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The Impact of COVID-19 on VBS Planning

The story and impacts of COVID-19 has changed rapidly over the past weeks. Many of us have experienced closures of schools, public venues and our home churches. With concerns and precautionary measures on the rise in our nation, it’s difficult to discern how churches can best move forward with planning weekly services, ministry events and summer VBS programs.

Over the past week, we have heard from hundreds of churches and VBS Directors. Our social media feeds have been buzzing with church leaders swapping their ideas and strategies to plan VBS with the growing impact of the COVID-19 virus.

VBS is truly the most important outreach event of the year where more kids are reached for the Kingdom in one short week than the church does the rest of the calendar year. In our nation’s current climate of fear and anxiety, this is more important now than ever.

While none of us knows what tomorrow brings, we felt VBS Directors would benefit from the best ideas and strategies shared in these conversations.

What VBS Directors are Saying

We are scheduled for July, so we are going ahead with plans and if we have to cancel later, then we will just use everything next year.

Debra

We are continuing to plan. If when all is said and done if we cannot have VBS this summer then we may use the curriculum for a couple weekends or save till next year.

Freda F.

  1. First things first...be prayerful... and be a voice of calm. As a leader in the church, to families and to children your opportunity to set an example and minister is greater than ever before. It’s important to remember that while life is different now, it will not be this way forever.
  2. Keep moving forward with your planning and connect with key leaders. Do what you can to meet with your Pastor and leadership team while adhering to the latest CDC social distancing and health safety guidelines. Technology is amazing! Use it! You can plan your meetings virtually using google hangouts, skype, zoom, facetime, or a conference call.

    This is a great time to connect with key leaders and volunteers and make sure they are all doing ok and on board.
  3. Be practical and have a backup plan with alternate dates. Your VBS is likely in June, July or August. With 10-16 weeks between now and the start of your summer VBS, a lot will change! We all are taking this day-by-day.

    Almost all VBS Directors we have talked to are moving forward with VBS and plan to do it in some form or another. Keep it on the schedule, it can be an encouragement your volunteers, families and kids to have something to look forward to this summer.

    Meet with your Pastor and VBS team to create a backup plan with alternate dates in case VBS has to be rescheduled later in the summer.
  4. What VBS Directors are Saying

    If your VBS is in July it could be a great, or should I say, THE MOST important event your church could do to revive the fellowship spirit...All our events are canceled. (Community egg hunt, women’s retreat, youth retreat, everything is canceled!) so VBS in July or August is the perfect event to bring the family of God back together.

    Meli F.

  5. Be flexible and creative (limited group sizes, alternate formats or schedules etc.) Be ready to adjust and think outside the box! As a Plan B for your VBS you can consider creating an alternate schedule. For example, you could modify your program to a one day program with a cap of 10-50 people and rotate groups and kids through each day of the week until all the kids in your church have had an opportunity to go. There are countless ways to do it. Just be ready as information comes in, to take time to brainstorm creative solutions to keep this important ministry cornerstone in your kids lives this summer. Our VBS Directors Facebook Group has a community of people willing to share ideas.
  6. Promotional Product Ordering — Omit dates on your promotional material (postcards/banners) so they can be used the adjusted to a different date if necessary. Instead, where you normally would put dates and times, list contact information or a website where this information can be easily listed and changed if needed.

What VBS Directors are Saying

We may have to postpone if school gets pushed back.

Tricia L.

Our VBS is set for June 15. We have paused the purchasing of banners and invitations but, are continuing with planning. Just in case.

Donna J.

No changes yet, but brainstorming alternatives (ex. 5-weekend series).

Jane G.

Paused but will resume planning for an end of July VBS.

Kris G.

Concordia Supply's Commitment to You.

We are 100% committed to helping you serve your church and community with a VBS program this summer. We want you to have a No-Risk and No-Stress experience, especially in light of the uncertainty of current events. We hope our ability to offer you VBS Returns and the ability to Pay After VBS will ease some of the burden in your VBS planning and overall experience.

In closing, you have been on our hearts and minds these last several days. As we all do our best to navigate life as the COVID-19 virus sweeps across the globe, you are the people at the top of our minds and the subject of our staff’s prayers each day. Amid the onslaught of news to read and decisions to make, we imagine you must feel like we do - concerned as ever to stay safe and to remember the truth. There is much we do not know right now. But we do know this: God is good (Psalm 34:8) and God is near (Psalm 145:18). His love is faithful (Lamentations 3:22-23) and His Word is true (Proverbs 30:5; John 17:17). In a world where circumstances

and statistics change faster than our ability to keep up, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

Take courage, friends! The circumstances we face are real, but so is our hope — the always-true gospel of God’s love for us. Remember in this time of social distancing you do not have to be alone. Our virtual, but very real community of VBS Directors from around the nation is here for you. Join the Facebook Group here.

The Concordia Supply VBS Team

Questions Directors Are Asking....

Will my VBS dates be impacted by an extended school year due to the current school closures?

While the answer to this question is different state by state, educators are telling us that the school year will likely not be extended. Most schools are continuing classes via distance learning, and because kids are still in class and being educated virtually, each day of online instruction is considered an in class day. We recommend using this opportunity to create a relationship with local educators, reach out to them and see if you can get the latest insight and information for what the plan is with your local schools.

Will I be able to return my order if my VBS gets canceled?

Yes, we are honoring returns through Sept 1st, so if you are affected we will accept returns.