Children's Ministry Resources


Newsletter Issue #21 --  June 29, 2016 



Mission Statement: brings over 25 years of experience to children's ministry. Our Bible lesson plans and activities are designed to lead children to Christ, helping them grow in their faith, so they can proclaim the good news message to the next generation.  


In today's newsletter:

Do You Charge a Fee for VBS?

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1) Do You Charge a Fee for Vacation Bible School (VBS)?

Listed below is a summary of your answers from our recent survey question, "Do you have an opinion, pro or con, about charging for VBS?" There were significantly more people against charging for VBS. But there are also thoughtful reasons on the PRO side. I hope you enjoy reading what your fellow teachers had to say!


We explain how much money it costs to run the program and then ask [our members] for a free-will offering. The families who can afford more, cover the families who can't afford it.

When you charge a fee, people are more consistent with attendance, and you have the needed supplies. Also you know how many will attend. I know people like something for nothing, but they do not appreciate it as much. When paying a little bit people are more likely to come.

We ask for a "suggested donation," but a child can attend free if there is no donation made. We also offer the congregation the opportunity to sponsor a child. (Editor's note: I love this idea! Sponsor financially, but then also commit to pray during the week for that child.)

I have charged $5 in the past with family discounts. Also work with families who cannot pay the charge.


We have a recommended donation per child, which we pushed quite heavily and marked which families had given so we did not ask again. However, we also marked those families that had financial issues to show they were not to be asked.

At my last church we charged $10.00. This money covered their t-shirts. I have found that children, whose parents have invested money, are more apt to attend. We also have people scholarship families who need support.

Scholarships are available for those who cannot pay.

Just enough so they will commit to it.

I am not opposed to doing so to help cover the cost involved.

We charge $5 per child which is for 5 night dinner meals. It helps on cost but when people have to pay, they attend. It also helps on counting number of dinners to prepare. If a child can't pay, that's ok.

We have occasionally asked parents to provide certain supplies Ö

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Editor's note: Many teachers commented, ABSOLUTELY NEVER charge a fee; the Gospel should always be free; itís an outreach to unchurched kids; some kids might not or could not attend if charging a fee; and many said they add VBS into their budget so they donít have to charge a fee. 

Other teachers elaborated:

I cannot believe that anyone would charge for VBS. That would be like charging to attend church. Where is the ministry of the Gospel? Jesus told us not to accept money for spreading his word so if we charge I believe it would fall under babysitting vs. a ministry for the church? Are we really that money hungry and lacking in faith that God will provide?

Charging for VBS is so would be like charging to come to Sunday School. We live in a lower income community that has seen a decline in summer sports participation in part to fees. If money is an issue, there are ways to put on VBS at a lower your own, do fundraisers, get on social media and see if any other churches have an old VBS that they could have or purchase. I know we have several VBS programs we would give away! We have a wonderful church family that supports our VBS with donations to purchase t-shirts for all the kids and staff, food and craft supplies.

We will never charge a fee, our community children could not pay it. We also offer a full hot meal each evening of VBS

Very strong opinion against. Theory that people will only value what costs them money is silly, and I am a CPA. Would like to provide opportunity to all, regardless of financial situation. Concept that you can provide support for those who truly need it requires someone to admit that they can`t afford. Again a problem.


Fruit of the Spirit lessons for children


No parent should ever have to pay for his or her child. VBS is a ministry, but if you charge for it, it reeks of becoming a business.

One church in town has their own VBS in the spring and they charge BIG time! Our church, when we had our own did not charge. In our church when a need is presented for youth ministries, the need has always been met financially. (It is workers we can not get!) Now with all the churches participating, someone from each church presents it to the churches and so far the needs have been met. Personally, I DO NOT believe in charging for the gospel. It was given to me free, so I want to share it freely.

My opinion is absolutely no fee. Pay for it with donations from church members, budget from the church board, fundraisers, whatever it takes, but no child should have to pay to take part in fun activities to learn about Jesus. Some of my best childhood memories are from attending VBS as a child. If we'd had to pay to attend, I'd never have heard, and had those precious seeds would never have been watered and harvested.

We currently do not, and we are working to keep the program free of charge. With the growing costs of putting on a program like VBS, we are looking at (possibly) having to charge in the future. We've switched to an in-house program, written by our Children's Ministry Coordinator, which allows us to A) personalize the program to fit our needs, and B) keep our costs under control. We've found that most of the packaged programs are written around the "give-aways" and support items that THEY supply, which meant we either had to re-write portions of the program, or spend extra funds to meet the specs the program...not always feeling like we were being good stewards of our budgets.


We take donations mostly to cover the cost of the dinner. Most times it covers everything

VBS is an outreach, why ask non church kids and families to pay? I have already gotten an email from an unchurched mom asking if her child needed to bring crayons and lunch to VBS and "how does it work?" I don't think this family would come if we charged. I did tell her we ask for a $ 5 donation if her child wants a t-shirt, we collect offering that goes out of our church to kids.

We don't charge, because some of our parents are barely making ends meet now and we fear they might stay away if we charged.

We consider it a form of missions, so we do not charge. We limit it to ages 4-15.

Armor of God lessons


We are GIVING the gospel - It is free to all that will receive it, so we don't want to charge. This is a church gift to those who may be lost. ALL of the church donates in some way if possible - so that ALL have participated in making it possible to share the gospel. Getting folks to come to our church is most likely not going to happen since they are in a town with plenty of churches. Our mission is to share the gospel with those who do not go to church at this time. We suggest churches to those that come to our day VBS that we know also preach the gospel and will gladly follow up with encouragement to come to their church.

We do not ever want it to be an 'excuse' that would keep someone away

Absolutely NOT. We use it to teach our "churched" children as well as ANY kids that will come--more about Jesus! It is our MISSION outreach to our community!! We average 300 and have about 42 adults come for our Adult Class . . . 

I hope you will glean the good ideas from these responses, in order to better serve in your ministry to children!

Your webservant,
Sarah Keith <><

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