When I got married this fall, I asked one thing of my dad – DON’T CRY at my wedding! It was tough for him, but he did great. My dad is one of those great spiritual influences in my life, a big part of my spiritual journey and story. He’s been there all along the way, and I knew he’d struggle not to cry giving away his youngest daughter in marriage.
Recently, my husband Nic and I inherited for our home what Nic would call “the Jesus chair.” It’s the La-Z-Boy recliner my parents bought 31 years ago. It’s quite worn in and, by some standards, broken. It’s seen 3 or 4 different chair coverings, and many different living rooms along the way. This is the chair where I sat in my dad’s lap as he led me to the Lord when I was ten years old. Very cool that this chair can be apart of our new home and keep me comfortable as I write this blog. The chair itself had no real life-altering power, but God definitely used it for His glory in my own life, and it’s been a continual reminder of God’s faithfulness across the years.
For me, it was a la-z-boy. At camp, I’ve seen God use a wiffle ball bat, a parachute game, a Frisbee, an “I’m a Christian now” book in the CK Store, a bowl of cake batter and a hand mixer on stage, the list goes on. It’s really not about the physical things, but the people who are ready and willing to be used by God as instruments for sharing the Gospel with others. We all have those things, those people in our lives. Who and what are yours?
Have you thought lately about how God might use you to be that instrument for a kid at church, or a camper this summer? What an honor that God allows us to be those people for so many kids at church and at camp!
Here’s a story we received during our “Day After Thanksgiving” contest. This is our hope in partnering with you for a week of ministry: that it is not just a week of camp that ends on Friday, but is a jumping off point for continued ministry to come. I love hearing stories about what happened with groups after camp, and this is one of those stories…
“We’ve been attending CentriKid Camp for several years and have seen God use this week of camp to be the time when some kids invited Jesus into their lives as their Savior, and for some, it has been a week of renewing their desire to walk daily with Him. This past summer we saw all of these things happen in th lives of our kids. We had four children to ask Jesus be their Savior…two at camp and two once we returned home. We’ve had several of our kids begin to have daily quiet times as a result of being challenged to make this a priority in their lives while at camp. One of students who attended camp this summer recently shared in our Wednesday worship time that God used CentriKid Camp this year to inspire him to take his faith to his friends at school. He is now leading a weekly Bible study on Friday afternoons for about 30 other students who stick around after school to invest their lives in God’s Word…WOW!!! There is a long list of reasons I love this camp and continue to make it a part of my ministry, but the most significant reason is what I see happening each year in the lives of our kids.”
We are very excited about bringing the Team Assistant Program to all our CentriKid Camps this summer! We believe this is going to be a huge win for our church groups in a variety of different ways. Personally, I’m most excited about the opportunity for our CentriKid staff to invest in the future leaders from your church! Think about it- for an entire week, the high school student(s) you bring will get a chance to work alongside one of the CentriKid Staff. Staff members are chosen from a highly competitive pool of applicants. They have a huge interest in building relationships with kids and sharing the love of Jesus Christ with them. Not only that, but they are also leaders in some capacity back at home. These are people that you want your young students to admire, respect, and hopefully emulate. In today’s world, positive, Godly influences are becoming fewer and fewer. We want this program to ease the challenge of finding adult sponsors and become a trusted program where students, kids, and adults can see and experience the influence of God in their life through our staff. So…have you decided? Do you already know who you are going to bring as Team Assistants? What do you want these students to ultimately walk away with? Comment and let us know!
Details have just been released about LifeWay’s Kids Ministry Conference in Birmingham, AL on October 11-13, 2010. Sign up now for this great event. All the information about this conference is found at the Kids Ministry 101 blog hosted by Bill Emeott. http://blogs.lifeway.com/blog/kidsministry101/
We want to hear from you ….what do you look for in a conference? Share it with us and we’ve got time to work on making it happen this year!
When you work with kids in ministry, many children’s ministers are looking for better ways to get the message across. We’ve taken some great tips from CentriKid Camp staffers and even shared a few phrases not to use. Here are 5 of our recent posts geared to challenge your thinking and help you communicate better with kids:
1. Effective Stories: Here are 5 tips for crafting top-notch stories/illustrations.
For any of these posts, please share with us how you’ve defined these concepts for kids….and please comment here if there are other tricky words you can share with us that confuse kids.
John 1:12 tells us that “to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name…” Kids understand what it means to be a kid in our world. They understand how to handle school and family responsibilities. They know how they like to have fun, and they know what they are allowed to do and what they aren’t. But, what does it mean to be a child of God? In the Summer of 2010, that’s the question we’ll answer at CentriKid Camps. We’re going to look at what it means for us that the Lord calls us His children. We’ll concentrate on the fact that He has adopted us as His own. We’ll look at the ways that He is constantly changing us and molding us for His purposes. We’ll look at the fact that He has made each of us incredibly unique. Most of all, we’ll learn to just celebrate the fact the He is our God, and we are His kids… Bon Appetit!
