Archive for September, 2010

Sep

29

2010

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It’s Only 12 Days Away!

Can you believe it’s only 12 days until the LifeWay Kids Ministry Conference? We have so much to be excited about! Here are the top 10 reasons why we can’t wait for October 11th!

10. See the sights and sounds of Birmingham!

9. Focus on new Children’s Ministers: Whether you are a new Children’s Minister or have been ministering to children for years, there are a wide variety of breakout sessions that will give you great ideas and insight into your ministry!

8. Make some new friends: Attend sessions and workshops with people who share in your heart for Children’s Ministry.

7. Meet Roadie: If you came to the LifeWay Kids Ministry Conference last year, you probably got your picture taken with Roadie. No need to worry, he’ll be back!

6. VBS Premiere: Be one of the first to hear the music and experience the atmosphere for LifeWay’s 2011 VBS…Big Apple Adventure!

5. We’re having a “Tweet Up”! If you’re anything like me, you don’t know what a Tweet Up is…so here’s an explanation: A Tweet Up is a chance for all of our twitter followers to meet up and chat. We will post via Twitter the time and place!

4. Getting out of the office: Here in the CentriKid office, we love our jobs! We also love to spend time outside of the office getting to know Children’s Ministers. We can’t wait to meet you!

3. Exhibit Hall giveaways: So many booths, so little time! Make sure you stop by our CentriKid booth for some fun surprises that you can take home!

2. Potentially walking away with a new iPad: The winner of the contest will be announced!

1. Worship and Inspiration: leave feeling recharged and ready for a new year of Children’s ministry!

 

Jen Hall

Jen graduated from Morehead State University, and has worked at CentriKid Camps since 2007.

Sep

27

2010

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Why Twitter? | Part One

I find that people think one of two different things about Twitter: they don’t like it (and don’t understand the purpose of it) or they do enjoy it and find it useful.  Fair enough.  But maybe you’re “middle of the road” and could go either way.  You don’t have enough info to dislike Twitter … but you don’t have info to really like it, either.

Let’s start off with a quick lesson, just to make reading this post (about Twitter) worth your time:

Twitter – Social media Web site that lots of people are talking about these days

Tweet – a short, quick message about almost anything in the world; has to be 140 characters or less (Example: The Kids Beta Conference begins! Pray as the Lord uses this opportunity to grow children’s ministry leaders!)

So, hopefully I’ve debunked the misconception that Twitter is a Web site that lets you listen to a choir of birds chirp all day. But if that’s what you thought it was, don’t be ashamed… because you’re really not that far off base. By definition, “twitter,” as a verb, refers to a bunch of quick, short chirping sounds. In contrast, Twitter, the Web site, lets users post quick, short messages about…anything. You see the similarities? Quick, short. That’s Twitter in a nutshell.

Check out this quick video about Twitter that really walks you through the how and why…

Interesting video, huh?  I like how the video emphasizes that Twitter is great for people who want to know about the “little things” going on in the lives of people they love.  I then ask the question … How could we (CentriKid) use Twitter to keep up with people involved in our ministry that we love?  How could you, as a children’s minister, use Twitter to keep up with families in your ministry that you love?

But how, you may ask, is Twitter different from Facebook or blogging?  You can keep up with people you care about through Facebook and blogs!  Fair enough…  But here’s what I think the big differences are among the three:

Blogging – online journal (or diary); endless amount of space to write, upload pictures, upload videos; in-depth content

Facebook – mobile- and computer-based; upload pictures and videos; play games; keep up-to-date with your friends via the Facebook newsfeed

Twitter – mostly mobile-based; “tweets” have to be 140 characters or less; can link to photos, videos, other Web sites

I think all of these social media platforms are great mechanisms for connecting and being relational.  What I especially like about Twitter, however, is the “apparent” immediacy.  Since it’s almost entirely mobile-based (two-thirds of active users “tweet from their phones), I wonder if information isn’t shared a little bit quicker via Twitter.

Bottom line: I think it’s okay to use multiple programs for connecting with people (Facebook, Twitter, blogging).  Where you may reach one audience that primarily blogs, you’re likely to reach a completely different audience through Facebook … and Twitter.  The best news of all … it’s all free!

I encourage you to give Twitter a try… and see how you could use it to keep up with/inform those people in your family/ministry/life.

Stay tuned for a “Part Two” on a step-by-step of how to set-up a Twitter account.



The LifeWay Kids Ministry Conference :: Guest Blog: Klista Storts

October 11-13 feels like only days away now! We can’t wait to join you guys in Birmingham and to hear the heartbeat of children’s ministry, talking about our triumphs and struggles. One of our trainers for children’s ministry, Klista Storts, had this to say about the conference…

 “We’ve just wrapped up a three-day conference in Nashville with new childhood ministry leaders from across the country.  I enjoyed every minute and the hardest part was saying good-bye!  Part of our Childhood Team’s mission statement is to encourage and champion children’s ministers – probably my favorite part of my job!  Along with building relationships, our goal for this event is to equip new leaders with practical helps for their ministries.  The difficult part is trying to cram everything they need in to three short days!  Just can’t be done!

