Archive for September, 2013

Sep

30

2013

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5 Ways to Teach Kids about the Holy Spirit

Talking with kids about the Holy Spirit can be challenging, so many church leaders avoid it as much as they can. At CentriKid Camps in 2013, we focused on the truths that God is with us from creation, He is with us in the person of Jesus Christ, and He is with us through the Holy Spirit, and our response is that we follow Him. We felt it was important to give kids age-appropriate lessons with some tangible object lessons so they could grow in their understanding of the Holy Spirit.

Here are some passages and illustrations from CentriKid to help you teach kids about the Holy Spirit:

  1. Revelation 21:3 – “God’s dwelling is with humanity, and He will live with them.”
  2. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – Your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit. Define sanctuary, and help kids know that when we give God control of our lives, He makes our body a holy or sacred place.
  3. Acts 2:1-3 – Appearance as flaming tongues of fire. Illustration: Empty gas can (since most folks at your facility might be upset if you started a fire in the children’s department).
  4. John 3:8 – The wind that blows where it pleases. Illustration: Box fan. Cut it on, have a child with long hair stand in front of it and you’ll be able to quickly illustrate seeing the effects of the wind, but not seeing the wind itself.
  5. 1 Kings 19:11-12 – Soft whisper. Illustration: Piece of rope that gently tugs at your heart

As you teach kids about the Holy Spirit, move them to a point of understanding that God calls them to a response. You can feel the Spirit’s power, you can sense His presence, or even feel the tugging at your heart, but you have to make a commitment to follow Jesus in order for the Spirit of God to dwell within you.

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

27

2013

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2014 CentriKid Theme – Reset: God Redeems

In case you haven’t heard, the new CentriKid theme has been announced! The 2014 CentriKid Theme is Reset: God Redeems. At CentriKid, campers will be learning all about the incredible story of how God’s redemption started when He created the world. When we sinned, it was “game over,” but God “reset” our story through the life, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus. This summer, campers will learn what it means to be redeemed by God. They will discover how God’s redemption resets our hope of eternal life with Him by providing forgiveness of our sins, and making a way for us to be with Him forever! Each day they will focus on different Bible passages that will teach them what it means to be redeemed and what that means for us.

The focus verse is Psalm 130:7.  Camp shirts that each camper receives will be purple.  (A pic of the camp shirt is found on page 13 of Group Leader Information)

Our theme this year will have a video game motif. Check out this Reset: God Redeems logo and sneak peak video that we showed campers at camp!

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Be sure to keep checking back here for more fun 2014 updates!



Sep

25

2013

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Christ’s Simple Command: Follow Me

Christianity has a rich and storied history, and we also have a very deep and developed theology. If you want to learn about Christology, Pneumatology, eschatology, soteriology, ecclesiology, or anthropology, you don’t have to look very hard to find a plethora of books to answer any of your questions. Rich theological development is good and necessary, but sometimes, simplicity is also just as beneficial. Recently I’ve been reminded of the simplicity of many of Christ’s commands, and particularly one command that He gave to His disciples: “Follow Me.”

In Mark 1, Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee and spotted Simon Peter and Andrew. The two men were fishing, and Jesus issued this simple command: “Follow Me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Next Jesus came to James and John, who were also fishing, and gave them the same command: “Follow Me.” James and John immediately left their boat (and their father) to follow Jesus.

In one sense, this command is so simple. Jesus did NOT say, “If you want to be my disciple, you need to jump three times, turn around, shake a stick in the air, and do the hokey pokey.” No, He simply said, “Follow Me.” The command was clear, concise, and very easy to understand, but just because the command was simple to understand does not necessarily mean it was easy to do.

Peter, Andrew, James and John were not simply fishing for fun. Fishing was their career, and Jesus called them to leave it. What’s more, James and John actually left their father! If Christ called you to leave your career, to leave your community, or even to leave behind loved ones in order to follow Him, would you willingly obey? The truth is, as followers of Christ, He has give us the same command — to follow Him, no matter the cost. This command requires simple understanding, but steadfast commitment.

The curious thing about following Christ is that He is not simply standing still; rather, Christ is always on the move. If we are not following closely, the distance between us and Christ naturally gets greater. Introduce a little simplicity in your life. Put aside other concerns, and simply Follow Him.

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.

