Follow-up is one of the best-kept secrets of ministry. Too often, we talk and talk about something to publicize it, then once it’s over, it’s over. Ministry leaders need to take the days and weeks following a ministry event to help solidify the work that’s been done. It’s part of the nurturing process and it’s a huge step in connecting, relationships, impact, and ultimately, discipleship.
Here are some of the ways every church can follow up after a week of VBS or other kids event:
Divide Up And Pray
Take your VBS attendance list, divide the names up and email the first name of a group of 5-10 kids to someone on the prayer team. Pray for these kids and families for a month following VBS.
Send Every Kid a Handwritten Note
Kids don’t typically get mail. Get a few volunteers (as many as you need) to write every kid a follow-up note. “Thanks for coming to VBS at _______________ Church. We were so glad to have you and enjoyed being with you for the week. I hope you had fun, learned a lot, and hope to see you again soon! Your Friend, _______________. If you had 100 kids at VBS, you can enlist ten volunteers to each write ten simple notes. Make it a party – have them all come to the church for pizza and note writing some evening.
Compile Your List – Mark Them Regular, Guest or Prospect
Working with a list is what follow-up is all about. Develop the system that works for you. Take the list of kids and mark them as regular, guest or prospect. Regular kids are ones you see around church involved in ministry. Guests are ones who were from out of town or attend another church. Prospective kids/families are those who came to VBS, are from your region, and aren’t connected to a church. Start with the prospective kids/families and work to get them connected.
Send Invitations to the Kids for the Fall Kick-off / Ministries
Send a letter to each child/family inviting them to a fall kick-off celebration. Here are some ideas for fall kick-off ministries.
Send a “Thanks” to Every Volunteer
Don’t forget to thank each volunteer who helped with the week of ministry. Here are some other ideas for “paying” your volunteers.
Share, Tag, Display, and Show Pictures From VBS
Tell a story with photos and videos. One way to follow up with the church is to make sure they see summer children’s ministry in action. Post pictures on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the Website (be careful with rules regarding the faces of kids on social media. If uncertain, get pics from the back of the room while kids are singing). You can also print some pictures and post them around the church. Tag your leaders in pictures showing them having fun while serving in ministry. And remember next year to enlist someone with the sole job of photography.
Get Next Summer’s VBS Dates on the Calendar
One great part of follow-up is making initial, broad stroke plans for next year. Get the event on the calendar and invite people to help. Sometimes the best time to ask people to help is to informally ask it during this year’s event, while they are enjoying the success of reaching kids!
Send Parents Follow-up Questions to the Week
Help families follow up with their kids by sending them some questions they can ask their children from VBS week. Here are two general questions that help kids grow.
Thank the Church and Cast Vision for the Future
Find ways to thank the church for opening the doors for ministry to happen with children. Cast a vision for future children’s ministry. Share stories of changed lives.