Many churches are right in the middle of the Vacation Bible School season. This is the time of year where you may see a sighting of otherwise reserved adults dancing crazy, children making elaborate crafts, or even adults of all ages having fun with children as they learn stories from the Bible. This year we at FBCV asked our Sunday School classes (for the first time ever) to decorate one of twelve different areas that we wanted to have decorated for VBS.
They did a magnificent job, put in many hours making it special, and most paid for the decorations themselves. We had the kids vote on the best area (our reward will be given out this coming Sunday).Â Many older adults who typically did not participate in VBS, now were able to feel as though they were apart of the outreach effort (and they truly were.) Many wanted to know what the children thought of the huge hanger in the sanctuary, the smoking volcano in the fellowship hall (complete with orange glowing light), or the beautifully painted mountains in the childrenâ€™s building, etc. . .
Many weeks went into planning the big event, and thousands of dollars were spent making this a very special week. We had many kids who heard about the love of Christ, and we have a list of families to follow up with over the next few weeks.
With all the planning that went into getting ready for the event, and the effort spent during the event, at 12:30 on Thursday (the last day of VBS) I realized that I had forgotten one very important item that should have been on my â€œto doâ€ list.
1. Have an â€œExit Strategy.â€
The old saying, â€œWhat goes up, must come downâ€ is very true, especially if it is made of crepe paper, paper plates, and hot glued to the wall. While the church tolerated a massive hanger in the sanctuary, and may have even found it humorous, if it were to stay there very long it would have caused agitation.
The waterfalls in the Sunday School rooms were nice for the children but took up valuable sitting space in already crowded classrooms. So, without any real discussion, the decorations had to come down before Sunday. But by 12:30 the staff of over fifty were down to two, and I realized I had failed to establish a clean up plan. So all day Friday and most of Saturday were spent cleaning it all up.
Many times leaders spend all their time planning the front end of the event, but rarely think it all the way through until the last bag of trash is thrown into the dumpster, and the last chair is put back in place.
2. What you fail to plan, you get to do.
One of a leaderâ€™s main tasks it to think. They need to have the ability to sit down and be able to â€œconnect the dotsâ€ from one step to another, until all the steps complete a picture of a successful project.Â Experience allows one to be able to see more details. But, if you fail to spend enough time thinking through the details, then when you realize your mistake (and usually its right in the middle of â€œcrazinessâ€ or in my case when everyone had gone home), you are the one who has to do these tasks.Â Midnight runs to Wal-Mart for cool-aid, stressful conversations with parents who want their children but you canâ€™t find them on your campus, or all day Saturday clean ups are simply no fun at all (especially if you are by yourself).Â All of these examples could have been prevented if a little better planning had gone into the event.
Some times leaders know these tasks need to be completed and just donâ€™t want to ask someone else to do it. They may feel that others have done so much already and to ask them to do one more thing would be too much. But we have to remember that the church functions as a unit, and shares the load of ministry together. Typically leaders may say something like, â€œcan you help me out by . . . â€œ
But this is really backwards thinking. The project is a church wide push to reach children and families for Christ. Itâ€™s not one manâ€™s (or womanâ€™s) personal crusade that they are need to recruit people to help them do. It is an effort that the entire church should do because we all understand the mission and what we are all trying to accomplish for Christ. The Chinese proverb is so true, â€œmany hands makes light work.â€ When we donâ€™t ask others to do things we rob them of the opportunity to serve Christ and their church, and we get very tired. Â Most people are ready to work but just donâ€™t know what needs to be done. Next year, I plan to ask the Sunday School classes to decorate an area, and at the end to carefully take it down as well.