Plan Your VBS

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VBS is a great way to connect with kids in your area, and we've made it easy to plan your VBS in Planning Center by using Registrations, People, Services, and Check-Ins!

If you're not already using one of those apps, sign up with the free 30-day trial, and then check out this video and see the rest of the article for more information.

Open Registration

First, set up online registrations for both attendees and volunteers. When you create the event, you will be prompted to set the name and the first date/time of the event.

Create Attendee Types

Add any other attendee types you need, such as volunteers. When you're editing your attendee types, collect important information about your attendees that will help you with the setup of your other apps.

Create Event Date/Times

From the Signup Settings tab, add times for your entire schedule for the week of VBS. These times will show up on the event itself.

create event

Set Up Assignments

If you typically break people into teams at VBS, you can set up assignments with filters. These assignments areas will be made into locations in Check-Ins when you start checking people in, which allows people to check in to the right "place" and have that "place" print on their nametag.

To assign people based on the filters set up for each assignment area, go to the Unassigned tab, and then click Auto Assign.

Finish setting up your event, and open it for people to register!

Share the Event

Once the event is created, you want people to be able to register. From the Registrations event, click View on Church Center and copy the URL to share it with people.


Sample Event

To see how we set up our VBS, go to the event and register yourself!

Email Parents

Create a list of parents in your database and send them the event.

  1. Enter your rules based on the kids you want to register for this event.
  2. Select household adults, so your list contains parents of the matching kids, since they're the ones you want to email.
  3. If you know some of the kids don't have parents in their household or have become inactive, check these boxes to include those people as well.

Once you create the list, send them a styled email with MailChimp.

Don't forget to email people who volunteered or attended last year!

Schedule Volunteers

Communicating with volunteers is key to making VBS a great week for kids. Schedule all your volunteers in Services, so they know the schedule of each day and where they're supposed to be.

Create Plans & Teams

Create a new Service Type for your VBS, setting the frequency to Daily, and add each day as a separate plan.

service type

When you create the first plan, use these tips to easily schedule people to the plan once they've registered.

Once your plan is in place, create a Secure Team, and add positions to the team.


Automatically Add Attendees to Positions

Once your team and positions are set up in Services, you can automatically add people to those positions as they register.

  1. Create lists in People based on the assignment areas from your Registrations event.
  2. Use automations to add registered attendees to their position.

As people register, they will be added to the list, and the automation will add them to the appropriate team.

Schedule People to Plans

Use needed positions to define how many people you want to be in each position. When you're ready to schedule, load all your plans into the matrix and click auto-schedule to add people into positions on the plans.

Once people are in their positions, click email these people, customize your message, and send an email to all your volunteers. The email from the Matrix will show all the dates and times, so let them know they can use the buttons in the email to do the following:

  • Confirm for all dates.
  • Decline for a day they won't be there.
  • View the schedule.
  • Respond to the email with any questions they have for you.

Check In Kids

It's time to greet all those people with smiling faces! From the Registrations event, choose how you want to take attendance.

Take Attendance

From the event in Registrations, click Attendance, and then choose how you want to take attendance.

choose event: assignment
  1. If you don't need to print labels, you can have a record of who attended the specific event by taking attendance in Registrations.
  2. If you want labels, choose the Checkistrations event that you want to create, based on the assignments you made previously. This event will be created in Check-Ins.

The rest of this section is based on checking people in with a Check-Ins event.

You can also create an event in Check-Ins separately from Registrations.

Pro: Events can have show at/hide at times, use balanced check-in feature, and use the Services integration for Volunteers.

Con: Registrations information, such as balance due, assignments, and missing forms, will not be carried over.

Check People In

If you create the event based on assignments, you can switch between team lists on the Roster Station.

switch teams

If you check someone in who hasn't registered for the event, they will show up as a Guest, but they will not be automatically registered for the event and will not show up on the list the next day. 

If your church uses the Church Center app, people can pre-check their kids in, and then simply scan a QR code when they arrive!

You can create a custom label to print when people check in. The label can include the Registrations attendee type, add-ons, and the VBS logo!


Check Out and Start New

At the end of VBS, check out kids using their security tag with a scanner at a Manned Station. On the Admin side, add a filter for not checked out to see who you might have missed.

not checked out

When you're ready to start checking kids in again the next morning, open the stations locked to the VBS event and start checking in!

Follow Up

Once VBS is over, don't forget to follow up with people who attended! Try these options:

Since there are never any contracts for using Planning Center applications, you can downgrade the subscription of any of the applications you were using if you no longer need them. All the information will stay in the application in case you need it in the future as long as you're still subscribed!

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