By Marissa Postell
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — For many, Vacation Bible School (VBS) is the best time of the year, and many ministry leaders and volunteers are already preparing for VBS 2023. To help prepare these leaders to make next summer a game changer, Lifeway Christian Resources is hosting VBS Preview events to train, equip and encourage leaders.
According to Lifeway Research, 6 in 10 Americans say they attended VBS growing up, and 7 in 10 parents say they would let their child attend VBS at someone else’s church if they were invited. VBS remains one of the most popular church programs in America—and for good reason. Most American adults who attended VBS as children say they have positive memories of VBS and that it helped them understand the Bible better and positively influenced their spiritual growth.
That’s why Lifeway will host five VBS Preview events in four cities in January 2023. Each preview will include both English and Spanish breakout sessions to provide ministry leaders with opportunities to develop their volunteer team, gain valuable training and build momentum and excitement for “Twists & Turns” VBS.
“VBS Preview is the first opportunity to get an in-depth look at the resources and theme and get a jump start on planning,” said Melita Thomas, VBS and kids ministry specialist for Lifeway. “Plus, when you bring your team (or key leaders) to a VBS Preview, everyone gets on the same page and leaves pumped up and ready to get started.”
Three cities will host two-day VBS 2023 Preview events, spanning Friday and Saturday. VBS Preview events in Nashville will be single day events. 2023 dates and locations include:
- Jan. 6 – Brentwood Baptist Church, Brentwood, Tennessee
- Jan. 7 – Brentwood Baptist Church, Brentwood, Tennessee
- Jan. 13-14 – Sugar Creek Baptist Church, Sugar Land (Houston), Texas
- Jan. 20-21 – Travis Avenue Baptist Church, Fort Worth, Texas
- Jan. 27-28 – Ridgecrest Conference Center, Black Mountain, North Carolina
Registration is open at vbs.lifeway.com.
VBS Previews are designed to equip VBS teams for success. Leaders get to experience what a worship rally and family night can look like, learn VBS music, preview videos, dig into resources, hone their skills as a teacher or director, bond with their team and network with other VBS leaders.
Each VBS Preview event will feature a VBS Event Store where leaders and volunteers can shop for “Twists & Turns” curriculum and decorations. It’s the only place to shop for VBS materials in person. Leaders will get Preview-only discounts on VBS shirts and have opportunities to pick up exclusive VBS swag.
Through main sessions and breakouts, VBS experts train VBS teams with the tools they need to make this summer’s VBS a game changer, including helps for developing classroom skills, providing a safe environment for kids and recruiting and mentoring new leaders. Leaders will leave inspired to plan and execute a VBS that impacts lives for eternity.
“Trained leaders have a different perspective of their roles and responsibilities during VBS. They see their work through the lens of the gospel and understand how their roles present unique opportunities to build relationships with children that lead to gospel conversations,” Thomas said. “They understand how the pieces of VBS strategically come together to maximize evangelistic opportunities. Trained leaders learn how to share the gospel effectively with children and readily recognize ‘gospel opportunities’ throughout the week.”
Lifeway’s VBS isn’t just for kids. It includes age-appropriate Bible study and rotations for students (7th-12th grade) and adults. VBS Preview events offer sessions on these resources as well as best practices for leading Student VBS and Adult VBS.
“The more leaders and volunteers who catch the vision and embrace the ‘why’ of VBS, the more effective their VBS will be at reaching children and families for Christ,” Thomas said. “There is tremendous opportunity for reaching entire communities with the gospel through VBS.”
For more information about Lifeway’s 2023 VBS Preview events, including how to register and get discounted hotel rates (for a limited time), visit vbs.lifeway.com.
Marissa Postell is a writer for Lifeway Christian Resources.