Adventure Pals Blogs
Restarting Your Children’s Ministry – part 5
Restarting Your Children’s Ministry – A real-life example.
Today our church held its 3rd Annual VBS Rummage Sale.
Thank you, Lord, for a beautiful day!
This is one of those Community Outreach Events I’ve mentioned. We have stressed to the congregation repeatedly that this is the purpose (making money helps but is not the primary goal). They responded wonderfully when we asked them to bring in items to sell. There was so much stuff! The appeal also came with a disclaimer that stated we would not be returning or storing anything that didn’t sell.
It was a lot of work. Many thanks to the woman who organized it and to all those who helped sort, price, move, move again, setup, sell, talk, take down, and pray. While I think it would be naïve to think that we had 100% participation, I can easily claim of an overwhelming commitment to this event by the church people.
Was it a success? Well, that depends on what we were trying to achieve. Our goals were simple and straightforward.
- Primary Goal – Get the message out to the community that we will be having a free Vacation Bible School in July and any child they know is invited.
- Secondary Goal – Make money to help fund Vacation Bible School.
- Tertiary Goal – Get rid of all the stuff people brought in for the sale.
Did we get the message out to the community? Yes! While we didn’t have an overwhelming turnout, it was a steady stream all day. There were 20” x 30” professional posters for VBS in prominent locations and most, if not all, were personally informed about the upcoming Vacation Bible School in July. In addition, they were given a colorful 4×6 photo-flyer with information about VBS to take with them. Questions like, “Has anyone told you about our Vacation Bible School coming up in July?” and statements like “All the proceeds from today’s sale go to benefit our Vacation Bible School coming up in July.” were used to initiate conversations. Those without children the right age were encouraged to think of other children who might be interested in coming.
In addition, I had several conversations about our church and God in general. I met some neighbors I hadn’t met before. There were people who live locally but don’t attend any church – I invited them. There were two or three who were actually looking for a church – I took them into the sanctuary for a quick tour (Going the first time to a new place is the hardest and now that hurdle has been overcome.). I prayed with a woman who lost her husband this week.
Yes, it was a success!
Will we see any of these people again? I don’t know. But the seeds have been planted. They know we are here. We’ve extended the invitation and we continue to pray that it will take root.
Our secondary goal was to raise money for Vacation Bible School. Keeping in mind our tertiary goal, items were priced to sell. In spite of that we raised several hundred dollars which is the bulk of our VBS budget. Yes! It was a success!
We did not do as well with our Tertiary Goal. We sold a lot of stuff. However, despite being heavily advertised on social media, local bulletin boards, word of mouth, and road signs, we had a lot of stuff left over. We don’t have the room or the desire to store it so it has already been divided up and is being donated to several other organizations.
We are about 6 weeks away from Vacation Bible School. Almost everything is in place. As such, the VBS Rummage Sale not only gave us visibility in the community, but it reminded the congregation that it’ll be here before we know it. The church is getting excited. We had 63 children participate last year. Three accepted Jesus as their Savior. Our goal this year is 75 children and we want them all to know Jesus.
While today was a success, it is only one step in the process of restarting our Children’s Ministry. We still need to do Vacation Bible School well. But that too is not the end. The challenge is to encourage our VBS attendees to participate in Sunday School and Worship.