Archive for December, 2014

Dec

31

2014

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KidMin New Years Resolutions

3-2-1 HAPPY NEW YEAR! That time is here and you have made your New Years resolutions, but what are your plans to grow your ministry in the next year? When I create my New Years list it always includes trying to save money, going to the gym more, or the hardest: drinking less sweet tea! What milestones can we set for a new year of children’s ministry?

How can you better enable your volunteers? 
Volunteers are the muscle behind any kid’s ministry and it is important to have a plan to take care of your volunteers and be sure that they are given the proper tools to succeed in ministry. Send out an end-of-year survey and ask your volunteers for ways that you can better serve them or how they feel the ministry can grow. Then do it! Make your volunteers feel heard by getting them those extra crayons and markers or by looking at class sizes to be sure that the teachers are being utilized to the best of their abilities. Simply making a plan to give all of your volunteers a thank you note by June can really make a difference. These volunteers pour into the kids every week and having a plan to invest in them is important.

Examine the content
Take some time to examine the curriculum that you are using at your church. Different programs fit different churches, and it is our goal at LifeWay Kids to create a curriculum that will fit your church. We offer 3 different starting points for you to base your ministry on, whether it is Bible Studies for Life, The Gospel Project, or Explore the Bible, LifeWay Kids wants you to find the best fit for your ministry.

Summer activities
Do you know what else January 1st means? It also means that Group Leader information is now available! It is never too early to start planning for camp. You can start scheduling your parent meetings, plan some fundraisers or events that will promote camp, and get your kids ready for a fantastic summer. VBS is also just around the corner! Come check out VBS Preview events and take your VBS to the next level.

How are you growing?
We are so thankful for all the work that you put in as a children’s minister. We understand the long hours that you spend loving kids and their families and the dedication that you have to make God’s name known to these kids. As you make this list of all of the ways that your ministry can grow this year, take some time to make a plan of how you can grow in your walk with God. Schedule extra time to help you in your personal walk with God and everything else will begin to fall into place as you seek His guidance in this ministry.

We hope that 2015 is an amazing year for you and your ministry! Keep us updated, we love to hear what God is doing in the lives of your kids all year long.

Isaac Kierstead

Isaac graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Studio Art and Editing and Writing. He started working camp in 2013 and joined the office team in 2014. Isaac designs a lot of the items you’ll see at camp this summer, helps with track development, puts together group leader information and staff manuals. His favorite part of camp is I Can’t Wait and track times.

Dec

29

2014

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When it Rains, do you have Plan B?

When it rains at camp, some places shut down and put in a movie, but we always have a back-up plan and do everything to make sure kids get a great experience despite the weather. Track times or recreation games may have to be adapted, but we still have fun. No matter what adjustments we have to make, we continue to share spiritual applications and make the gospel clear for kids.

At camp in the summer, our camp directors are always watching the local weather, but also watching the weather that is developing and heading their way.  A couple of summers ago, one of our camp directors told me,”It’s raining in Jackson .” She then asked me what I thought about the afternoon. I didn’t have any idea what she was talking about — but we were in North Carolina and she saw that it was raining in Jackson, TN and headed our direction later. We still use that phrase, “its raining in Jackson” to reference planning ahead.

We try to anticipate as many things as we can and prepare for them. In your church’s ministry, you can also prepare for a “rainy day” so you don’t have to shut down your kids program just because of something unexpected coming up. Give kids the best experience possible – and above all, make sure you communicate the message of Christ.

  1. when planning outdoor events, know what your options are for heading indoors.
  2. keep band-aids and headache medicine in your bag at all times. These may prove helpful for kids or volunteers.
  3. have a bag of tricks for when “big-church” goes longer than planned and you have to keep the kids for parents to pick them up.
  4. make sure your contacts/calendar/notes/plans are backed up somewhere other than just your phone. If your phone takes a plunge, then you need to be able to function!
  5. schedule your most important tasks early if you can. As the day goes on, there’s more opportunity for the unexpected to happen.
  6. keep a gospel tract in your Bible so its handy whenever the opportunity arises to share the message of Christ with a child or parent.
  7. on a longer timeline, develop young leaders because you never know when a key volunteer will take a new job, get pregnant, or be called to serve in another area.

