Archive for March, 2013

Mar

29

2013

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The Essential Camp Leadership Reading List

At CentriKid, we pour into our camp staff as leaders for our camp program and for their avenues of service back home.  We believe that you can never have too much leadership.  Many folks ask for tips on where to begin or what to read next so we’ve compiled an essential camp leadership reading list.

108523557These 12 books are a great foundation for a leader in any context with any degree of experience.  As you read, you’ll discover the source of many phrases and concepts that make up the CentriKid Camps culture.  Everything about camp is rooted in scripture, and these books have been great tools at sharpening our minds for leading at camp.

  • 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (John C. Maxwell)  This is the starting point we recommend for all new leaders.  The chapters are full of practical tips, stories, and analogies for each leadership law.
  • StrengthsFinder 2.0 (Tom Rath) The book includes an online assessment to help identify your top strengths, and it challenges you to maximize those areas instead of spending all your time focusing on weaker areas.
  • MBTI Personality Type — There are several books and assessments available to help you determine your Myers-Briggs “type.”  This is fascinating research that can validate some key things about your personality and help you avoid potential pitfalls also.
  • Good to Great (Jim Collins) Anything by Jim Collins is well-researched, but sometimes hard to read through because of all the data and analysis.  Don’t get so bogged down or overwhelmed that you miss it.  Some of the companies may not be great examples now because the research is dated, but the principles of what made them great at the time are quality.
  • Great by Choice (Jim Collins) We’ve benefited so much from this book that we regularly refer to the principles of the “20 mile march” and “firing bullets, then cannon balls.”  If you have trouble jumping in to a Jim Collins book because of the stats & research, then find some podcast interviews with him talking about these key leadership lesson.
  • Death By Meeting (Patrick Lencioni) We love productive meetings, but we got tired of bad meetings.  This “leadership fable” changed our meeting culture.
  • The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive (Patrick Lencioni) Another fable that illustrates the importance of building a healthy organization. These are four practical steps that can bring unity and trust to the leadership team and the whole organization.
  • Next Generation Leader (Andy Stanley) Everything from Andy Stanley comes with so much wisdom and spiritual leadership too.  This is a small book that we’ve used in the past with camp directors for leadership training prior to camp.
  • Getting Things Done (David Allen)  Principles of GTD are found throughout our culture from our language to our meetings to the way we train staff to wrap up details and close “open loops.”
  • Linchpin (Seth Godin) This book challenges us to do work that matters and to be indispensable.  The advice here guides our approach to work, and also has transferrable application to how we live out our faith.
  • EntreLeadership (Dave Ramsey) Leadership insights from a highly successful business man who leads his team with a Christ-Centered approach.
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie) A classic since 1936.  We read this as a team a few years ago because of its application to our inter-office relationships and the way we serve our church leaders at camp.

Pick up one or two of these and tell us what you think.  Also, what other books would you recommend for our list?

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.

Mar

28

2013

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Celebrate Marriages with Us!

Spring has arrived and love really is in the air! Two very important people to us here at CentriKid are getting married! We just wanted to take a moment to celebrate them today. Congrats Mary Carlisle and Laura Register!

It just so happens that they both met their fiancés while working at LifeWay!  Soon-to-be married Mary Carlisle is engaged to John Wiley, a Camp Coordinator for Fuge Camps. Newly engaged Laura Register is engaged  to Daniel Teague, one of our very own CentriKid Camp pastors.

First to tie the knot is Mary soon-to-be Wiley!

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Mary and John met on a beautiful fall day in October. They were both working on Group Leader Information, for CentriKid and for Fuge. This 30+ page packet of information is no small task to write! Mary went to help out John, needless to say they were both a little overwhelmed. John and Mary encouraged each other through this project and the rest is history! After two “pre-date meetings” John asked her on their first date. John took Mary out for a fancy dinner at Bonefish Grill followed by a stroll downtown. From that night on their relationship has continued to grow and they are both very much in love! Mary and John are very different… but you know what they say, opposites attract! Mary comes from a smaller family and John comes from a big family. John is very detail oriented while Mary sees more of the big picture. John is great behind the wheel. Mary does not think of her self as a great driver! However, this wonderful couple are alike in the things that matter most; they both love the Lord and are ministry minded. The one thing that Mary loves most about John is that he is a man that seeks the Lord first and foremost! This happy couple is getting married at Rocket Town on April 13th! Congrats Mary and John Wiley!

