Thursday, March 22, 2012

How Many VBS Leaders Do I Need?

Many churches have a VBS Director to oversee the program and to order materials for everyone. Good leadership is the most important part of any successful children's program. There should be at least three persons assigned to each preschool and early elementary (primaries) group, and at least two for middle elementary and preteen groups.

For a mostly-two- or three-year-old group, there should be no more than three children per leader or helper. Ideally, there should be at least one adult for each learning center or rotation spot (or whatever your VBS program calls for), plus the leader who will conduct the group activities during the meeting. In this way, each helper can be responsible for setting up, equipping, and teaching at a specific learning center. If it is simply impossible to recruit three or four leaders and helpers, you can still have a VBS program for younger children, but you may want a classroom-based program that does not have rotation spots or learning centers.

For elementary-age children, ideally there should be at least one adult for every ten children. Try to have a variety of people working with your VBS program. Make an effort to involve men in the program. Many people who have no children of their own, or have youngsters of a different age, might enjoy working with the children.

Teenagers and college students make wonderful helpers! Perhaps you know college students who are majoring in elementary or early childhood education. Let them intern in your VBS program for experience. And high school youth can also make energetic helpers.

Choosing top leaders

Those you choose as leaders should have a genuine love for children—and they should like them too! Choose the kind of people who can be depended upon to be there on time, always well prepared. Look for workers who will do their jobs enthusiastically and cheerfully, and will transmit their joy in Christ to the children who will be watching them so closely.

Assure your prospective workers that a willingness to learn is just as important as previous experience or specialized training. Then, be sure to give them opportunities to be doers—not just spectators. VBS leaders should think of each child as an individual and make every effort to know the children with whom they work. Teaching children about Jesus and His love is an important job—and it takes the best people you can find!

Organize a substitute pool

Organize a substitute pool from which to draw if/when a leader is unable to attend a day or any time during your vacation Bible school. There are always those who aren't available on a weekly basis, or who don't want to be tied to a schedule, so VBS is the perfect opportunity for them to help. These individuals could be invited to prepare craft materials, visual aids, or snacks. Some might enjoy coming just a day or two to teach songs, tell a story, or do something special. You'll find these people in many areas of your church—teen groups, singles, and seniors. Make sure the members of these groups are aware of the needs and of the opportunity to be of help—but don't make them feel trapped. Let those who do respond know you appreciate them!

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