It pays to think things through before a crisis hits. You never know what’s around the corner, but don’t let that make you paranoid, just train yourself to anticipate possible challenges,  be prepared, and have a plan b!

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.

CentriKid Culture: Replace Yourself

If you have been following our culture posts you have read about Striving for Excellence, Making It Fun and Building Life-Changing Relationships. Catch up if you have missed one or two. We find these culture statements important with our camp, because they guide our actions regularly.

Today’s topic is replace yourself. When talking with staff, we choose to say “replace yourself.” As we discussed the “Replace Yourself” statement when we toyed with different phraseology, which can totally change the dynamic. We wanted to convey the importance of raising up the next generation to pass the baton of our mission to them. We considered “replicate yourself”, but it strikes the wrong chord. Replication means you are making a carbon copy of yourself. From experience I know I cannot be a great someone else, or even a good someone else. However, I can be the best Collin maximizing my strengths and working on my weaknesses.

Replace yourself means you will work to invest in others, because you have the realization you cannot do everything by yourself and you are not always going to be where you are currently. Here a few techniques we use to make sure we are replacing ourselves at camp.

  1. Walk and Talk – When you are headed somewhere with one or two people look to invest in them. Take advantage of your uninterrupted time and make everything a teachable moment.
  2. Pursue your People – A huge mistake a leader can make is inaccessibility. Maybe you have told your team “my door is always open.” Truthfully, that is not enough. You need to go to your people or you need to invite them into your environment. To create opportunities to replace yourself in others you need to pursue your people.
  3. Delegate – First decide what only you can do. There are things you should not delegate. However, often times you can empower others by delegating tasks to them and supporting them through it.

Ultimately, replacing yourself is a spiritual mandate we should all follow based on the Great Commission. If you are not first replacing your faith in others, you are missing the mission in our walk as believers. Today consider in whom you should be replacing yourself and how you can accomplish it.



Dec

25

2014

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Merry Christmas 2014 from CentriKid!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Whether you are opening presents by the fire, traveling to Grandma’s house to gather with extended family, or enjoying other fun Christmas traditions, we hope that you and your family have a blessed day as you celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ!

For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 (HCSB)

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 1 John 5:11 (HCSB)

From the CentriKid family to your’s,

CentriKid Christmas Card 2014Merry Christmas!

Micheal Walley

Micheal is a CentriKid Camp Specialist and a volunteer in his church's kidmin each week. He has been serving with CentriKid since 2011 and on the office team since 2014. Micheal loves talking about kids ministry, leadership, coffee, and his wife, Anne Marie.

Dec

24

2014

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Our Favorite Christmas Traditions

Christmas is a wonderful time to get together with family and spend time with one another as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. As Christmas rolls around every year it gives families a chance to create some really fun and meaningful traditions. Let’s take a look at some traditions that the office team takes part in!

JE and his wife and daughter do a December daily activity, which could be making cookies for neighbors, ordering pizza and watching “Elf”, and pictures are taken at every activity for scrapbooks to remember all the fun December activities done year after year.

Henry’s family meets at his great uncle’s home and shares a meal together on Christmas Eve. Then they sing Christmas carols, and the youngest family member that is able reads the story from Luke 2. There is also an exchanging of gifts and an intense wrapping paper war which is a little like a snowball fight. Also, Henry and his dad pass a knife back and forth every year at Christmas.  A tradition started with Henry’s Grandad and his youngest son.

