A friend posted a few weeks ago on Facebook that her church – Hamilton Mill United Methodist Church — was looking for more helpers at their Vacation Bible School because they were expecting more than 800 kids! I’ve taught at VBS programs since I was a teenager, and I couldn’t even fathom a VBS program being that large. So of course I wanted more info. Here’s what my friend wrote about her church’s program:
“We had 850 kids, 170 Youth volunteers (7th -12th grade), 150 adult volunteers, and 86 6th graders who did community service activities outside the church during the VBS time. They were all done at the same time. The have a planned drop off that all the children are dropped off from 8:30 to 9am. In a carpool line and the youth take them to their leaders in one of two rooms. The children have on a name tag with their group for example KA which is Kindergarten group A. Then the children have rooms to go to or centers (snack, arts and crafts, music and two big group worship service sort off that talks about the topic of the day. They rotate through different activities. Oh and there is a nursery and Pre-K group for workers (volunteers only). We did Kingdom Rock was the name of the VBS we did. Also the Director of Ministries has been at our church for many years. … Also on the Sunday night before VBS we have a meet and great for parents to come and meet the staff and their child’s teacher or teachers for the week. We even have people that are in charge of snack, carpool so each area has a director if that makes any sense.”
I’ve been teaching fifth graders at our church’s Vacation Bible School this week, and we only have about 200 kids, which is very manageable.
Another friend reported that her non-denominational church in Buckhead had more than 700 and the open registration (for non-members) filled in seven minutes! She got two of her kids in but didn’t get her youngest a spot. (They go to the church regularly but aren’t officially members.)
So I’m wondering: Are most VBS programs running 700 to 800 kids now? Is this because it’s a lot cheaper than a regular camp or sometimes even free? Why are they so popular? Are there churches running programs bigger than that?
How many kids were in your church’s VBS program? Why do you think they are so big?