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It’s summer time, which means it is Vacation Bible School time! VBS is one of the few events on a church calendar that is anticipated and is vital to the life of a church year after year. It is an amazing opportunity for each church to share the good news of Christ in a refreshing and unique way to a large majority of the children in their community.

One huge aspect of winning at putting on a VBS is how you market and get the word out to the surrounding community. The primarily method of doing this use to look like mailers, yard signs, and word of mouth campaigns; however, in today’s culture, those timeless traditions, though still useful, cannot serve as your only form of marketing for an event of this magnitude. Social media marketing must be become an integral part of your plan. Now as a disclaimer, I am aware that things differ slightly for different areas and faith communities of different sizes, but please check out these promotion tips that should be useful for any ministry context.

VBS Leadership and Strategy

There are three areas that I would love to give you some tips in; however, before I do that I want to share an over-arching leadership principle. In order to win at marketing your VBS on social media, you must begin here with these two focuses.

1. Establish someone to head up this initiative. Also, make sure that person puts a team around them to help accomplish the task at hand. I know you are going to find a leader and coordinate a team that will set up the stage and build the props for the week. Furthermore, you will find someone else to arrange nightly meals and find families willing to supply those. Likewise, you need to find someone that has the gift of being a social media whiz and allow them to guide this process of overseeing the strategy and putting a team around them that will help in implementing it.

2. It is crucial to make sure you invest properly in the development of your social media marketing strategy. Paul shares in Galatians the following: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7 NIV)

This is as much true about VBS marketing efforts as it is about prayer, discipleship, or any other area. A leader reaps what they sow. If you find a leader to head up social media marketing and develop a strategy and follow through then you have planted well and will reap a fruitful harvest of awesome kids for VBS; however, if you do not put any effort forward and just throw up a hail-mary event post on Facebook two days before the first day of the event then you will not reap a fruitful harvest. It really is that simple.

Now on to the three areas that can help you win at marketing your VBS on social media platforms.

1. Shareable Videos

People love videos. Raise your hand if you have not lost a two to three hour period of your life due to a YouTube rabbit trail of videos. Exactly, no hands raised. People will always watch a video before reading a long event profile. If you take the time to create some videos for your VBS and have church members, volunteers, and parents share them, then you have a chance for word about your event to spread like a wildfire. The possibilities are endless when it comes to the content of the videos. Some ideas include:

  • Testimonials from past VBS students
  • Teaser videos or past VBS footage
  • Sneak peek videos of the theme, costumes/characters or stage designs
  • A video of the kids dumping a bucket of slim on the preacher’s head (Everyone would watch this by the way)

By the way, please don’t disqualify yourself from being able to do this. If you have a phone manufactured post 2010 (that’s all of you other than maybe the church organist) then you have plenty enough camera; hence, all you need to make this happen!

2. Countdowns

Countdowns are an awesome way to raise energy via social media. They help create suspense and also keep the event date on the minds of people who otherwise may lose sight of it. Countdowns are similar to videos in that the possibilities are endless. Two big ideas include:

  • Have a running countdown that counts down to the event
  • Do multiple minor countdowns throughout the process that reveal different pieces of information and exciting updates

Countdowns can also help keep sign up deadlines on the minds of forgetful parents; furthermore, helping you to make sure people are up to date on registrations/payments.

3. Advertisement Images

The simple act of sharing advertisement images can go a long way in the world of social media. All social media platforms give the user the ability to set their own profile pictures/background images. If you share an image with your teams, then they can make that image their profile picture/background image and it will be visible with all of their day to day social media activity. This serves as a constant reminder of your VBS for all of their sphere of influence. Before you stress over your lack of graphic design ability, make sure to consult with your VBS curriculum provider and look through your VBS packets, for the price you pay them, I am sure they provide a multitude of backgrounds/digital files that you can share with your volunteers.

VBS is a church-wide event that you must win. It is one of the best chances to share the good news of Jesus with a large audience of your community. If you want to help ensure that your community is aware/excited about this event then you must market well. Implementing a good social media marketing plan helps to ensure a great turnout and plenty of smiling children to enjoy the efforts of your amazing team. I believe these short tips/actionable steps can help you get the word out; ultimately, leading to a win in hosting the most fruitful VBS ever!

Lucas Pruett is a Jesus Follower and minister in the Atlanta area. He loves writing, serving, and wasting his money trying to not be bad at golf. You can contact him at writingonpurpose@gmail.com.

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