Collin’s favorite tradition started when his Nana was a little girl. Every year their family has a Christmas Eve Program. A lot of the songs and activities are the same each year, but sometimes there are fun performances by cousins or aunts and uncles (e.g. clogging, performing “Grandma got ran over by a reindeer”, etc.) The family eats the same food Nana ate as a little girl including tuna sandwiches and salsa. You might be thinking, tuna is not a special Christmas food, but for his family it is. These are traditions that Collin hopes to continue as his family grows, tuna fish included.

Micheal gets a new Snoopy ornament from his Granny every year, which is his favorite Christmas tradition. He also always makes sure to “White Christmas” and his favorite, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and also eats breakfast casserole on Christmas morning with his mom and dad back in Mississippi.

One of my favorite things that I love doing is driving around looking at the lights. This was something I did with my Papaw and enjoy doing year after year. Baking cookies with my mom is also super fun, even if we mostly just laugh at how the gingerbread men do not look exactly like they should.

Christmas is a beautiful, wondrous time to spend time with family and a perfect opportunity to remember the true gift of Christ.

Tiffany Francis

Tiffany graduated from Georgetown College with a degree in communication and media studies, and received her Master's Degree from Murray State. She has been with Lifeway Kids since 2010 and joined the camp team in 2014 where she works on Bible Study, the camp store, and many other elements.

Dec

22

2014

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3 Reasons to Join Us at VBS Preview

Did you know that “the CentriKid Office team” does more than just work on CentriKid all year? We get to have a hand in all the great events that LifeWay Kids offers each year.  One of our favorites is coming up in January:  The VBS Preview! We are excited to get to partner with the VBS team and bring the 2015 VBS Event “off the map”!

We would love to have you join us at a VBS Event in the month of January at Ridgecrest, North Carolina; in Fort Worth, Texas;  or in Nashville, Tennessee!

So why should you come to a VBS Event?

  1. Solid Training. At the VBS events, we have kids ministry leaders and VBS experts training on everything from recreation to sharing the Gospel with kids to how to involve families.  You’ll be able to learn from the guys who wrote the material, and leave with a better understanding of how to convey the message of Journey Off the Map to your kids with practical methods.
  2. Meaningful Inspiration.  We want your time at a VBS event to be a milestone in your ministry. We know a kids minister does not always get time to sit back and worship.  At the VBS Preview, you’ll get sessions of worship and hear from speakers like Dr. Shane Garrison (who helps write CentriKid worship plans) and the VBS guy, Jerry Wooley!  Each year, we hear stories of kids leaders who leave the Preview with inspiration to take their VBS to the next level and change lives.  We want this to be you!
  3. Incredible Fun. Let’s be real…getting away from the normal day-to-day routine and joining hundreds of other kids ministry leaders and learning about VBS is FUN!  You’ll get to play games that are featured in the VBS material, preview the new VBS movie before anyone else, network with fellow kids ministry leaders, and experience some cool surprises we have planned for you!

VBS is a huge part of so many local kids ministries.  At the end of the day, we pray that the VBS Preview helps and encourages kids ministry leaders to go above and beyond and reach kids and families for Christ. Join us in praying for all the thousands of people that will be touched by Journey Off the Map this year.

So what are you waiting for?  Check out the VBS website to find out how to register for a VBS Preview Event!

Micheal Walley

Micheal is a CentriKid Camp Specialist and a volunteer in his church's kidmin each week. He has been serving with CentriKid since 2011 and on the office team since 2014. Micheal loves talking about kids ministry, leadership, coffee, and his wife, Anne Marie.

CentriKid Culture: Building Life Changing Relationships

As a CentriKid staffer, we have the amazing opportunity to create relationships with people from all over the country; whether it is the people on your team, the kids at camp, or the adult leaders, we believe that ministry is best done in the context of relationships. At CentriKid, we want every kid to have an encounter with the gospel and we believe that it is best done through relationships. By creating that relationship, we are able to do more than just preach to them, we are able to invest in a child’s life by listening to their stories, caring about their needs, and by showing them the amazing love that God has for them.

