I work with a woman here at Pioneer Clubs who’s been in charge of her church’s Vacation Bible School for 26 years. That’s a long time! I guess you could say Janet really believes in VBS. If you were to ask her, she would tell you it’s because of all the unchurched kids she has seen affected by it.

“Children, whether they come from Christian or non-Christian homes, have questions about sin, heaven, love and forgiveness,” Janet says. “For the first time in the lives of some of these children, they are introduced to Jesus and know that they are truly loved.”

That’s why Janet (and the rest of us at Pioneer Clubs) are excited about The Wacky World of Water VBS that’s coming soon. Kids, both churched and unchurched, will hear the Good News of Jesus and learn about growing in a relationship with Him.

In fact, The Wacky World of Water is all about relationships and can be a perfect entry point into the community for your church. Parents who don’t go to church will still send their child to a VBS program. Once the kids are there, your church can meet parents and get to know them.

Relationship-building starts with the way The Wacky World of Water is set up. Kids spend the whole five days in small groups with an older teen or adult leader, getting to know each other. All the activities focus on collaboration and cooperation, building teamwork. Parent take-home pages help you connect each day’s activities to the family. These have the wacky name “Parent Plunge” in keeping with the water theme. There’s one Parent Plunge for each day to let parents know the Bible points, crafts, games, and snacks for the day, plus what kids have learned about water, “Dr. Drip’s Water Tip.”

During Rush-n-Gush Games time, kids make Styrofoam boats, and parents are invited to a boat race on the last day. A great chance to meet church parents in a non-threatening venue! You can put together flyers to hand out to parents about upcoming events for them and their kids. If you add snacks or a potluck, you increase the opportunities for interaction between church and nonchurch families. Of, course, have staff roaming around to get to know newcomers.

It’s not just parents you can reach. If you choose to do The Wacky World of Water service crafts, you’ll be reaching others in the community. The Day 1 service craft is built-in outreach: Kids make invitations to VBS to give to their friends. Other service crafts help kids reach out to an animal shelter and to needy kids in the area. These projects can be a “foot in the door” to your community. Others will see you as a church that cares about people beyond your doors.

The Wacky World of Water has lots of tools to help you get the word out into your community. You can put up an outdoor banner in your church’s yard. The congregation can put up lawn signs in their yards. Place posters and postcards in stores, libraries and schools. Postcards can even go under windshield wipers in parking lots. Hang door hangers throughout the church neighborhood (if it’s allowed).

Make postcards available in your children’s ministry area so that kids can invite a friend. Encourage families to give them out to their friends who have kids.

All these tools are available to purchase at www.wackyworldofwater.org or they can be downloaded from the Resource CD and sent to a printer of your choice.

Families in your church’s neighborhood may go to your church’s website to see if you have a VBS. Create a Wacky World of Water VBS page, and make links from other pages like your children’s ministry page. Include the dates and times for VBS, and be sure to interest the kids by telling them to expect to get wet! Also, why not announce the dates and times via your Facebook or Twitter account?

When parents bring their kids, have a registration form to fill in with key contact information so you can be in touch again: names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses. Have plenty of registration help so some people can focus on meeting unchurched parents and helping them feel welcome. You may want to set up a station with iced tea and water, staffed by a friendly person from church, and hand out flyers about upcoming events.

Pass along contact information to your children’s ministries and support ministries. Don’t overwhelm unchurched parents, but friendly calls or emails will communicate that your church cares. Be sure to send information on upcoming events for them or the kids.

Look for ways to build relationships, and your VBS can be a wonderful outreach tool.