Including Seniors in Your VBS

by Answers VBS May 25, 2022

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Many older adults feel they are too old to help with VBS. Maybe they can’t walk as well as they used to, or their eyesight prevents them from driving at night. Often the people I talk to in this group feel like they can’t contribute, but that is the furthest thing from the truth! Proverbs 16:31 states, "Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life." At my church, I have these lovely folks help with much of the prep work. Here are a few ways to incorporate them:

  • Craft Preparation

    With the crafts there are often items that need to be sorted or cut into small pieces. Seniors love to sit, chat, drink coffee, and take ample cookie breaks while doing this.

  • Photo Copying

    Copying coloring sheets, memory verses, craft patterns, etc. can be done by one or two people in an afternoon.

  • Volunteer Appreciation

    During VBS, we have some of the ladies who love to bake for others make treats for the volunteers. Everyone benefits from this!

  • Greeters

    Seniors love the energy VBS brings! Having them welcome youngsters and their families to your church is always a blessing.

  • Prayer

    Never underestimate the power of a strong prayer ministry with seniors. When you create a prayer chain just for VBS and update it every day so everyone is involved, God works wonders.

Some of these tasks seem easy. You may say, “I can just make the copies,” or “I don’t want to bother anyone, counting is so boring.” Stop for a moment and think how you can bless someone by making them feel included—to be asked to help and to be needed—and a vital part of this church event. Everyone likes to feel needed and often some are just waiting to be asked.

This group of people are also incredibly social. Tasks and projects are much more easily enjoyed in pairs and groups of people (often with coffee and doughnuts). The benefit to the seniors is that they have a social “event” to attend. The benefit to you is that you have more volunteers.

What you may see as a small task too menial to ask someone to complete may turn out as the biggest blessing of someone’s week.

Here is a story of Doris, a senior who was feeling lonely and discouraged. Doris’ husband passed away three months previously. She was new to our church, and decided to attend a “Craft Prep Night” where we were just sitting at tables organizing the crafts for the week. As she left, she pulled me aside with tears in her eyes and said, “I can’t thank you enough for this. I had been sitting at home doing nothing, trying to figure out what my week was going to look like. With my husband gone, I have no one to talk to. Tonight, I got to talk to a whole new group of people, and I have three lunch dates next week.”

What you may see as a small task too menial to ask someone to complete may turn out as the biggest blessing of someone’s week.

Angela Larson (guest blogger) has been directing VBS for eight years and using Answers VBS for seven of those years, beginning with Camp Kilimanjaro and continuing through the current Answers VBS program. She began her VBS program with 65 kids and this year is planning for over 250 children. She has a volunteer base of over 120 people and offers VBS to ages 3 (and potty-trained) up through entering 6th grade.

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