Let’s get ready for VBS part 5

Have a brainstorming session!

Now that you’ve got the framework in place for your VBS plans – your message, your teaching model, your visual theme, you might consider having a brainstorming meeting to generate as many ideas as possible for your program.

The process of brainstorming itself is a free-writing exercise designed to “turn off” the inner critic we all seem to have. When our brain generates an idea, immediately we attach a judgment to it. “Oh that’s great!” or “No that’s a stupid idea.” Or even, “Humph! That would take too much work!”

Brainstorming allows us to bypass that  judgment process to get as many ideas down on paper in a short period of time as possible. Because it  tends to become a game or fun activity,  the participants are more relaxed. You will be amazed at how many great ideas this process generates.

Here’s how it works:

First – emphasize to the group that there are no right or wrong, good or bad ideas.  Every idea has merit and even if it isn’t chosen for your program, it might work well in a future program

Next  – Make a list of categories across the top of a blackboard, dry erase board or a large sheet of paper. Categories might include:

Games – Snacks – Crafts – Activities – Decorations – Prizes – Publicity  –  or anything connected with your VBS

Distribute a stack of 3 x 5 notecards of slips of paper to each person present at the planning meeting. 

At the signal, they are to quickly jot down as many ideas as they can for the VBS. Remind them not to worry about categorizing their ideas right now. That will be a later step.

They are to place only one idea on each slip of paper and write down whatever comes to mind without stopping to critique that idea. If their idea is long and involved, they should just write down a few  key words on each card, using several cards to get it all down.  Remember the key is to generate as many ideas as possible, not to elaborate on them at this point.

Set a time limit of no more than 5 to 10 minutes.

At the end of the time,  collect the cards and shuffle them up so no one knows knows who wrote down each idea. Read each card aloud and have the group assign it to a category.

Divide the group into committees to develop plans for each area of the program and distribute the idea cards They will use their idea cards to build a plan for their program. During this time, the small group will choose the ideas which work best for this particular program. they might shelve other ideas for use in a later program. They also highlight ideas which they want to develop further.

Usually the brain storming process will generate even more creative ideas as the excitement and enthusiasm builds during the planning portion of the meeting. Often ideas which weren’t even listed will be generated  and implemented into the plan as the small group narrows its focus.

Brainstorming is a great way to involve people and give them a sense of ownership in their D-I-Y  Vacation Bible School program.

Step 5: Brainstorm to generate program ideas.

In a new series starting next week, we will discuss writing your own teaching materials for your VBS program

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