Adapting Vacation Bible School with Lessons Learned from 2020

In the summer of 2020, many churches became nimble as the spread of COVID-19 changed the ways they do ministry. What they learned continues to be useful for the upcoming VBS season.

In the Capital Area North District, Linworth United Methodist Church plans to host VBS with a few changes. The Rev. Brooke Hilliard, director of discipleship ministries, said, “With the vaccination rollout, we landed on evening classes outside for families, while our day care/camp kids experience VBS with their classes.”

By adapting a curriculum, the team at Linworth can, once again, supply kits for students to experience the study at home with their parents. “In 2020,” Hilliard said, “virtual VBS included families learning together in their homes. This year, we hope to continue vacation Bible school where parents and children learn together.” In the future, Hilliard looks to encourage enrolled families to connect with a new family to gather and study together.

Families learning together was a common thread among VBS programs last summer. In the Capital Area South District, Reynoldsburg UMC will offer a fun study for families with optional ways to participate.

A congregational survey showed more volunteers available in the evening. This helped leaders plan a successful program. This year, all children will receive a kit to take home to follow the study. Also, for the first time, the church will provide a meal for attendees, leaders and volunteers each evening.

With the expansion of the mission field, Reynoldsburg decided to livestream its in-person VBS gathering for those not ready to meet in person. Also, an interactive online experience is available.

A mission-outreach project is connected to the program. The church will do a school-supply drive, and for the mission project, VBS participants will buy backpacks to fill. The goal is 35 backpacks, valued at about $500.