, snacks, whole-group rallies, etc. After this review, allow volunteers to go to their specific stations with their team lead to ask any last-minute questions. They can receive more specific instruction related to their role. This walkthrough should give every team member a very clear picture of their duties during the VBS week.
Need Help Getting Started with VBS Volunteers?
Whether you’re a seasoned VBS leader or you’re new to the game, Sharefaith’s tools can assist in getting the right volunteers in place. Our church member database can help you find current and potential volunteers and provide easy communication to keep everybody in the loop. Start your free trial today!
Don’t forget, Sharefaith has numerous VBS resources. You’ll gain access to any of our 5-day VBS Adventures. They will include everything you need to prepare, promote, and deliver your best VBS yet!