So…I’m excited to remind them (and you!) of another way they can network with each other and gain some practical and very valuable help along the way.  Our LifeWay’s Kids Ministry Conference (just three short weeks away) will be offering more than 50 breakouts  – many of which will be especially helpful to new children’s leaders. We even get down to the nitty gritty stuff, like budgeting – in “Making Sense of your Dollars: Budgeting for Children’s Ministry.” Other sessions especially helpful to new ministers include:

  • Help! I Can’t Do This Alone!
  • Bridging the Gap Between Family and Church
  • 10 Essential Leadership Tips
  • Putting Excellence into Your Ministry; and
  •  Evaluating Your Ministry

There are so many more – but I’m out of space here.  You can find out more by going to www.lifeway.com/kids where you can get all the titles and descriptions.  Oh…and you can register there too! I look forward to seeing you in Birmingham!”

 

If you haven’t checked out the line up for LifeWay’s Kids Ministry Conference…

Who’s Leading Worship?     Anthony Evans

What’s the Theme?           Brand New Days

What else will there be?       VBS Preview

Mary Carlisle

Mary is a University of Mobile grad, with a BA in English and Theology. She worked with CentriKid Camp starting as a staffer in 2007 and began working in the camp office in 2010. She joined the VBS team in November of 2012.

Sep

24

2010

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The Good Ole Days

I’ve heard it said that “the good ole days” aren’t really as good as they seemed.  That may be true, but I sure do enjoy getting together with old friends and family to tell stories and laugh.  I had lunch earlier this week with an old friend  (translation: we go way back, he would be upset if he thought I meant “elderly”).  We talked about life, ministry, and what had happened since we had seen each other last.  After we got caught up on new business, we started telling stories about when we were younger …. fun times, crazy road trips, loud concerts, and late-night conversations…. We re-told all the same old stories we told the last time we were together.  (spoiler alert — these are the ones we’ll tell next time too, and we’ll still find them just as funny.)

We do this in the CentriKid camp world too … in fact, it is part of our culture.  When the CentriKid office goes to Eval Week, or LifeWay Kids Conference, or any other road trip, there are those moments while traveling or during down time when we reminisce and tell stories.

So what is it that compels us to tell stories about the Good Ole Days?

(1) It’s important to remember where we came from.  We love to tell about changes we’ve made at camp from year to year and it is especially fun to look back at program elements that look radically different now.  In my office, I keep the very first set of OMC cards ever printed. It’s amazing to see the OMC game kit on LifeWay store shelves and see how blessed we are to have the tools we have now to provide an even better camp experience than when we started.

(2) Silly stories make your boss more human.  The boss telling a story about a co-worker jumping in the lake can remove intimidation for those who are new to the group.  Each year we have new interns join our office team, and each year we go to Eval Week and tell old stories about all our silly shenanigans.  At some point in the course of the week the new teammates begin to realize that we aren’t super-human or anything special … but that we are just a bunch of goofballs, too.

(3) Extreme examples can help define cultural norms.  One story frequently told is about a previous Eval Week where the debate was so heated that one Centrifuge coordinator asked the other to step outside the room!  We’ve not had any debates of that magnitude in recent years b/c even though Lance was the only current teammate who was there, we all know the story and laugh about it … so ultimately a CentriKid cultural norm is established because of this story about how not to act.

(4) Inevitably, the work of the Lord becomes evident.  If we sit and tell stories for long, we’ll always end up telling a story about life-change or how we saw God working in a situation that was beyond our imagination It is pretty cool to serve in a setting where the common denominator is faith in Christ and to know that the Lord has chosen to use our work to impact the lives of kids and adults who come to camp.

Jeremy Echols

JE leads the camp team, finds new camp locations, plans training, and lots of other projects. He loves spending family time with his wife Emily and their daughter Madison.

Sep

21

2010

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Missions… look what God did!

Take a look at what God has done through our camp missions offering over the past several years.  It’s incredible to know that the Lord has used the sacrifice, prayers, and work of campers, church leaders, and camp staff to make such a huge impact.  Check it out:

We hope you’ll continue to pray for God’s work among the Roma people. Thanks for being such great partners in ministry as we seek to take the Gospel around the world!

…and a special thanks to our Production Team for creating this awesome video!

Meredith Teasley

Meredith studied at Samford University and Beeson Divinity School. She worked camp for 8 years, then served in full-time children's ministry in Virginia before joining our team in January 2009.