Don’t Miss these Breakout Sessions At KMC

KMC 2013 is almost here. Less than a month away the Kids Ministry Conference is an opportunity for children’s ministers to rejuvenate and learn helpful skills. What you learn from keynote speakers, worship experiences, and practical tips at workshops will benefit you and your ministry.

Below are some of the workshops offered at KMC…

Teaching Kids Contemplatively – A workshop by Dr. Shane Garrison about the use of silence. Getting kids to sit still. Creating meaning by slowing down. This session will examine how to teach children contemplatively and reflect in a world where this never happens anymore.
Discipleship in Context – Tired of writing your own curriculum? Learn how LifeWay’s new Discipleship in Context team, including workshop leaders, Michael Kelly and Meredith Teasley, can work with you to create custom curriculum for your children’s ministry or your entire church. Come hear how we can help, whether it’s a short-term study, a church- wide emphasis, or simply a year-long focus on a particular topic.
Ministry as Being: Revolutionary Spiritual Leadership – Matt Weston leads this session to discuss how one of our temptations as leaders is to believe that our ministry is defined by WHAT WE DO. However, Scripture teaches that our ministry is more centered in WHO WE ARE. In this workshop, we will explore the Biblical model for what it means to be a real spiritual leader.
Trends that Influence the Future of Kids Ministry – In this breakout, led by Bill Emeott, participants will consider trends that are influencing Kids Ministry and implications for our work today as we prepare to be ready for the future.

These workshops and many more at KMC will prepare you for another great year of Kids Ministry. All of the speakers, invited guests and workshop leaders want you to have a transformational experience while attending KMC. So don’t wait and register now.

Check out the KMC website to register.

Our staff believes in the experience provided by KMC and does not want you to miss out. Take this opportunity to allow yourself to recharge in this season of your ministry. It is such a valuable event we offer a free spot at CentriKid if you attend KMC.

We have heard that it would be a better service to you for this spot to be transferrable. Now you can transfer this spot to any adult within your church. Mention this offer when you call to register for camp.
(Note: To receive a free spot at CentriKid from attending KMC, you must call Events Registration at 1-877-CAMP-123. This offer is not available by registering online or by text).



You Spoke, We Listened – CentriKid Camp Schedule Updates for 2014

For the summer of 2013, we made quite a few changes to the CentriKid camp schedule. For a look back at some of the changes that we made and why, check out this video. During the summer, we took every opportunity possible to ask for feedback on the changes that we made. Overall, the response was overwhelmingly positive.

Everyone loved having smaller groups in Bible study (12-15 avg.), and the second Bible study time in the afternoon provided a perfect opportunity to reinforce the lesson and make meaningful life applications. Because the group size in the Party was smaller, too, more kids from each church participated in stage games. Three track times also was a very big hit. More kids participated in the tracks that they wanted, and they stayed engaged and active throughout the day.

In 2013, our afternoon schedule consisted of the following:

11:00 Lunch
12:15 Track A
1:15 Track B
2:15 Track C
3:15 Bible study / Party
4:30 Hang time

One point of feedback that we heard consistently through the summer was that it was difficult for kids to go from track times immediately to the afternoon Bible study or party (due to wet/dirty clothes, etc.). Also, many church leaders felt that it would help to have hang time after tracks so that kids could have a short time to rest before dinner and worship.

We think it is very important to listen to the people that we serve. In fact, every change that we make at camp is based on what we hear in listening sessions. (For more about how we listen, learn, and change, check out this post). For 2014, you spoke, and we listened. The afternoon schedule will now consist of the following:

11:00 Lunch
12:15 Bible study / Party
1:30 Track A
2:30 Track B
3:30 Track C
4:30 Hang Time

For a full look at the 2014 CentriKid camp schedule, click here.

We think this slight change will solve the issues that we heard about his summer, and the afternoon activities will flow more naturally. Also, if kids are involved in an outdoor or sport track time, they will have a time to digest their lunch before they head out in the heat. On Day 4 we will run a slightly altered schedule in the afternoon to accommodate for OMC, but your Camp Director will handle all the details to make this happen. Check the 2014 Group Leader Info (coming in January) for more information.

We are excited about the updates to the schedule for 2014, as well as some of the other changes that will be coming your way, and we think that 2014 is going to be the #bestyearever. Be sure to check our blog regularly for more exciting details about 2014 CentriKid (like an all new indoor track that is designed specifically for boys) and other fun news!