Here at CentriKid, life changing relationships are something that we strive to create with everyone involved with camp. These relationships also translate to the group leaders and adults who are at camp. We know that you work hard all year to minister to these children and we want camp to be a time where you can grow in your relationship with Christ. Sitting with adult leaders and hearing how God has been faithful in their ministry or listening and praying with leaders who are struggling is

Building personal relationships is vital to creating a team that is unified in sharing the gospel. I have been blessed to have people on my camp teams who have created relationships with me and spiritually invested in me. Even though I was at camp to minister to kids, my relationship with Christ grew more in that time than it had ever before.

Life changing relationships is not something that is simply preached but it is a cultural element that transcends throughout every part of camp. The first time that I ever saw members of the Nashville CentriKid office interact was at a conference and I immediately noticed the intentional relationships that helped them succeed as a team. Life changing relationships are a major part of the CentriKid culture and it is through these relationships that ministry occurs.

Check out the other aspects of CentriKid culture here:

Make It Fun

Strive for Excellence

Isaac Kierstead

Isaac graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Studio Art and Editing and Writing. He started working camp in 2013 and joined the office team in 2014. Isaac designs a lot of the items you’ll see at camp this summer, helps with track development, puts together group leader information and staff manuals. His favorite part of camp is I Can’t Wait and track times.

Dec

17

2014

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CentriKid Culture: Make it Fun

At CentriKid one thing that you can be sure of is that there will always be fun. We work hard and make much of Jesus all summer long, but you are sure to see laughter and excitement at all CentriKid locations. Our staff love what they do and we want that to permeate through the entire camp experience.

Some of our teams travel to different locations every weekend, and that could not be done if our leaders did not make it fun for their team. There might be a game that helps make loading the truck fun, or even a competition to see who can get done with their task the fastest. There is always work to be done, but making it fun makes the time go by faster and creates a great team building experience.

Another way that teams can make it fun is to make sure that everyone feels encouraged. Secret encouragers are people who give small gifts, write notes, and make sure that you always have your favorite candy. Encouragement is a part of our culture because we know how important it is to make our staff feel valued. When staffers receive fun things from their secret encourager it always makes their day!

Sometimes during camp, going to sleep is the last thing you want to do. In order to make it fun for everyone at camp, our staff participates in the Good Night Song. It is just a fun song that the staffers lead to make it more enjoyable to get to the rooms and get a good nights rest to prepare for the next day. This just goes to show that you can make any aspect of your ministry fun!

We work with the very best group of people at CentriKid and we will keep trying to find ways to make it fun. What are ways that you are making your ministry fun?

Tiffany Francis

Tiffany graduated from Georgetown College with a degree in communication and media studies, and received her Master's Degree from Murray State. She has been with Lifeway Kids since 2010 and joined the camp team in 2014 where she works on Bible Study, the camp store, and many other elements.

Christmas Games for your Ministry

Amidst all the Christmas parties you are attending, planning, and skipping, you are inevitably charged with creating Christmas fun in your kids ministry. These Christmas games are fun, but they are built in a way to create a spiritual application. Your Christmas party will be a success with lots of fun and lessons will be taught through these games.

