With each new theme comes an exciting opportunity to wow your volunteers and kids with a fun new environment. VBS decorations are more than just fun—they also give kids important cues about the Bible stories. However, it’s not always easy to find the right decorations within a church’s VBS budget.
Review Last Year’s Feedback
Before you start putting together your 2018 VBS decorations wish list, take time to reflect on the decorations your church used last year. Reach out to last year’s volunteers, students, parents, and church members to see what they remember most about previous VBS decorations. Ask everyone for their feedback separately, and then compare responses to determine trends or patterns. By looking back, you’ll be able to make the most of your time and resources for this year’s VBS.
As you review last year’s decorations with different members of your church, here are some questions to ask:
- What decorations stick out most in your mind? What did you like about them?
- Were there any decorations that everyone loved?
- Which decorations took the most time to assemble? Was the time worth it?
Dissect Decorating Guides
With your church members’ feedback in mind, the next step is to take a critical look at the decorating resources provided by your publisher. Think about the items that made a big impact last year and look for similar items in this year’s catalog. As you browse through the pages, think about the skill set and availability of your church’s decorating volunteers. Start making a list of which projects are realistic for your group to make on their own and which might be easier to create using premade elements.
In this step, balance is key. You may not be able to purchase all the decorating items in your publisher’s VBS catalog, so narrow your focus to items that will make a big impact and items that can’t be found anywhere else. Look for items that are general enough to have a long lifespan and sturdy enough to last through a few children’s ministry events.
Segment Your Supply List
Once you have a good idea of what decorations you’ll be using, make a shopping list. It might be helpful to divide your list into three sections:
- Items to purchase
- Items to make
- Items to borrow
Don’t be afraid to ask for help for any of these three categories. Your church family wants to be involved! Publicize your list of needs in your church newsletters, Facebook group, bulletins, website, and bulletin boards, and ask people to purchase, make, or lend items. Many publishers also provide materials like supply request tags within your director materials. Write down the items you need on the tags. Hang them on a themed bulletin board or at your registration table display. Invite people to claim a tag, promising to purchase or lend the item(s). Also, be sure to collect donated items in a visible location, such as boxes placed in the foyer.
Stretch Those Decorating Dollars
Check garage sales, thrift shops, estate sales, and church storage areas for decorations you need. Go online and search Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for items. Be sure to take a look at Pinterest for inexpensive DIY decorating ideas. You can also ask for donations or loans from local businesses. Consider providing a fun promissory note, and be sure to return borrowed items promptly.