four choices in your church's DDPS this summer season The alternate – Bible Type

four choices in your church's DDPS this summer season The alternate

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In a typical church calendar, the transition to Easter often signals the rise to summer activities – none that are eagerly awaited than the Vacation Bible School.

But this is not a typical year, is it?

Church leaders rethink their future plans and set new priorities based on what's really important. But when programming needs and methods change, one thing remains the same: people need to hear the good news of the gospel, perhaps now more than ever.

According to LifeWay Research, Vacation Bible School is the largest evangelization event of the year for nearly 75 percent of churches. It also consistently accounts for a quarter of all baptisms among Southern Baptist Churches and led directly to 59,026 religious professions last summer! The impact of a single week of VBS is almost unprecedented in regular church programming.

Is VBS worth it this summer? Definitely yes! Will it look the same as it did in previous years? Probably not – but that's fine.

Let me explain four ways in which VBS can still take place in 2020. Each of these strategies is designed to help churches use their existing VBS curriculum to support VBS creatively and safely this summer. We don't know exactly how things will look in a few months.

If VBS rolls around, churches will likely be in different stages of reopening depending on their location and the recommendations of their state and local health and government officials. These four strategies enable a church to establish a VBS that meets the COVID-19 requirements of its government agencies.

Traditional DDPS – This is the "VBS as usual" approach. In some regions of the country, VBS may happen as it always has. It can be moved to a different date later in the summer, but VBS could still happen as planned. Churches could even see record-breaking visitor numbers as parents and children are equally keen to leave the house.

Neighborhood VBS – This approach uses “hosts” from church members in multiple boroughs to run a small DDPS in their driveway, porch, back yard, or cul-de-sac. This could be a great solution if only small groups of 10 to 20 people are allowed.

Alternative DDPS – This strategy enables churches to get creative when VBS takes place. Instead of five consecutive days in a week, VBS could take place over five consecutive weeks (e.g. Wednesday evening, Sunday evening, Saturday), as parents' evening, back to school or on Labor Day weekend or autumn holidays. This approach enables the churches to continue VBS in the church, but in a low-maintenance and low-preparation manner.

VBS at home – This strategy is based on technology, flexibility and parental involvement to bring VBS straight home. Churches can publish or broadcast live media-driven worship to attract children to viewers and use home delivery methods to equip parents to facilitate Bible study, study, and handicraft at home.

All four strategies are described in a new LifeWay eBook, which can be downloaded free of charge from www.lifeway.com/4ways. It contains practical help for churches who want to implement DDPS in a post-COVID-19 landscape.

Although it will certainly be different this year, it is still worth doing VBS! The opportunity to share the gospel with an injured world is too great to ignore. I look forward to hearing the incredible stories that will come out of this VBS because I know that God will use the difficulties we are experiencing now to bring people closer to him and prepare their hearts to receive him .

Melita Thomas is the VBS specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources.

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