“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.” –Mother Teresa
“As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in schools.”
In classrooms, public gatherings, and sporting events across the country things aren’t like they used to be. Public prayer has been completely replaced by a “moment of silence” for the troops overseas or a “pause for reflection.” When tragedy strikes, rather than getting on our knees, we’re instructed to stand silently as a proper way to respond and show our respect for the victims.
For good or bad, it seems that the moment of silence is here to stay, so it is important to teach kids about what a moment of silence really is and what they should do.
4 Positive Reasons for a Moment of Silence:
1. To Show Respect – for our troops, for fallen heroes, for victims of a tragedy
2. Reflect – whether tragedy or celebration, quiet reflection gives the soul a pause in the busy-ness to absorb the importance of the moment.
3. Display Human Spirit or Resolve – there is powerful unity in a group standing together united in silence
4. To Grieve – oftentimes the best healing comes without words, but with support
These are all positive reasons for a moment of silence that we can encourage our kids to engage in, but as Christians, we can challenge kids to take a step further. The moment of silence can also be a time to show respect for God, reflect on the things of God, and understand how God interacts in our day-to-day lives.
Help kids understand a moment of silence and use it to honor God:
• Share the importance of respecting a moment of silence. We may not always feel the same way as everyone in the room, but this silence is meaningful to someone so we should respect it, and not disrupt.
• Talk about why. Ask them why they think this moment of silence was planned. Help them examine the reasons and how they can best respond. The reasons may include some really positive things, or it may be as an avoidance of acknowledging specific religious beliefs…either way, it is good discussion to understand the “why.”
• Take the chance to pray. Help kids see importance of the positives, but also recognize the importance of bringing our faith into this aspect of our daily life. The room may be silent, but our hearts and minds can speak to God in that moment and kids need to know that this is a time to point our focus to God and talk to Him.
What other things would you share with kids about the “moment of silence?”
Merry Christmas! We wish you and your family a wonderful and joyful day!
With love, JE, Henry, Ellie, and Laura
Today I dug through the LifeWay.com archive of articles and came away with 5 great articles related to Children & Salvation. Share these with workers in your children’s ministry or with parents who need resources for talking with their kids about salvation.
For more on kids & salvation from LifeWay Kids, check out this video series on “Responsible Evangelism with Kids.” We write about helping kids understand salvation, the gospel, and baptism regularly, so you can always search centrikid.com for those topics.
Traditions are important. They help us remember our past, cherish our present, and frame our future. Christmas is a time of year filled with warm memories and rich tradition. Since Christmas traditions are such a special part of the season, we thought we would share some of our Christmas traditions with you.
JE, his wife Emily, and his daughter Madison really cherish Christmas together. Last year was Baby Madison’s first Christmas, and JE posted a video of some of his Christmas traditions. You can check out the video here. JE also shared a new tradition that they began this year. Earlier in the month, JE and Emily wrapped all of Madison’s Christmas books, and they have opened one a day and read to Madison. For JE and Emily, this is a special way to spend time with their precious daughter.
Ellie and her family enjoy singing Christmas carols and reading the Christmas story, but her favorite Christmas tradition is going to church on Christmas Day and helping serve Christmas lunch to people that have no family to share a meal with on Christmas. For Ellie, this is a great way to remember what Christmas is all about – sharing the hope of Christ.
My family has many fun Christmas traditions, such as 8′ inflatable snowmen, perfectly crafted Christmas cookies, and epic wrapping paper wars. My favorite tradition is passing a knife back-and-forth with my dad. As long as I can remember, my grandfather and his youngest son passed a knife at Christmas. When my grandfather passed away, my dad gave me one of his knives. At Christmas, I surprised him by giving it back to him, so the tradition lives on. The challenge is trying to figure out creative ways to give the knife…like inside of another, larger knife, or by placing it inside a Cracker Jack box!
We’d love for you to share some of your Christmas traditions with us! Comment below to tell us what makes Christmas special for you.
Winter months tend to be months with more unhappiness and less exercise. Here are 10 ways to keep kids moving and excited about what God is doing in their lives! Don’t allow the cold to stifle their growth in the Lord.
1. Have an indoor scavenger hunt where kids have to find words to a specific Bible verse then piece them all together.
2. Have a “Beach Party” inside a gym. Bring hot dogs, snow cones, and lemonade. Play fun summer games like Frisbee, volleyball, wiffle ball, and even OMC!
3. Play “Up, down, stop, go.” In this game, kids have to do the opposite of what the leader says. If the leader says, “stop,” the kids must start walking. If the leader says, “up,” the kids must sit down, etc. It holds their attention, stimulates their brains, and gets them moving.
