The story is told of the Irishman who came puffing onto the station platform just too late to catch the commuter train for the city. Quipped a bystander, “Too bad, Pat; you did not run fast enough.” “Oh, I ran fast enough,” gasped the Irishman, “The trouble is I did not start soon enough.”
This could be said of a number of Vacation Bible Schools during the past year. The last few weeks and days before the opening session seemed to pass so quickly that plans and preparations were not complete. Why let this happen again in 1962? The time to begin preparation is now.
For example, the registration cards for the past season should be checked carefully. Are names and addresses filled in completely? Is the spelling correct? This could be checked with cards of older children in the family, or with the telephone directory.
These cards should be carefully retained so that announcements of 1962 Vacation Bible School may be mailed out a week or so in advance of your next opening.
Registration cards form a mailing list also for sending out announcements of the opening of fall Hobby Class sessions, or to invite these children to your Rally Day, or other special functions.
If your D.V.B.S. closed with a successful Parents’ Night, why not try a midwinter Reunion to which these same children and parents are invited for a get-together? Bible School workers should be on hand to follow up previous contacts made, and the speaker should be one with whom the children are well acquainted. Such a rally forms an added contact with both the children and their parents.
Also, a meeting of the workers should be called as soon as posible after the close of the D.V.B.S. to review the work of the past season. A frank discussion is needed, to appraise the features that seemed to be successful and to consider the mistakes that were made. If too much time elapses before this meeting is held, details become hazy in the memory.
There are many complaints of unsuitable lesson material, especially where a uniform line of study is followed. There is, admittedly, not too much on the market that presents the clear Gospel in an appealing way. The more need, therefore, to start early in the search for suitable lessons and materials for the coming year.
Ideas for handicrafts and hobby work should be gathered well in advance, also. From time to time week-end newspapers or monthly magazines carry special articles on their children’s page from which suggestions may be gathered. Books are available at Hobby stores or public libraries giving helpful hints.
When hand-work is planned early, materials are more readily obtained. Wherever possible, look for projects in which a good Gospel verse may be incorporated. There is no limiting the life-giving power of the Word of God, even when appearing on a wall plaque or other novelty.
Even if you felt your school was running at capacity attendance during the past year, plan ways and means of handling additional scholars for the coming year. Remember every soul is precious and worth the utmost effort to be won for Christ.
Now is the time to enlist new recruits to help in your 1962 D.V.B.S. Remember that enthusiasm is as contagious as pessimism. Use an optimistic approach to your new prospects and they will catch fire from your warmth and zeal for the work.
The new helpers will need to be trained and instructed. During the winter months they could be shown how to handle the handicrafts that will be used during the summer. Also, they will benefit by helpful instruction in the teaching of the class lessons.
In many instances in the past, eager workers have found themselves unprepared to teach the lesson, or uninstructed in the handling of the craft work. As a result, their ardour is chilled by a sense of frustration and defeat. This situation might easily have been avoided had more experienced workers given helpful advice and instruction during the months preceding the opening of the school.
The value of careful planning and preparation is illustrated in the building of Solomon’s temple. This magnificent structure was dedicated to the Lord and was the means of bringing much praise, worship and glory to His Name.
Before the construction was started, David had given to Solomon the pattern, had prepared the materials and provided the necessary funds for the completion of the edifice. Even the stones were prepared beforehand, hewn and shaped to fit into their allotted places.
It is likewise evident that in Vacation Bible School, as in any other work for the Lord, wise planning and careful preparation will, under the blessing of the Lord, produce better results.
“Arise, therefore, and be doing, and the Lord be with thee.” 1 Chronicles 22:16.