Hermitage Hills Baptist Church of Hermitage, Tennessee loves Vacation Bible School—and knows how to do it well. In the past four years their VBS attendance averaged between 800 and 900 children. Trouble is, less than 100 of those children were unchurched.
In an effort to reach a greater number of unchurched kids, Debbie Stewart, Minister of Children, helped take VBS out of the church and into the neighborhood homes surrounding Hermitage Hills Baptist. The result was phenomenal. “We had 25 homes and over 640 attended, over 200 attendees were not affiliated with any church—anywhere,” says Debbie.
LifeWay’s VBS curriculum is flexible, and can be adjusted to meet the needs of your VBS program. Hermitage Hills Baptist provided each host home with curriculum and the basic things needed to conduct Bible study and crafts. “We did a three-day broadly graded program with separate homes for each grade. Everyone had a schedule with Bible study, crafts, music, and recreation. We enlisted two teachers for each Bible study and one teacher for each rotation. The host home leader was responsible for facilities, bathroom, first-aid, and snacks,” reports Debbie.
Due to the neighborhood connection, filling positions was not a problem. “We helped place people, but the host home leaders had participants on the team that lived in the neighborhoods, says Debbie. “We needed the hosts to be an active part of canvassing the neighborhood and building relationships with the parents of the kids. We understand the value of people canvassing their own neighborhood. People love going to visit their neighbors and getting to know them. It’s an investment in their neighborhood.”
You can turn your traditional VBS into a Backyard Bible Club outreach by following these four easy steps:
- Conduct a host home interest meeting
- Invite interested hosts back to discuss further
- Encourage hosts to build their own teams
- Promote with yard signs, posters, and neighborhood canvassing