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Confessions of a Small Church Pastor

Saddle Ridge Ranch VBS set is taking shape


Debbie is painting the backdrop and set for our community VBS.  This year the theme is “Saddle Ridge Ranch,” which is available at LifeWay stores.  We partner with 4 other community churches — a Presbyterian church, two United Methodist churches, and another Baptist church — for VBS each year.  All of our churches have about the same attendance, which is under 100 on average, so partnering with other churches helps share the cost, provides lots of adult helpers, and lots of kids for VBS.

Our VBS costs have run a little more than $20 per child in recent years, and we anticipate about 100 children, plus 60-70 workers.  Here’s our schedule for the week of June 27 – July 1:

  • 5:00 PM:  Our bus leaves our parking lot to make the trip to this year’s location at Chestnut Level Baptist Church.
  • 5:30 PM:  A snack supper is provided for $1 per child, and $2 per adult to help working families get there together.
  • 6:00 PM:  VBS starts each evening.
  • 8:00 PM:  VBS ends.
  • 8:20 PM:  Bus arrives back at our parking lot in Chatham.

We start on Sunday evening to give us time to set up that afternoon.  We don’t serve the snack supper on Sunday, but Monday through Thursday nights we feed 80-100 people supper.  Each church pays a pro-rated share of the expense of VBS based on the number of children (not adults or workers) each church has enrolled for the week.  Usually the host church for that year spends a little more than the other churches, but over 5 years it all balances out.  What is your church doing for VBS this year?

Our community VBS backdrop for Saddle Ridge Ranch. A bunkhouse and ranch entrance will add to the western theme this year.

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Categories: Community, evangelism, outreach, Youth

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6 replies

  1. We are excited to set sail on a High Seas Expedition VBS (Group Publishing) this coming Monday. We are running around getting the final things in order. It has come together more easily than I had imagined…thanks to a great group of volunteers!! We are praying for 100 kids this year. That is a stretch for us, but we hope to serve as many as possible. Our small groups have been passing out invitations at our local Walmart. Come Monday, we will see how effective this method of advertising is. There are many churches having vbs right now…praying for all of you!

    • Susan, Thanks and I hope you have a wonderful time on “the high seas.” I love Group Publishing and their stuff — always very good material, easy to do, creative, and fun. Let me know how it goes.

  2. Chuck:

    Two quick comments.

    First, do you always do VBS in the evening? Until I read your post, I assumed everyone did it during the day.

    Second, what are your thoughts on the true “outreach” value of VBS? I find that VBS often tends to be full of church kids whose parents are looking for a place to get low-cost child-care.

    • We did VBS in the mornings when I came here 6 years ago and ran about 60, including workers. When we switched to evenings our attendance went to over 200 the first year, and had been in the 150-200 range each year since. Lots of working families in our area whose kids could not come in the day time.

      VBS is one of those things we do that has two purposes: 1) to teach our own church kids, and 2) to reach out. Our expectation is not for VBS to reach only the unchurched, and some do use it for “baby-sitting” but it’s always a fun week, lots of work, and the kids have a great time. Thanks for your comments.

  3. Chuck -

    We contacted LifeWay to get an old copy of the Saddle Ridge Ranch VBS curriculum, but it is now out of print. They suggested contacting a church that used it last summer. Would you be willing to sell us and send us what you have left over?

    • Bill, we do a community bible school with 4 other churches. The host church which purchased the materials had disposed of them last summer after VBS. Sorry we can’t help you, but good luck!

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