The next to wed will be Laura Register and Daniel Teague on September 14th , 2013!

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These two love birds first served together on the same CentriKid team in the summer of 2010. Something we say often here at CentriKid when talking about relationships is that “If it is meant to happen it will happen after camp!” After camp, their friendship continued to grow and they started dating a full year later. The story of their first date is a long one. Long story short, Daniel came up from Mississippi one Friday night to surprise Laura in Georgia while she was in college. Right before Laura and her friends were about to leave for dinner someone starts knocking on the door. Assuming it was their neighbor, Laura yelled for them to come in. It was not the neighbor… it was Daniel. They went out for Chick-Fil-A banana pudding milkshakes and shared a weekend of bookstores, waterfalls, and coffee shops. They have been together ever since! Daniel and Laura almost Teague are alike in a lot of ways– they both love serving, coffee, kids, baseball games, and sandwiches. Laura told me, “Those who know us would be surprised to learn that I’m the extrovert and he’s the introvert, but not surprised to know that he’s a much better runner than I am.” Laura’s favorite thing about Daniel really is his heart for the Lord and his heart for people. I cannot wait to see these two live happily ever after!

 



Mar

26

2013

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2013 CentriKid Prep #11: Meet Your Camp Leaders

Every summer the CentriKid staff are led by their Directors and Assistant Directors.  These guys and girls are ready to serve you at camp and make sure the week is great!  Contact the Director or Assistant Director for your camp location with any questions or needs that you have prior to camp by finding their contact info on each Camp Location page.

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.

Mar

22

2013

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Reaching Kids Outside of your Ministry

There are three types of kids in your ministry– ones in your core group who grow up in church, ones who come occasionally and have some church background, and ones who may one day make it through your door, but have never before been exposed to the church.

Dr. Shane Garrison from Campbellsville University in Kentucky recently shared at our Vacation Bible School Preview events about how he himself fell into that last category as a child. He referred to this group of kids as “spiritual orphans”– those who grow up knowing nothing of the church and living with parents who do not know the Lord.

As I sat in the auditorium and listened to Dr. Garrison’s story of faith and redemption, I wept at the reminder that those “spiritual orphans” are the reason that we do ministry to begin with. It is critical in your children’s ministry to build relationships and disciple the kids who are already there. It is equally as critical to remember God’s call in Matthew 28:19 to go and make disciples. If we are not reaching the unchurched children around us, we are denying them an opportunity to hear the Gospel and to ultimately come to know the Lord.

Here are a few things to remember when reaching out unchurched children:

1. You have to go to them. On a rare occasion they will come to you, but for most, even if it’s only a few blocks down, your church feels miles away. Church is a foreign concept for these kids and they need your extended invitation.

2. You can’t expect them to understand your rules. These kids may not know that prayer means to be still and quiet or close your eyes. They may not understand the “culture” that we take for granted in the church. Be patient with them and help them to feel welcomed in your environment.

3. Make it fun for them, and don’t forget why they are there. You want kids to enjoy their time so that they want to come back, but don’t miss this opportunity to invest in their lives spiritually. It may take them time to piece spiritual truths together, but remember that you have an opportunity to show them love.
Check out more from Dr. Garrison’s message here.

Laura Register

Laura graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Counseling and Human Development Services, focusing on Recreation Management. She began working for CentriKid in the summer of 2010 and joined the office staff in 2012.

2013 CentriKid Prep #10: What You’ll See at Camp this Summer

Can you believe camp is only 3 months away! Our office is busy finalizing all of the details and getting ready for an Out of This World experience you won’t ever forget! While we aren’t quite ready to reveal all of the new and exciting stuff we have planned, we thought we’d take a moment on the blog today to pull back some of the curtain and give you a sneak peek of what’s ahead at CentriKid Camps!

