VBS DESIGN WORKSHEET
To book an event, you will need a minimum of 30 planning to attend. But to be the best steward of your investment, 50 or more participants should be your goal. When booking an event months ahead, it is difficult to know how many will participate. A presentation and a show of hands in Sunday School classes and other senior organizations or gatherings can help you decide if you want to proceed. Finally, I strongly recommend a sign-up/registration process to track expectations and preparation.
The 4-day format begins with my participation in worship on Sunday (sermon in storytelling & music, plus children's time and benediction) and a "come-back" concert ("It's Four O'Clock Somewhere!") on Sunday afternoon. The VBS sessions start with fellowship at 9:30 Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, with the Bible school sessions running from 10-12, followed by a light lunch (optional). There is an optional 3-day format of just the VBS experience (Monday-Wednesday) without the Sunday. A concert can be added to this format on one of the evenings.
I have been a storyteller, a musician, a humorist and a folk-theologian for over 50 years and I use each of these elements in my presentations. We will be studying Gospel stories from the life of Jesus and teaching them in contemporary context and application. Each session/lesson is comprised of two or three stories and songs. In addition, I teach and lead other music and add worship, commentary and humor to keep things going and flowing.
You will need a recreation/fellowship hall that can be secured and remain set up through out the event, Monday morning thru Wednesday noon. It also must be free of competing noise or movement during the sessions. Seating is at tables, and round tables are strongly suggested. We have used square tables when that was all that was available. Seating is 6-8 per table so, for a group of 80 the room would have to hold 10-12 tables with room to walk around. For the gathering time and meals, the chairs are arranged around the tables. For the 10:00-12:00 class time, the participants shift their chairs at the tables so that everyone can face the front.
Equipment & Materials
I bring all the sound, stage and lighting equipment I need. I also provide each participant with a booklet of the Gospel stories I will be teaching along with the Bible texts and songs I will be using. I can use a stage if there is one but I also carry my own small riser/stage that can be put in place once we see the arrangement of the tables. Table decorations would be nice, flowers or something festive. Dollar General has a variety of large round colored plastic tablecloths that will make the room look like a rainbow! I also bring some sets of colored pencils and some coloring sheets on the tables for folks to doodle with. A final suggestion on materials, a snack and beverage table (coffee, donuts) for the pre-session gathering time.
It takes a village. Well not exactly a village, but to get ownership and participation, there does need to be a team to organize and promote the event. While I bring all the equipment and materials I need, having folks in charge of promo/communications (scheduling announcements in classes and church, bulletin inserts, posters, etc) as well as meals and snack table, will make sure that there is a quorum of people already committed to supporting and attending the VBS. If the event is only driven by church staff, there is a chance that we will start Monday morning with just a handful in attendance. It has happened.
Cost for the event is $2800, plus travel ($200-$400) and lodging (3-4 nights - depending on format - motel preferred). Asking participants for a program fee can help. It defrays your costs and it helps your people to have a commitment and investment in the event.