Sep

20

2010

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Face what?

*Disclaimer*

This post is mainly intended for our beloved readers who still get that confused look on their faces when one (or both) of the following words are mentioned: Twitter and/or Facebook.  We’re here to help.

Twitter and Facebook are both “social media” tools.  What is “social media,” you ask?  Social media is a tool whereby people connect and interact through web-based programs.

Okay, well, who cares?  Or, why should I care?

Check out this video … and then continue reading.

Crazy video, huh?  In this day and age, we see that social media has played/will continue to play a major role in the way we communicate, interact and do business.  Don’t get me wrong; I do not support 100% web-based community.  Scripture has made it very clear the importance of being in community with others (face-to-face) and building relationships with people.  And this is foundational to CentriKid Camps!  I don’t think you’ll ever see a day when we run CentriKid with every staffer/camper/adult participating in camp behind his/her own computer screen!  Outrageous!

But, living in a society that is nearly 100% web-based, it’s important to learn how to use said tools.  Again, if you skipped over that video clip, this is where I would encourage you to go back and watch it.  It highlights the why.

So, here’s what I’m going to do… I’m going to walk you through, step-by-step, how to set up both a Facebook profile and a Twitter page.  I won’t overwhelm you all at once with both, so we’ll start with Facebook today … and we’ll get to Twitter whenever Mary Carlisle (the queen of our blog scheduling) fits me in.  Okay?  Okay.

1)  To get started, go to www.facebook.com (pictured below) and sign up for an account on their homepage.


2)  Once you come up with a username and password, Facebook walks you through setting up your profile.  They couldn’t make it more user-friendly!

3)  Fill out your basic profile information.  It’s important here to put in where you went to high school/college and where you work.  Putting in this info lets you connect with friends from school and colleagues at work.

4)  Last step is uploading a picture from your computer.

5)  Once you’ve completed all those steps, Facebook gives you even more steps on setting up your profile (favorite books, movies, music, quotes, personal info.), activating your phone so that you can update your Facebook status (i.e. your thoughts or what you’re doing) from your mobile device, searching for friends by name or e-mail address and controlling what information you want public/private.


6)  Before you sign out for the first time, make sure you add CentriKid on Facebook by going up to the search bar (at the top of the page) and typing in “CentriKid Camps”

7)  Simply click on “Like” at the top of the page to follow CentriKid on Facebook.  What this means for you… When you log in to Facebook (after adding some friends), you’ll see a newsfeed of status updates.  Whenever CentriKid has a status update, that info will appear in your newsfeed.  This keeps you connected to what is going on in the camp world.

Like I said, Facebook makes signing up for a profile super simple.  After all, if Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest.  They wouldn’t have as many users if the Web site were difficult to navigate, right?

If you have any questions about registering for an account, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me at bud.harlan@lifeway.com.  I would be happy to help you get connected.



Sep

17

2010

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I Should Have Known

 

This summer we took our last child to college.  She is “daddy’s girl” (my words not hers).  She is simply a joy to be around,  is almost always happy, sings constantly, loves to share everything about her day, loves the Lord, and never asks for money.  What father, or mother, could ask for more?

On Friday, August 20, we drove to Jackson TN, moved her into her dorm, went to parent orientation, dinner,  and a family worship service where we prayed for our kids, gave them a final hug and the drove toward home.  Needless to say, I was a mess.  I tried to be strong for my wife, who actually did better than I did.  She did most of her crying the week prior.   Saturday and Sunday were tough.  I kept thinking about all the things I would miss… singing in the house, dinner for 3, her friends at the house… to name just a few.  The more I thought about it the more I missed her.   Life was never going to be the same and, to be quite honest, I wasn’t one bit happy about it.

On Monday I went to work and felt a little better.  I came home and Susan and I talked about the day, what we would do for dinner…  and we had a great night.  Tuesday was much the same, Wednesday was our small group, Thursday night was TV night and Friday we went out with my brother and his wife.  I began to think “hey, this isn’t going to be all bad.”  We are now 3 weeks in and I still miss her and our son like crazy, but Susan and I have found that change can be good. We spend more time together, give each other more attention, for some reason we have more patience with each other and have more time for our friends.

I should have known it was going to be like this. Growing up my family moved all the time.  I went to four elementary schools, two Jr. High Schools, and three High Schools.  Change was part of my life and although not always easy it always turned out OK.  God provides.

In your work and ministry know that change is coming – it always does.  Embrace it. Learn to love it.  You can’t stop it.  Far too often we are the roadblock to change, and I promise you won’t stop it.  You will only slow it down.  You become part of the problem not the solution. So the next time your pastor says let’s change…  Volunteer to lead it.  Be the biggest cheerleader for making it happen. Tell everyone in Children’s Ministry how great it will be.

