I was recently contacted by one of our camp staff who started a blog. He asked me to share with him about some of the things we’ve learned about social media. I’m always happy to share what I’ve learned…and we’ve learned a lot about, but are not experts by any means.
Here are a few things we’ve learned and a couple of places to check out to learn more:
Fundraising… the word you don’t want to hear. The dreaded task of children’s ministers and youth ministers across the country as you prepare for summer camp. Dare we say, the thorn in your side? Yes, it’s early in the year for fundraising but it’s the perfect time to talk about a creative idea for getting kids in your church to camp.
I recently asked Tim Munoz, children’s pastor at Hilldale Baptist Church in Clarksville, TN, to share some insight on how his church uses Kroger Cares, and what it’s meant for their CentriKid experience.
CK: Tell us about this fundraising idea.
TIM: The idea of Kroger Cares is to help parents and churches send kids to camp all while buying groceries, gas or even medicines. You get 100% of what your family needs and Kroger gives your church 4% of what you pay. Which all adds up and, when given to a child, he or she gets a week of fun, friends, building relationships, and most of all a week learning about God – all at CentriKid Camp.
CK: How does Kroger Cares work?
TIM: The church must purchase a number of cards with at lease $5 on them. Then sell them to parents, grandparents, and church members (we just have families reimburse us the $5). When the parent goes to Kroger (or a Kroger-owned store) they must stop by the Customer Center and load money on the card. This can be done by check, cash, or credit card. Then go shopping! Kroger does the rest. They will send the church a letter letting them know who is using the cards (tracked by gift card number on back of card). When the church has reached a certain percent of reloads on the cards, Kroger will send a check to the church.
CK: How much preparation does it require from you?
TIM: There are 4 steps… but it’s well worth it!
1. Make a few phone calls to order your cards and then pick them up at your local store when they are ready.
2. Sell them to your parents and church members, keeping track of who bought what card. (Remember, we just have families reimburse us the $5.)
3. Keep track of who is using cards on a spreadsheet (if you’d like, you can email me and we will sell you our spreadsheet for only $20… just kidding, we’ll give it to you for free!)
4. Repeat steps 1 and 2 every now and then; step 3 is ongoing throughout the year.
CK: How much money does it save the folks who use it?
TIM: We have had folks in the past only pay $50 for a week of camp saving them over $200!
CK: Anything else you’d like to tell us about this program?
TIM: Families need to understand a few things:
1. These cards can only be purchased by the church and sold by the church to the family.
2. Families should enlist friends and other family members from across the nation to help send their child to camp. (Again, check Kroger.com for a list of a list of Kroger-owned stores.)
3. These cards need to be treated like gift cards, once you load money on them use it and then reload them and use them again.
This is the Birmingham Sheraton — where our LifeWay Kids Ministry Conference happened just last week. More than just the conference happened here though. Bud, in our office, heard about these ladies and followed up to get the story. This is what living missionally looks like. Mrs Anne and Mrs Janet were at the conference to learn about ministry and to be poured into, but that didn’t stop them from pouring into others. They were constantly on the look out for opportunities to share about God.
Here’s Mrs. Anne’s take on the story:
“Mrs. Janet loves to share Christ with everyone she meets. She uses the evangelism cube. We had many opportunities to share on our way there and back as well as while we at the conference. On the morning we were leaving we called and asked them to send up a bellhop to get our luggage. Mr. Edward (New Orleans as he is called by hotel staff) came to assist us. Janet asked if she could share something with him that would only take about 45 seconds. She also told him it was about her faith. He agreed and she shared the cube with him. She then asked him if he would like to pray and receive Christ and he did right there in the hallway outside the elevator.
We then went to the lobby to check out and Janet approached the security guard and asked to share with him. He shared with her that he was a believer also and she shared with him about New Orleans and he said he would do the follow up and disciple him. Each time we were able to share, we would then pray for “Philips” to come along after us to explain more to new and struggling believers.
We meet two hindu believers at Subway and they allowed us to give them both a bible. We returned and met two more Subway workers who were already believers and they agreed to follow up and check to see if they reading the bibles and if they had any questions.
We also meet a man named Daniel that had at one time asked Jesus for forgiveness and into his life but felt he had lost his salvation due to recent bad decisions I prayed with him and talked with his about the security of his salvation. Later that night as we were witnessing to a police officer and a security guard in the hotel we found out they were both very sold out believers and they knew Daniel. He worked in the hotel. They were very excited about coming along aside Daniel and discipling him.
The conference was wonderful and God spoke to Janet and I. But the highlights have to be seeing New Orleans come to Christ and watching God answer our prayers for “Philips” that would be there to continue to explain God’s word to new and existing believers.” —Ms. Anne
If you’re looking for a spring semester missions opportunity, check out this one…
Tahoe Ministries – part of the North American Mission Board – is looking for four students interested in serving as 2011 spring semester missionaries. Tahoe Ministries is based out of Tahoe City, California. Two students are needed to work with their school-age ministry, and two are needed for their preschool ministry.
Roundtrip airfare to Tahoe City, housing, food and local transportation will all be provided. You would also receive a $300/month stipend and a $5,000 insurance policy.
For more information about the Tahoe Ministries opportunity, click here…
We are excited to announce the winner of our camp giveaway contest. All of our churches that were registered before Sept 30 were put into a drawing to win 5 free spots to camp. Check out the video above to see who won! Keep your eye on our blog for more contests in the future. Why not register today? CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.
Have you checked out our other blog? We give you a behind-the-scenes look at what happens in our office throughout the year, and post some pretty funny stuff there, too!
Right now, you can…
help us out,
tell us what you think,
voice your opinion,
share great ideas,
be a part of something new,
let us know how you feel,
and maybe even see your ideas come alive at camp!
Check out our most recent post at www.behindtheomc.com:
Sometimes just thinking about the grace and faith we have received makes your head spin. Imagine you’re trying to teach the concept to children for the first time. Of course, the Lord always makes His message clear, but it’s a little more challenging for us to think about the steps we should take. Here are some tips you can use when discussing these hard truths with your kids:
1. Use illustrations :: It’s fairly often that I don’t really get the concept until I hear it in illustration form. It’s no different for a child. Find something they can grasp and relate it to something they are having a hard time understanding.
2. Use real-life examples :: Tell them about a time in your life when you really experienced this. I believe with all of my heart that God gives us experiences in our lives to have examples for sharing what’s in His Word.
3. Don’t underestimate what they already know :: Remember, God said we should have child-like faith. Somewhere along the line, having faith got complicated for us. I’m not saying they understand the concept fully, but if it’s one thing I’ve learned from camp it’s that kids will always surprise you with what they know!
So much of understanding God comes with experience. He has been creating experiences for you all of your life and has equipped you for sharing with kids. Put in the time and the Lord will work in ways you would never imagine!