What strikes simultaneous fear and joy in the hearts of church staff and volunteers this time of year? Yep, you guessed it, Vacation Bible School (VBS). Anyone who has been a part of planning VBS knows the vast amount of time, resources and imagination that go into making these events memorable experiences for kids.
Unfortunately, all of that planning is for naught if no one shows up. Don’t overlook one of the most important factors of a successful program – promotion and communication.
“You can do anything, but not everything.” DAVID ALLEN
Delegation is the key to planning a large-scale event like VBS. And when it comes to tackling modern-day communication, who better to delegate to than your teens? In addition to their ability to spread the word, their involvement will also encourage the younger kids to attend when they see the enthusiastic participation of the teens they revere. It’s the perfect community service project for youth groups seeking to help in the church and wider community.
Roles to Recruit for an Awesome Communication Team
Public Relations. Look for the student with great interpersonal skills who is adept at interacting with adults. Tasks to assign this role include:
- Working with local businesses and organizations to see if they will display post cards and posters promoting the event. Any place with foot traffic should be approached: retail stores, libraries, swimming pools, rec centers and fast food restaurants are all good options for visibility.
- Many communities publish a local magazine and/or website that lists kid’s events. Your PR person should make sure your VBS is listed in all of those.
- Connecting with the community at summer events can be very effective. Fourth of July picnics, parades, and festivals are all great opportunities for outreach. Depending on your budget you can sponsor a float or a booth, or simply distribute your promotional post cards. These options can be identified, researched and planned by your PR person with adult leader oversight.
Photographer/Videographer. Teens love to take pictures (have you looked at Instagram lately?). Harness their inner photographer and assign them to:
- Take pictures during the event (you’ll be happy you did this next year). Make sure your permission slips include a photo release.
- Make a short teaser video from pictures of past events. There are lots of photo and video apps that teens are already adept at using. Set their creativity free on a 60-second teaser promotional video that can be posted on your website, social media and used in meetings and services to promote your event.
Webmaster. Many teens have a talent or interest in web or graphic design. If not, recruit your best tech whiz on staff to:
- Create a dedicated landing page on your website (ChurchforChrist.org/VBS for example). Include pictures from previous years as well as your promotional video. Use the page for all-information-VBS including dates, times, locations, agenda, and permission slips. The URL of the landing page should be on everything—your promotional cards, banners, yard signs as well as in your bulletin and on your church home page. All of your digital promotions—emails, social media posts, etc.—should link to this page.
In part two of this blog we’ll finish out defining your communication team and discuss various ways to get the word out to your member youth as well as to the wider community. Stay tuned!