  •  If you haven’t heard about our camp schedule change, be sure to check out the video below. We’ve re-imagined the schedule in order to get our numbers in bible study groups smaller as well as give kids more options for their favorite tracks!

 

  • Take a look at some of the awesome print materials you’ll be receiving when you show up at camp this summer! Here is just a quick peek at our name tag and camper devotional book for this summer!

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devo_book

  • Our camp music is finalized and the playlist is already posted here! It will be available for purchase very soon!
  • I don’t want to say too much, but our sets for this summer are going to be out of this world! The image below will give you a clue as to what is being built in our warehouse.

SET

  • Our parties this year are also going out of this world, well, at least around the world! This summer, we will highlight different parts of the world and bring a missions perspective to all of the games. You won’t want to miss it!
  • The theme series videos that we will see in worship is really going above and beyond!! All I can say is that the image below is actually part of the set where our video crew will be filming next week!

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We hope this gets you excited about what is ahead at CentriKid Camps this summer! Stay tuned to the blog as we will be pulling back the curtain even more and giving you more glimpses of all of the elements of camp.

Andy Dukes

Andy serves as Event Coordinator for LifeWay Kids. He graduated from Murray State University in Kentucky. He served on summer staff (Crosspoint & CentriKid) for 7 summers and moved full-time at LifeWay in 2008. Andy's wife, Meghan, is a 2nd grade teacher and they attend Redeemer Church in Hendersonville, TN where he serves both on the worship team and also as a community group leader.

Debrief: How CentriKid Connects Games to Scripture

One of the terms that we use frequently at CentriKid Camps is “debrief.” When I first heard someone at camp talk about a debrief, I immediately associated the word with interrogations, military operations, or national security. At camp, though, we use the word “debrief” with a slightly different meaning.

What is a CentriKid Debrief?

At CentriKid Camps, a debrief is a 2-3 minute conversation that our staff lead in order to connect games or activities to truths from God’s word.

Why Do We Debrief?

We love to have fun, but even more than that, we want to take advantage of every opportunity to connect with kids and share God’s truth. We know all kids are different. Some kids will “get it” in Bible study, and others (kinesthetic learners) will make a better connection after they’ve played a game or learned a skill that relates in some way to the Bible.

How do we Choose the Scripture?

Every debrief at camp is planned with a high degree of intentionality. We don’t simply flip open God’s word and try to relate our games to the first verse we see. Instead, we spend a lot of time figuring out how to make meaningful connections to our spiritual focus for the week. We strive to reinforce what kids have already learned in Bible study and set them up for what they will hear in worship.

Additional Tips for Debriefing Games

  • Use your Bible – Kids need to see that Scripture is our authority. Instead of simply talking about the Bible, read from it.
  • Get on their level – Position yourself on the same level as your kids
  • Make eye contact
  • Ask open-ended questions – Don’t simply ask, “Was this game fun?” Consider questions such as “What happened in this game if you lost your partner?”
  • Let kids share – The more they verbalize, the more they will get it!

Debriefs can be a great way to meaningfully connect with kids. We invite you to come to Recreation or Track Times this summer to check out some of the debriefs we will share with campers.

Henry Dutton

Henry received a MA in Christian Studies and a BA in English, both from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. He began working for CentriKid in 2008 and joined the office team in 2012.

Mar

18

2013

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Sharing the Gospel at Easter

Easter is such an important holiday in the church. The gospel message of salvation through Jesus is the one thing we want kids to walk away with, right? We know that many of you will be sharing the gospel message in this Easter season, and we hope you’ll take advantage of some great tools as you do!

Gospel with kids poster thumbnailTHE POSTER
We have a free download of our poster The Gospel: God’s Plan for Me. Print this out or display it on screen as you walk through the gospel story from creation to the cross and our response.It’s available for FREE right here on our CentriKid website!


THE BOOKLET

Order some of our gospel booklets by the same title (The Gospel: God’s Plan for Me) from lifeway.com, or pick them up at your local LifeWay Store. These booklets follow the same outline, but offer a great one-on-one tool to use with kids as you walk them through the gospel story. The best part is that kids can keep these booklets, read them again at home, or share them with friends! This booklet is available in both HCSB and ESV, for $4.99 per pack of 10.