We’ve come to the final post in our Taboo Words series, although I’m sure there are plenty more. This one is one of my favorites, because it is definitely a phrase I hear frequently. My first summer as a camp staffer, I overheard a conversation centered around this concept. I was helping in the decision room after our time of worship one night, which means I stood at the door, passed out pencils and cards as campers came in accompanied by staff or an adult from their church, and monitored what went on in the room. One of my friends on staff came in with Stephen, a little boy we had been praying for all week. They sat close enough to where I was stationed for me to hear their conversation. I listened as my friend asked Stephen what it meant to be a Christian, what sin is, and why Jesus died on the cross. Stephen knew the decision he wanted to make. Then my friend said, “Now all you have to do is pray to be born again!” Stephen immediately put on the brakes.
“…But I love my family. If I’m born again I’ll have a new mom and dad because my parents don’t want any more kids. I don’t want to be born again.”
“Now all you have to do is pray to be born again!”
“You have to start life all over. Nothing from this life will be the same. Say goodbye to your mom and dad. You are getting a new one because you have to be born again.”
“No, Stephen, you don’t have to be born again like you were born into this world. When you become a Christian, God gives you a new life in Him. He makes you a “new creation.” You will still look the same, but the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of you and helps to make you become more like Jesus…”
Stephen ended up praying to be “born again” that night. I hope these four funny stories help you remember to always explain the concepts you present to your group fully. I learned that the hard way. I’d also add to this list “be saved” and “accept Christ.” When used apart from an explanation, these can be hard to understand for a concrete thinker.
What other words have you used or heard someone else use that could be “Taboo Words”?
“Redeemed how I love to proclaim it! Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb” –Redeemed How I Love to Proclaim It
“Here I am humbled by Your Majesty/Covered by Your grace so free/ Here I stand knowing I’m a sinful man/ Covered by the Blood of the Lamb” –Delirious-Majesty (Here I Am)
How many times do we talked or sing about being “covered by the blood of the Lamb” in a month? It doesn’t seem to be a regular topic of conversation, but it definitely comes up. I was a teaching a kindergarten Sunday school class last year, and a little girl named Sarah Kate asked me what this means. It went like this:
“Miss Mary… you know that song today that said “covered by some blood” or something?”
“Yes I do, Sarah Kate. It said “Covered by the Blood of the Lamb.”
“If I believe in Jesus, do I have to be covered in blood? My dad put blood on my brother’s face when he killed his first deer, and that was really really gross. I don’t want that to ever happen to me, even if it is a lamb and not a deer!”
“We are covered by the blood of the Lamb.”
“You have to be covered in the red, nasty blood of a farm animal if you want to be a Christian.”
This was a great chance to explain that Jesus shed His blood for us. He was the sacrificial lamb in our place. We do things that are not what God wants us to do, and because of those sins, we don’t deserve God’s love or to live forever with Him. He sent Jesus to take the punishment that we deserved for these bad things. Before Jesus died on the cross, a sacrifice was required for people to be right with God. They would kill a spotless animal like a lamb to be forgiven of their sins. Jesus was that sacrifice for us. His blood was shed for us, and we are “covered” in it, so that when God looks at us He doesn’t see our sin, but He sees Jesus’ perfect blood covering up our sins.
Sarah Kate’s gears were turning as she was learning more about what it meant to be covered by the blood of the lamb. I was really surprised by her question and how much that one phrase had stuck with her. I’m glad she asked, but I wonder how many other kids who hear a phrase during a song or a message and don’t fully understand what is being said.
What is one question that you have been asked that surprised you?
Well, we are only a few months out from camp, which means it’s time to give you the information you need to get ready for an exciting week or weekend with CentriKid Camps of “Bon Appetit: God’s Recipe for Your Life.” You can now access Group Leader information at http://www2.lifeway.com/centrikid/index.php/group-leader to get the most up-to-date information about your week of camp. Check it out!
I was recently reading Michael Hyatt’s blog (CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers) and something he said resonated with me. “My personal philosophy is that if you aren’t continually reinventing yourself, your company, and your brand, it’s only a matter of time before you become obsolete, irrelevant, or go out of business.”
The truth is that change for some people is hard and for others they love it, embrace it, live for it. I am one of those. I don’t believe in change for change sake but I believe strongly in being open and willing to the new, the next. To change with the world and culture in order to be reach people. If we want to be relevant we must be willing to change.
Too many people see the future as the past. Don’t get me wrong I fully believe that you must know, understand, and embrace your history. However, you can’t let the past keep you from being relevant.
I have a masters in music, classically trained but I go to a church where we never sings hymns, have no choir, organ, or have ever sung anything classical. I like hymns and classical music but I also love jazz, pop, new country… More importantly the mission of our church is to reach non believers. So we meet them where they are.
At CentriKid Camps our past is relational ministry. We believe life change takes place best in the context of relationship. We will never change that. If you come to CentriKid your kids will get one on one attention and be challenged in their faith. However, we continue to change our presentation. We have bands, lights, great sound, sets, and continue to invest in these and other things. We understand that the visual is so important to kids.