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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

5 Lessons from My First VBS

 
One of the things I looked forward to when I stopped working full time was being able to be more involved with my church.  I grew up with my mother always being very involved in church, which made church feel like a second home to me.  So as the summer approached, I told the Children's Minister I wanted to help out with our church's vacation bible school.  She said "Great!  Want to be a director?". I agreed to, but first she needed to let me know what a director did. She told me that I would organize the lessons for each day.  That was it.  So I got a plan together, and learned a lot while executing the plan.  Here are some things I want to remember for next year:

  1. When you have more than 20 kids, break them up!  We had just under 70 second graders during VBS we needed to teach.  We had 5 teachers, so we broke up into four groups, and this worked much more effectively.
  2. Get a good roll sheet together!  The first day we worked off of one roll sheet, which proved to be really confusing.  On the second day, we made a separate roll for each of the four groups.  This worked much more effectively!  Each teacher was responsible for their single roll, and checked roll twice a day: once in the morning, and once before dismissal.
  3. Control the flow of parents.  Dismal the first day was HORRIBLE!  We had parents coming to us from every side, and what seemed like 20 at a time.  The next day I manned our door so that only three parents came in at a time.
  4. Give the teachers more responsibly.  The first day I tried to control everything.  I told each teacher what to do every minute of their class.  I even had the great idea that I needed to let each teacher know when they were to join us in the sanctuary for dismissal.  That was not a smart idea.  In the confusion of all the parents trying to get their kids, I forgot to dismiss one of the teachers.   We actually thought we had lost some kids, until we realized that one of the teachers was still in her classroom.  But during the short time before I realized my mistake, several parents became understandably upset.  The next day I let each teacher determine when they would join us in the sanctuary.  They each knew what time to be there, and each had a watch, so there was no need for me to micromanage them.  I just stood by the door and helped each teacher usher the kids in.  I learned that each teacher had a different way to run their class, and it all worked better if I just helped them on an as need basis.
  5. Spend more time with the kids.  Once I let go of running everything, I was able to spend more time focusing on the children God had entrusted us with.  I was able to talk to each on an individual basis, and learn more about them.  I grew relationships with the kids so they would feel more comfortable asking questions.  VBS is, after all, about teaching children about God and His love, not showcasing my managing skills.  During the week, God showed me how he works in children, and that his purpose for me that week was to be God's love to those children.

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