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.

Sep

18

2013

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Leading Well: Plan to Encourage

As a first year director for CentriKid I felt like I planned out every detail of my team’s summer from start to finish. I planned as much as I could, but I knew I would make mistakes and be unprepared for moments I could not anticipate without experience.

This summer I did make several mistakes and I will grow considerably in my leadership from one summer to the next. However, I know my preparation was valuable especially concerning encouraging my staff. This is something I had to prepare. Encouragement would have been easily overlooked if I had not come up with a plan to daily encourage my staff.

Here are some principles I learned planning out my encouragement:
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1. Create accountability to execute the plan
2. Modify to be meaningful
3. Allow others to help

Whenever I planned out my encouragement I made sure each day had its own activity. Each day on the first week of camp I let the staff know what form of encouragement they should expect during that day all summer long. One day it may be a snack, another day we might hop on something we called Affirmation Station or the Encouragement Train, and other days we gave superlative awards to make us all laugh. All summer long I was accountable to my promises, which helped me accomplish daily encouragement.

Although I had everything scheduled, I knew flexibility within the plan was important. I needed to modify my plan to make sure my encouragement was meaningful. Everyone is encouraged differently and often times you look through your lens of how you are encouraged. If your strategy is not resonating with staff, then look at how you can modify your plan to be meaningful. Submit to your team’s needs not to the plan. Encouragement is not something I wanted to merely check off my daily list, but I wanted it to be fruitful for staff. You may have to call in team members to help you modify.

I know that I am limited in my ability to encourage the team. I had a staffer who was especially passionate and gifted at encouragement. She encouraged me to try something different on Wednesdays. She knew what the team needed and was able to exercise her gift of encouragement. The change was a win with the team and I was thankful I took her advice.

I think every leader should have a plan to encourage staff. If you have a plan in place, ask yourself if it is meaningful to those it is catered towards. Finally, if you need to modify your plan bring in others to help you out.

CentriKid Staff we would love to continue to encourage you through our prayers in the office. Send us your prayer requests at centrikid@lifeway.com. http://bit.ly/19a1Gsi



Celebrate with Us: 2013 CentriKid Ministry Results

In 2013, we spent the summer at CentriKid Camps studying about the God who is with us. We learned that God has been with us from the very beginning, that He came to “tabernacle” or dwell with us through Jesus Christ, and if we are part of His people, He is with us at all times through Holy Spirit. Because of God’s extraordinary gift to us, and because of His faithful love, if we are part of His people we have the promise of being with Him forever, and one day, His people will see Him as He truly is, face to face.

“God’s dwelling is with humanity, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.” Revelation 21:3.

Scripture tells us that the angels in Heaven rejoice when even one sinner repents. The angels were rejoicing all summer long as hundreds of children became part of God’s people for the very first time and as hundreds more continued to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. We invite you to celebrate with us as we reflect and give God the glory for the incredible ways that He moved this summer! A snapshot of the 2013 CentriKid Ministry Results is below. For more results, as well as a few fun stats, we invite you to check out our Ministry Results page.

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We also want to say thank you for the opportunity to serve you through camp. It truly is an honor to be a small part of your ministry. Even though CentriKid is predominantly a summer ministry, we want you to know that our office team is here for you all throughout the year. If there is any way that we can serve you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. It will truly be our pleasure to serve you any way that we can.

We are already well underway for CentriKid 2014, and we hope that you’ll join us as we explore our theme — RESET: God Redeems! Be sure to check our blog regularly for more exciting updates.

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.

Sep

13

2013

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3 Ways to Keep Kids Excited about Church this Fall

Summer is over and fall is back! Kids are back in school and their busy lives of summer have just transitioned into their busy lives of school projects and fall sports. Kids are busier than they’ve ever been, so here are 3 ways to keep kids coming to church and keep them excited about what’s going on in your ministry!

1. Have a “Back to School Bash!” — This is a great way to kick off the new school year. Have awesome snacks, games, and prizes to encourage kids to come. This is also a great way to introduce the children who are moving up to a new class to their teachers and new peers.
2. Have a hayride and bonfire with s’mores! – This is a great fall activity that can become an annual tradition that all the kids will anticipate. Nothing signifies fall more than chilly weather, leaves, hay, and a fire—kids are guaranteed to have a blast! Have someone bring a guitar and lead everyone in worship to close the night.
3. PLAY OMC! Keep the kids excited about coming to church and eager for the summer by playing a Fall version of OMC! Check out www.centrikid.com/omc to find all the different editions of OMC. Kids will enjoy getting messy and having fun with this familiar summer game.

