4 Options for VBS in the New Normal

We’d all be quick to admit that COVID-19 has changed everything. We couldn’t go to school, couldn’t go to church, couldn’t go to work, and yet—believe it or not—there are a few things that have actually remained the same through all this. People are still hungry for connection with one another. God is still on his throne. The work of the church has not changed.

How the church does its work may have changed, but the mission of preaching the gospel and making disciples never changes. Enter VBS.

For 122 years vacation Bible school has been a consistent part of churches’ outreach and discipleship strategy. In fact, for many churches it is the single largest evangelistic outreach of the year. Last summer, VBS resulted in 59,026 professions of faith (based on church reporting data). Year after year it consistently accounts for 25% of all baptisms among Southern Baptist churches. VBS is not just a fun time for kids—it’s vitally important kingdom work!

In these times of uncertainty, people need the hope and assurance of the gospel. That’s why we’ve got to get creative in how we effectively—and safely—utilize this important strategy to reach our communities this year. Here are four ways VBS can still happen in 2020.


This is the “VBS as usual” approach. Go all in and all out! For some places it may well be that, by the time VBS rolls around, VBS can happen as it always has. You may have to pick an alternate date, but VBS can still happen as planned. You might even experience record-breaking attendance!


Conduct driveway, front porch, backyard, or cul-de-sac neighborhood gatherings. This approach utilizes church-member “hosts” in multiple neighborhoods throughout your community to conduct a small-scale VBS at their homes. This could be a great solution if you are able to meet in smaller groups of 10–20.


Embrace a creative approach using alternative timetables such as conducting VBS over five consecutive weeks (e.g. Wednesday nights, Sunday nights, Saturdays), as a back-to-school kick-off, or over Labor Day weekend or Fall Break. This approach allows you to still do VBS, but in a low-maintenance, low-prep manner.


Deliver VBS directly to the home. Post or livestream media-driven Worship Rallies to engage kids as viewers and utilize home delivery methods to equip parents to facilitate Bible study, recreation, and crafts at home.

VBS will most certainly look different this year, but that’s OK! It’s still worth doing! It’s worth it because the gospel is worth sharing—perhaps now more than ever. COVID-19 did not catch God off guard and I’m convinced He is going to use the hardships we’re experiencing now to draw people closer to Him and to prepare their hearts to receive him. I can’t wait to hear the incredible stories that come out of this year’s VBS!

No matter when or how you do VBS this year, LifeWay is here to support you. Click here to download a free eBook that will help you select the best strategy for your church and conduct your best VBS ever!

For more: Lifeway.com/4ways

This article originally appeared on LifeWayVoices.com and is reposted here by permission.

Melita Thomas
Melita Thomas

Melita Thomas serves as LifeWay’s VBS and Kids Ministry Specialist. A passionate advocate for kids ministry in the local church, Thomas enjoys teaching kindergartners and preteens at Nashville First Baptist Church.