  • Candy Wrap Relay: open kisses using oven mitts in a relay fashion.
    • Prepare: Set of oven mitts and bowl of Hersey Kiss© for teams of 4-5 kids .
    • Share: Although opening a Hersey Kiss© with oven mitts on is difficult it can be done. In the same way before Christmas and before Jesus came to the Earth it was still possible but difficult for people to have a relationship with God. Unfortunately, it was very difficult. Jews had to practice the law, sacrifice animals for their sins, and worship God in very specific ways. However, Jesus coming to Earth, living a perfect life, dying for our sins, and resurrecting from the grave made having a relationship with God more accessible like taking off your mitts. Jesus did the work, Jesus made a clear way for us to have a relationship, and his life on earth began at Christmas in a manager.
  • Santa’s Beard: this is a stage game option. One kid gets petroleum jelly put on their face and another kid tries to throw cotton balls on their partner’s face to make a beard.
    • Prepare: Petroleum jelly and bag of cotton balls for each pair. Create lines of stage of where they have to stand. A good distance could be 5 feet away.
    • Share: Putting Santa’s beard on someone can make them look like a man. Jesus himself would have had a beard as a Jewish man. In fact it was key to our salvation that Jesus would come to the earth as a man. We needed him to be able to die as sacrifice for our sins. His birth on earth, which is celebrate at Christmas, is a huge part of our salvation plan.
  • Frozen: melt an ice cube fastest without throwing it on the ground.
    • Prepare: Ice trays with enough ice cubes for every kid to get a cube of ice. Consider freezing a item for kids to have to retrieve.
    • Share: When Christ came to earth most people, especially His people, had very hard cold hearts just like our ice cube. But God had already promised to those who would believe, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. I will remove your heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). Although some people would continue to have hard hearts, Jesus would melt away the heart of others and warm them to himself through a relationship.

If you are looking for more ideas try looking at a previous post. We love the celebration of Christmas, and even more we love to use it as a teachable moment in our kids ministry. Take the next step whenever planning your Christmas fun and make a connection to biblical truths your kids need to hear.



How to Teach Kids about Saying “Grace”

In modern Christian culture, we pray before meetings, before we travel, and we even use prayer as a “transition” during worship. Genuine prayer and communion with God is always a good thing, but with the proliferation of prayer in our culture, we sometimes run the risk of of prayer simply becoming part of the routine.  One time in particular that is in danger of routinization is when we pray three times a day before meals. Check out these tips on how to teach kids about saying “grace,” and help them avoid the prayer pitfall.

teach-kids-about-saying-"grace"1. Teach kids about prayer. One of the first steps in teaching kids about saying “grace” is to provide some teaching on prayer in general. Very simply, prayer is a conversation with God. We should be honest when we pray, expressing our concerns, fears, frustrations, and requests, but we should also remember that we are speaking to the creator and ruler of the universe. As such, we should have an attitude of thanksgiving, adoration, and reverence, not one of entitlement. Perhaps two of the best passages in Scripture dealing with prayer are Matthew 6 and Luke 22. In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches his disciples the “model prayer,” and in Luke 22, we see Jesus earnestly lifting up his request (take this cup away from me), while still lovingly submitting to the will of the Father (not My will, but Yours, be done). These passages are a great starting point for teaching kids more about prayer.

2. Teach kids specifically about prayer before meals. A great passage for teaching this truth is also found in Luke 22 and the story of the Lord’s supper. In Luke’s version, there are two cups—the cup of thanksgiving and the cup of the new covenant. Jesus took the first cup, gave thanks and shared it with his disciples. The meal that they shared together was a passover meal, which was a time to think about and remember the great acts of God in delivering the Israelites from the Egyptians and to reflect on his provision for his people throughout history. As we follow this example, it is appropriate for us to offer a prayer of thanksgiving before meals and to reflect on the mighty acts of God and the ways that he has provided for us through Christ. Teaching about Jesus’ example will help kids avoid the prayer pitfall when they say “grace.”

3. Model prayer before meals well. As with most things, it is important to teach kids, but it is also equally important to model prayer before meals well. Kids watch and imitate the things that adults do, so we must be careful to examine our own heart and prayers. Remember, though, that prayer is a conversation with God. Check your attitude to make sure that you are not trying to “impress” kids with your prayers. God offers a strong word against this, too (Matthew 6)! In addition to modeling, allow kids the opportunity to say “grace.” Kids can learn from other kids, too.

At CentriKid this summer, we will be teaching kids more about prayer and how disciples can embrace God through prayer, and I am excited for kids to gain a deeper understanding of how to commune with God.

Looking for more? Check out these additional posts on prayer:

Prayer in School: The Moment of Silence

Discipleship for Kids – Start a Prayer Journal

 

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.