4. Interactive Bible lessons where kids act out the story will keep them moving and engaged in the lesson.
5. Indoor obstacle course. Even if you don’t have a lot of space, an obstacle course is fun and challenging for the kids.
6. Play “Shadow, Shadow.” Each kid must find a partner — one kid is the leader and one is the shadow. Kids will be moving around trying to stump each other and win the game.
7. Reverse Scavenge Hunt! Make up a list of items kids might have with them (serious and silly items). Divide them into teams and have them race to bring you each item.
8. Motions, motions, motions! Create motions to the songs you sing and to key Bible verses the kids are learning. This not only keeps them active but also helps them remember the words.
9. Snowball Relay Race! Give each child a Styrofoam ball (snowball) and a pencil. Each child will place the snowball on the ground and push it with the pencil across the room, around an obstacle, and back to the next kid on the team.
10. Give each team a roll of toilet paper and several pieces of construction paper. Each team must enlist a “snowman” as the other kids wrap toilet paper around them and make noses, eyes, and other snowmen decorations out of construction paper.
CentriKid recently released our new schedule for the upcoming summer at camp based on things we have heard from you in the past. The feedback from both churches and staff was unbelievable and we are now even more excited to continue forward with this great summer of ministry! Thank you all for trusting the work that we do as we all partner together to advance the Gospel and build disciples. Here are a few things we heard:
“I think the impact of smaller bible studies and really utilizing staffers where they will best serve is an incredible idea! The effectiveness is going to be inevitable, and I can’t wait to see it firsthand this summer. Way to head back to the drawing board and start with a clean slate, something that’s not always easy to do. Thanks for your constant drive to make life change happen through the context of relationships.” –Erica Moore, children’s minister
“Love these ideas! Time to shake off the old and try something new!” –Anthony Sarcione, staffer
“I am super excited about the new schedule and know my church kids will love it as well!!!” –Holley Pace, children’s minister
“Yes! More track choices! Sounds like a win win!” —Ginger Beasley
“I’m excited about the new schedule!! Thank you for making the camp experience even better for kids!!” –Colleen Cox
“Changes look awesome! Seems like a great way to bring out the full potential from each staffer.” –Nate Dove, staffer
“I love the new schedule! Can’t wait!” –Maria White
From your feedback, we’ve been able to see what’s really the most important to you. People were the most excited about smaller bible studies and more track times. You also asked great questions– more than anything, we got the most comments and questions on two of our very favorite topics: OMC and Henry’s beard.
As we move forward into 2013, we appreciate both your support and your feedback. We really believe the new schedule will give us a greater opportunity to connect with campers and ensure that no person leaves camp without having a life-changing encounter with Christ.
Christmas time is here. And everyone knows Christmas is a time of giving and receiving gifts. Since I’ve been young, I’ve been taught that it is far better to give than to receive, and I fully believe that. I’ve had those moments where I found the perfect gift for someone and was so excited; I could hardly wait until Christmas to give it to them.
However, what usually happens is I try and try to figure out the perfect gift for someone, but can’t and then it gets so close to Christmas that I run out of time, have to settle for a decent, last-minute gift I found at the mall, and then feel disappointed that I didn’t truly succeed at buying the perfect gift. With this approach, buying gifts becomes stressful, and makes it hard for me to even enjoy giving!
We all know that Christmas isn’t all about gifts, but it would be silly to say that everyone doesn’t look forward to seeing what they’re going to get. Gifts are a fun part of the season, but when we really examine what makes those special gifts memorable, we see that it’s usually the people who gave us the gift and the thought they put into it.
People want more than just the perfect gift, so I challenge you, this Christmas season, to focus on giving more than gifts. Give people your time and show them your love. A gift lasts for a few years, at most, but people will always cherish the time you spend with them and the effort you put into showing them they are important to you. This Christmas, be focused on showing God’s love to others, not just on giving gifts.
The horrific crisis that occurred yesterday in Connecticut has evoked a ton of emotions for me. At times it’s simply been overwhelming. Last night, I finally turned off all media and went to bed. I can’t even imagine what the parents of these slain kids are feeling. As I attempt to put myself in their shoes with the kids God has allowed in my life… it’s simply devastating.
Most young kids probably aren’t even aware of the tragedy that happened yesterday (thank God). To some extent, in this situation, ignorance may be the best plan. I suspect they’ll hear things… and you should be ready to have meaningful conversations, but I would advice to be careful about the media exposure and adult conversations that you allow your kids to be exposed to over the next next few days.
Below are some ideas that might help parents and ministry leaders as they deal with the children in their lives during this crisis. Feel free to reproduce these points as you see helpful.