We know it’s tough keeping kids involved during this busy time. These are just a few ways to keep kids involved, so you’ll be able to continue ministering to them. We’re praying for you as you disciple these kids throughout the year!



How to Talk with Kids about September 11

September 11 is a date with national and emotional significance for American adults, but to our kids who were born after 2001 it might just be the day after September 10. Here are some great insights from Bill Emeott on how to talk with kids about September 11. Bill is an expert on kids ministry who currently serves at LifeWay.

Anyone old enough to remember a national tragedy can recall exactly where they were during Hurricane Katrina, when President Kennedy was shot, or when Pearl Harbor was attacked.

Where were you on September 11, 2001?
I was at church in staff meeting and our pastor’s administrative assistant came in and told us what was going on.

Is it important to talk to kids about 9/11 since most of the kids in kids ministry weren’t even born in 2001?
Talking is always important… discover the level of concern and share/discuss accordingly.

So for a child, how do you convey the significance of an event when they haven’t lived through one of those types of MAJOR events?
Appropriately. I think it’s valuable for kids to understand the events of the past and to understand why others feel the way they do about these significant dates. However, while events of history are significant and important, be careful not to “invent” or “force” kids to express feeling they may not have.

The day has been titled “Patriot Day,” so how would you define or explain “patriot” to kids who wonder what it means?
Kids don’t always understand the words we use and we need to make sure they’ve heard what we’ve said. In this case, that may require defining and discussing terms like “patriot.” To many kids the “Patriots” are a football team from New England.

Is there a biblical example of “patriot” or scriptural guidance for displaying patriotism?
The Good Sunday School answer is Jesus. But its true! In Luke 19 we see that Jesus weep over Jerusalem (figuratively… all Israel) because of their sinfulness and what He knew would be their impending destruction.  Jesus loved his people, his city, and his nation.  He wanted nothing but the best for it and He grieved over how His people had rejected God’s gift (Him).

I think Jesus’ example can provide a guide for Christians today. If we apply Christ’s example to today, it might mean that we should celebrate the times our nation does something great and mourn over the times when our nation does something wrong. It means balancing our love for country with the knowledge that there are times our country will get it wrong.  True patriotism is the ability to see one’s nation in its successes and its shortcomings.

If kids are worried about a crisis or experience a time of tragedy, what tips do you have for talking to them about it?
I’ve written before about talking with kids about a crisis. The most important thing to remember is to use world events (whether good or bad) as teachable moments to demonstrate that the faith we teach is real.

Bill Emeott loves equipping church leaders with tools to disciple their kids.  Bill serves as a Kids Ministry Specialist with LifeWay Kids.

He can be contacted at bill.emeott@lifeway.com

 

 

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

9

2013

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The Importance of Listening, Learning, & Changing

The world changes drastically every day. If you are not taking steps to change with it, you will quickly be left behind. At CentriKid Camps, we place great value on the importance of listening, learning, and changing.

During the summer, every single week, at every camp location, we lead what we call a “listening session.” This is an opportunity for us to ask a few questions and then, well, listen. We want to hear from the churches that bring kids to camp, because if we ever reach a point that we are not listening to the very people that we are striving to serve, then we really are failing at what we do.

In addition to our listening sessions, at the end of every summer, our office staff spends an entire week debriefing the summer. We call this “eval week.” Through the course of the week, we all share things that we heard from church leaders during the summer, and we talk about things that we will change for the upcoming year. Nearly every change that we make comes directly from what we hear during the summer in listening sessions.

Listening, learning, and changing are not necessarily easy things to do. They don’t always come naturally. We work hard to make sure that these things stay a part of our culture because we have learned that they are important. Here are a few tips that will help you be a better listener and learner:

1. Remember that you are not necessarily the smartest person in the room.

2. Maintain the attitude of a student, not a critic.

3. Don’t be defensive.

4. Ask open ended questions about your programs.

5. Suppress the urge to talk – listen!

If you don’t have a good system for listening to the people that you serve, I encourage you to take steps to listen more closely. You will certainly find the results worthwhile.

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.