PS. Our daughter is coming home in a month with 4 friends.  Can’t wait to hear her singing in the halls, sharing about her time at college, see her smiling face…  I will slip her a $20 bill even though she doesn’t ask.

 



Why Social Media?

Why should you, as a children’s minister, parent, volunteer, or young adult be involved in Facebook, blogging, and Twitter?

Last week, Lance shared this video with our team. It has pretty serious shock value in its facts about social media.

This video is relevant not only to business, advertising, and products…but the children and youth in your church have grown up in a world where they know no different. Conversation between peers can be going on all day through multiple channels…and if they want to tell the entire online world they are going to the grocery store, they can do that. Of the 175 million people who log in to Facebook everyday, almost 20% of those are under the age of 17. Of Twitter’s 105 million users, 12% are under 17. Bebo.com (Blog Early, Blog Often) is the most used social media tool for children, as 40% of their traffic comes from those under 17.

Why Social Media?

1. Instant updates to your students, volunteers, and parents….. You can opt in to receive tweets on your phone via text on Twitter and can read any status updates of a person or an organization (via fan pages) in your newsfeed instantly. With the popularity of smart phones, almost everyone has all of these tools at their fingertips.

2. Social Media presence can help you monitor the presence of kids in your church. Sometimes parents don’t know the dangers of the web, and you can help communicate with them if their kids seem to be flirting with the line of safety.

3. Provide a place for students to go to read devotional thoughts, to encourage them to participate in the conversation, and to foster relationships with each other and with you. Blogging will let them in on who you are, and will allow them to comment. More and more relationship building is happening via social media.

What is your church doing to adapt to the bend toward social media?

Mary Carlisle

Mary is a University of Mobile grad, with a BA in English and Theology. She worked with CentriKid Camp starting as a staffer in 2007 and began working in the camp office in 2010. She joined the VBS team in November of 2012.

Sep

13

2010

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Top 5 Things I Learned in the Office

What is it like to work in the CentriKid office? Here’s what Bud has to say about what he’s learned so far…

5.  Waking up at 5:30 a.m. will never get easy. By nature, I’m a night owl through and through.  Imagine the culture shock I experienced the first week when I had to leave for work by 6:30 a.m. everyday (and 5:45 a.m. one day)! A rude awakening, I tell you. On the flip side, however, there’s a joy in getting to experience the early morning and reminds me of this verse: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new EVERY MORNING; great is your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23

4.  It’s crazy how much goes into camp. We see this a lot during the summer, obviously, but there is so much that happens at One LifeWay Plaza of which most of us are unaware. From production to marketing to events registration, there are scores of people involved in making sure that teams are able to do what they do during the summer.

3.  No need for a YMCA membership. Here’s the deal.  We have three different departments on this floor (Childhood Training & Events, Young Adult, Women), and we all share one copy room. If you ever have to print something on a letterhead, you better strap on your running shoes. By the time you get the letterhead in the copy machine and get back to your desk to print, somebody else has printed something on your letterhead. I apologize in advance should you ever accidentally receive something about CentriKid on a Beth Moore letterhead.

2.  The learning opportunities are endless. What a privilege it is to work each day with men and women who have years of ministry and leadership experience and are passionate about seeing lives changed by the Gospel. No matter where the Lord may lead me after this adventure, I’m confident that what I’m learning here can be applied anywhere.

1.  This team is F-U-N. Never a meeting or a lunch when laughing and having fun isn’t part of the equation.  Isn’t that one of our pillars?



Sep

10

2010

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Top 10 things we learned this summer!

After camp this summer, our office team started blogging about things we learned at camp this summer and we had a bunch of CentriKid staff join in with guest blogs too.  So many folks contributed that we had to use both blogs to hold them all.

10.  Why not start a top 10 list with another list.  Elizabeth is a former staffer who shares a bunch of things the she learned from her time at camp.

9.  Amber, a first-time staffer from La Tech learned about her relationship with God at camp this summer.

8.  Bud learned some great stuff about leadership in his second summer as a camp director.

7.  Andy saw community form among those he served with this summer.

6.  Meredith learned that God works in spite of our mistakes.

5.  Drew discovered that he was called to serve at camp for a reason.

4.  Jen learned some great things about investing in folks and relating to people.

3.  Mary Chase got a dose of the same lesson she was sharing with campers about finding her identity in Christ.

2.  JE learned that there’s no substitute for spiritual preparation.

1.  Mary saw that ministry takes place best in the context of relationship.

Thanks for checking out some of the things we’ve learned.  Share with us here or on Facebook about what you’ve learned this summer.

Jeremy Echols

JE leads the camp team, finds new camp locations, plans training, and lots of other projects. He loves spending family time with his wife Emily and their daughter Madison.