There are a plethora of options available for Vacation Bible School curriculum. How do you decide which VBS to use? There are multiple tests that a curriculum must pass in order to be suited for your ministry. Here is a guide to help you make the correct choice:
1. Choose a Gospel-centered VBS Curriculum
Look and see which curriculums are centered on the gospel. Every lesson in the curriculum should be focused on the gospel, continually helping children understand Scripture and learning more from it every day. While we would hope to find this in every curriculum, we do have to check to make sure that there is a solid foundation of Scripture behind all the bells and whistles of a VBS curriculum. Will children walk away from your VBS at the end of the week having heard the gospel and learned more about God? Does every activity listed in the curriculum point to the gospel message in some way? Choose a curriculum that you can preview to ensure yourself that it can do each of these things. If a curriculum option can answer affirmatively to these questions, then add it to your “Yes” list.
2. Pick a VBS Theme That Will Attract Kids
Take a look at the themes of the different kinds of VBS curriculum and ask yourself which themes will attract the children you hope will attend. Do you live in a very theatrical neighborhood? Look at curriculum that includes high involvement with both drama and songs. Would the children get thrilled over the idea of a sports theme, with a high number of games and activities? Then pick something that will keep your kids excited and active throughout the week. Find a theme that will attract as many kids as possible. This will help you narrow down the VBS curriculum list.
3. Decide Which Curriculum Will Work with Your Leaders
You can cut down your VBS curriculum list by deciding which ones will work best with the number of volunteers that you have. If a VBS curriculum is packed full of activities that are fun and engaging but require lots of leaders to run, then make sure you have enough leaders to pull it off. If you have lots of leaders, make sure they will have things to do! While you do have the freedom to add and take away from any curriculum, finding one that requires the least amount of editing will ultimately provide you with more time to focus on other parts of your ministry.
4. Measure the Cost of the Curriculum
Now, take a look at the cost of the curriculum. Decide if you want to spend more or less of your budget on curriculum, but make sure you put a priority on getting a solid one. There are always going to be creative ways to acquire more water balloons, sports gear, and craft supplies for your ministry, but it is very difficult to buy a cheaper and lesser quality curriculum and turn it into a good curriculum. Make curriculum a priority on your budget, and save yourself a few headaches.
5. Choose One That Will Maximize Your Space and Resources
Pick a curriculum that will maximize on the space and resources that you have. If you have a large amount of space, lots of supplies, and volunteers willing to build a set, then having a pirate ship theme is an exciting possibility! If you are working with only a few rooms and have limited resources, a jungle safari theme would work great (which would also give you the chance to decorate using affordable colored paper). Think about which VBS curriculum theme would maximize the resources you have available to you.
The Final Decision
By now, you should have a good idea of which curriculums would work well for your Vacation Bible School. Do you still have multiple options? Pick whichever one you want! By this point, you should feel comfortable with whichever selection you pick. While you will always have to adapt a curriculum for your needs, you should find yourself with several solid options that will make your kids’ summer both exciting and enriching as they learn about the gospel and have fun while doing it.
As you’re deciding on a VBS for your church, consider the What’s In The Bible? VBS – the only VBS that is specifically Bible-themed!
What’s in the Bible? VBS is a journey through the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation to discover the BIG story of the Bible – God’s Great Rescue Plan! – and what it means for us today!
One VBS – two options! Choose between a traditional rotational VBS or a family VBS for elementary kids and parents (featuring all new videos for parents from Phil Vischer!).
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Steven Knight has been serving in children’s ministry for over 10 years and is an experienced speaker, author, and workshop presenter. He is blessed to be married to his college sweetheart, Katie. His passion is two-fold: to evangelize and disciple children, and to train and equip children’s ministry leaders, all for the glory of God. He loves to share relevant articles and ministry tools with others on his blog, KidminTools.com.