We recognize that repetition is so important in teaching kids! The great thing about using these tools is that you’ll see them both at CentriKid Camp this summer, where our trained staff will build on the foundation you’ve started with sharing the gospel message in your kids ministry. Let us know how you use these great tools during the Easter season!

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.

Mar

15

2013

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Taking Your Kids Event to the Next Level

Interview with Lance Howerton – Director of Lifeway Kids.

What are some tips you have on taking a kids event to the next level?

  • Production/Technology: Make sure you have the right people.  Just like in anything you do, you need people who know what they are doing and can do it well if you want to take your production to the next level.  Technology is expected; from the circus to The Wiggles tour you will find great sound and lights. Technology is not cheap; if you spend money on it, make sure you have people who know how to run it and what it can do.  The technology is only as good as the people running it.  At CentriKid we have been slow to purchase technology because we didn’t have a plan to staff for it. However, light boards and the digital world is making it easier for the novice to do well.
  • Platform: Not only do you need the right people on the production/technology side, but also on your platform.  There is the temptation to use the person who most wants to be on the stage because it is easy and quick.  We tell ourselves that they could be good one day, but there is no replacement for experience. Regardless of how much technology you have, the experience of your people on stage is essential in taking  a kids event to the next level.
  • Creativity: Get people who are creative and love to dream in the room who dream about “what if”?  How could we decorate the stage? How do we make it fun?  What can we project onto screens? Never limit yourself to what you have done in the past but dream what you want to do in the future.
  • Practice: There is simply no replacement for practice. Even the “experts” practice.  Your sound tech needs to do sound checks; the person running presentation software needs to make sure everything works correctly from spelling to visual formatting. Your worship leader needs to check monitors and rehearse with whatever background music or musicians they are using. Once that has been done you need to run the complete presentation/worship service from start to finish and keep doing it till you are proud of it and everyone is comfortable.
  • Evaluating: One of the most important, and often-skipped steps, is evaluating.  During the presentation take notes on things you want to change and tweak. When your presentation is over get your key players (sound tech, light tech, etc.) together and talk about what went well and what you need to different next time.  Don’t be afraid of hurting feelings; be polite and kind but be honest.  Help folks know that you always want to improve.

“Some of the most important things in taking a kids event to the next level

are to be creative, practice practice practice, and evaluate.”



Mar

13

2013

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Behind the Scenes

In my brief time working in the CentriKid office, I have felt overwhelmingly blessed by being “behind the scenes.”

My experience in ministry has always been visible. It is humbling to be behind the scenes. I will not be placed on the front lines of a team this summer at camp. This summer I will be working in the office helping to serve our staff and making sure our teams have everything they need. This is such an important job in making camp run smoothly, but sometimes I begin to think about everything I will miss by not being on a team. When I begin to have these thoughts I am reminded of Colossians 3:23.

Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men.”

We use Colossians 3:23 often in our work at CentriKid. It is a reminder that whatever we do, big or small, should be done heartily for the Lord. I get to wake up every day and work to create life changing experiences for thousands of children through CentriKid. I work for the sake of the gospel to be known. This verse is a reminder that even though I am behind the scenes, I am working for the Lord!



2013 CentriKid Prep #9: What’s New in the Camp Store

In 2013, not only will you be seeing a lot of fun new items in the CentriKid store, you’ll also be seeing an entire redesign to the Camp Store experience! We’ve dreamed big and we’ve heard from you guys, and here are a couple of the new improvements you’ll be seeing this summer:

1. We will be open more hours throughout the week to help you and your kids get in at your convenience! We will now even have the Camp Store open during check-in!

2. We’ve redesigned the layout of the Camp Store so that it’s easy to navigate, simple to get what you need, and easy to pay for it! We’ve also made the store a more interactive experience with small activities and even a contest for campers and adults to participate in!

3. We’re bringing back some of your favorite items in a new and improved fashion in addition to adding a few new ones! Check out some of our store items below!

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Laura Register

Laura graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Counseling and Human Development Services, focusing on Recreation Management. She began working for CentriKid in the summer of 2010 and joined the office staff in 2012.