Be Sensitive: I believe that God gives us a sense, a tug… the Holy Spirit… that leads us when we’re careful to listen. Be especially sensitive to His guidance during tragedy and crisis. Beg Him to lead you as you offer advice and comfort. He wants you to be successful. He wants you to “say the right thing.” Start with prayer.
Be Talkative: Talk with your children. Include them, when appropriate, in family discussions regarding the crisis. Find opportunities to talk to your child about the situation (around the dinner table, when “tucking” in your child for bed, in the car while driving to school). Most children are talkative by nature. Take advantage of this time to share and talk.
Be Honest: Tell the truth. Don’t deny that something bad has happened. Be honest with yourself. Recognize your own feelings. Understand that you have feelings regarding this crisis. Know how you feel and understand that your feelings play a part in shaping your child’s feelings.
Be Respectful: Ask your child how he/she feels about the crisis and be respectful of his/her feelings. Realize that their feelings are real and respect their feelings. Give your child permission to feel the feelings that they have.
Be Age-Appropriate: Each child develops at different rates. You know your child and their level of understanding. Some guidelines to follow might include the avoidance of euphemisms and complicated explanations. Answer questions asked but be careful not to overload your child with too much information. If they want to know and you’ve created an atmosphere of freedom to ask, they will!
Be Reassuring: Reassure your children that it’s going to be okay. Assure them that they are safe. Many children may begin to fear leaving your presence. Honestly assure them that their feelings are important and that you and those to whom you entrust them are considering with their safety. If you’re visually frightened, your child is likely to assume your fears.
Be Hopeful: Support your child as they work through the emotions of this crisis. Expect them to be concerned but offer them the hope that we have as Christians. Explain that God is in control. He can use this crisis for His good. We may not understand His ways but we can trust His heart. Pray with your child. Teach them to seek God for their strength, especially in crisis. Allow this time to grow them as followers of Jesus.
Allow this time to bring you closer to Him as your Deliverer and Savior. Allow God to use this time to bring you closer as a family. Use these teachable moments to demonstrate that the faith we teach is real.
He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Explaining the gospel is no small task. Explaining the gospel to kids is even more difficult. The real challenge comes in simplifying the language without simplifying the concepts. The first step in this process, though, is identifying which concepts you need to explain. Here are a few concepts that we feel are “gospel essentials.”
God is perfect, and he created everything. Since God created everything, he is in charge (Genesis 1:1).
Humans are not perfect. We break God’s laws and do things that make God angry all the time. The Bible calls this sin, and we are all sinners (Romans 3:23).
When we sin and disobey God, we deserve to be punished. The Bible says that the punishment for disobeying God is death — separation from God forever in hell (Romans 6:23).
Because God loves us, he provided a way for us to be rescued from sin and punishment. He sent his son Jesus to Earth. Jesus is 100% human AND 100% God, so he is perfect. He lived a perfect life and never sinned. He kept all of God’s laws (John 3:16, Hebrews 4:15)
Since Jesus never sinned, he did not deserve to die, but he willingly chose to take our punishment and die in our place — as our substitute (John 3:16, Romans 5:8).
When Jesus died, he didn’t stay dead. God brought him back to life after 3 days, and he is still alive today! This shows us that God accepted Jesus perfect sacrifice for our sin (1 Peter 3:18).
In order to be rescued from sin and punishment, you need to ask God to forgive you for breaking his laws and sinning, believe that Jesus lived a perfect life, died, and came back to life after 3 days, and tell God that you want him to be in charge of your life (Romans 10:9).
“Owning” these basic concepts is essential to explaining the gospel fully and clearly to kids. Having the right tools can also help. ALWAYS make sure you have your Bible with you! If you are looking for additional tools, check out the gospel booklet that we use at CentriKid Camps.
At CentriKid Camps, we believe that ministry takes place best through the context of relationships. Because of that, everything we do at CentriKid is very intentional, and through every element of camp our desire is that no one should leave without having a life-changing experience with Jesus Christ.
The changes for the 2013 schedule have intentionally given us smaller numbers in Bible Study groups so camp staff can focus on being more relational with your kids. Another really cool benefit is that more kids will get the tracks they love because we’ve expanded to three track times instead of just two.
Watch to hear our office team describe the new schedule and the reasons for the changes.
Take a look at the new schedule and when camp Group Leader information releases on January 1st, you can read all the specific details and explanations so you have the answers to questions your kids & adults at camp will ask.
Comment to let us know what you think about the new schedule! You can also share questions you anticipate kids or new group leaders having so that we can be sure to address them in Group Leader Information.