Archive for April, 2015

Guest Blog by Eric Geiger: Idols

We live in an idol driven culture. Idolatry came with the entrance of sin. In fact, Martin Luther said, “Under every behavioral sin is the sin of idolatry.” If this is true, and I believe it is, this should forever change how we look at sin. Recently, at LifeWay’s Employee Chapel I had the privilege to talk about four root idols.

Christian leaders Tim Keller, David Powlison, and Dick Keyes have written much more extensively and eloquently on the idols beneath the surface, but here is a snapshot of four root idols that drive our behavior:

  • Power: a longing for influence or recognition
  • Control: a longing to have everything go according to my plan
  • Comfort: a longing for pleasure
  • Approval: a longing to be accepted or desired

Which of these idols resonates with you? Mentally walk through a day as a kids minister. Inevitably, you struggle with these four idols yourself, and you will work with kids and volunteers who struggle with these idols too. It is a universal human experience that we must learn to address and for which we need to seek repentance.

I do not repent of my idolatry by looking at myself in the mirror and telling myself I can displace it with my own energy, might, or goodness. I repent by remembering the Great God who is above all gods. We can repent of our longing for:

I hope this challenges you personally and in your ministry. I encourage you to teach your kids what it means to struggle with these root idols. They too can learn to practice repentance from idols by focusing on the worthiness of God.

About the Guest Blogger:

Eric Geiger serves as one of the Vice Presidents at LifeWay Christian Resourceseric-geiger, leading the Resources Division. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church.

Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.



2015 Camp Prep Series #10: Track Times

When sitting at the lunch table with kids, I always ask them what their favorite part of camp. About 90% of the time they name one or all of their track times. Kids love tracks, so we do too. Check out our post on why campers love track times. Let’s jump into Camp Prep Series #10: Track Times!

Check out the usual track times and their descriptions on the image to the right (tracks may vary by location).Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 8.33.37 AM Last year we added a few new tracks to our mix. Build It, Adventure and Blast Tracks were a nice addition to the offering of activities CentriKid provides. The emphasis of the Adventure and Blast were to maximize the fun to be had at some of our conference centers. Zip lines, inner tubes, rock walls, and more are all a part of the offering. These tracks are location specific so make sure you check out your Group Leader Information for details. Build It was found at every location and featured the Rube Goldberg Experiment. Expect new and fun activities from Build It this year.

At the end of the day we want our track times to be phenomenally fun. This means we take time to are beefing up our tracks to be more exciting. Kids who sign up for the baseball track should expect to scrimmage every day while still learning a few basics. At our indoor tracks our experiments will be more interactive and bigger! For example in Weird Science you will get to see a watermelon explode!

Most importantly all the fun is purposeful. Each track has two debriefs a day where our staff will use God’s Word to teach kids something about God. The debriefs take the activities kids love during tracks and put a spiritual application on those activities. This is a great tool to ask kids what they learned during their tracks and have an intentional conversation with them.

Remember to check out your Group Leader Info on your location page.There you will find your location specific tracks on pages 4 and 5. You will want to print off page 5 and have your campers fill these out before you arrive at Check In. Some churches fill these out ahead of time, others on the bus ride to camp, and you always have the option to have our CentriKid Staff lead your kids through the process of filling out their track time cards.

If you have any last minute questions about tracks email your team’s gmail account found on your location page. We cannot wait to have you at camp this summer!

Check out these others posts in our 2015 Camp Prep Series:

#1 Online Tools

#2 Fundraising

#3 Promoting at Your Church

#4 Team Assistants

#5 Spiritual Direction

#6 Camper Care Packages

#7 Sneak Peek

#8 Pre-Camp Planning

#9 Meet Your Camp Leaders



Apr

22

2015

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Loving Well and Leading Well

There are countless books, podcasts, blogs about leadership today, but one of the topics that most people shy away from is the role of love in leadership. As Christian leaders we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, and it is very difficult to lead well if we do not love well. I truly believe that if we can love well in our ministry and in our lives everything else will follow.

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”  One of the most important things that you can do for those that you lead is to make them feel valued. The quickest way to create friction on a team is if members do not feel cared for or important. A word of encouragement can make a world of difference. It is important to have great programs and excellent ministries, but the most important thing is the heart behind it all. Paul said that if we don’t have love, we have nothing.

What is the heartbeat behind your leadership today? Are you placing an emphasis on the people that you lead? There are so many ways that you can invest in the people that you lead. Listen to them when they speak, compliment them on their good work, and look for connections that can establish a relationship. Your teammates, volunteers, or employees need to know that you take an interest in them. The small talk and the you engage in can sometimes mean the most.

No matter if you lead a team, an organization,  or your family, leadership always starts with yourself. This is not a new technique or a fancy way of doing things, just a simple correlation between loving well and leading well. One of my favorite verses is John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.’’

They will know us by our love as Christians and as leaders. We must start with love, everything stems from the heart.

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.

Apr

20

2015

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Branding Your Kids Ministry

When you think about excellent customer experiences, what companies come to mind? Chick-fil-a, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, and Amazon are always on my list. In addition to the products and services these companies offer, they work hard to make customer service a part of their brand experience.

Whether you know it or not, your kids ministry also has a brand. I’m not necessarily talking about logos, graphics, or font treatments (although those things can be very helpful tools); instead, I’m talking about how others view your ministry. You are known for the services and experiences you provide to kids and families, whether good or bad. If you have never thought about your brand, you may want to take some time to reflect on how people currently perceive your ministry and how you want them to perceive it. Check out these tips for branding your kids ministry.

  1. Think About It
    What are those “big picture” ideas that you want to permeate throughout your entire ministry? Maybe you want your kidmin to be focused on Jesus, or maybe you want to emphasize making intentional connections with families. Take some time to think about these concepts. Make a list if you don’t already have one, or review your current list to make sure it still aligns with your ministry goals. Ask for input from other leaders in your ministry.
  2. Communicate
    It does no good if you create a mission statement or list of values in isolation and never share it with others. You need to talk about the important things in your ministry regularly! Call a meeting with your volunteers and teachers to help cast your vision for ministry, and re-cast vision regularly. Communicate to parents and families the things they can expect from you and your ministry. Make sure your messaging is consistent in your various media outlets (bulletins, announcements, website, Facebook, etc.).
  3. Live it Out
    You cannot stand on empty promises. If Chick-fil-a simply talked about being focused on their customers but they consistently provided a terrible experience, their business would fail. Make sure your ministry is actually in line with your mission and goals! Provide regular training for your teachers, volunteers, and leaders. Give honest feedback, and ask for personal feedback, too. Ask friends or mentors to hold you accountable and lovingly point out when you aren’t delivering on your promises or goals.
  4. Be Consistent
    The real key to branding your kids ministry is consistency. If you change your message or goals every month, or if you provide a quality experience for a special event but neglect your ministry on Sundays or throughout the week, people will wonder whether they can trust you. You must be consistent in your messaging, and you must consistently deliver on your promises.

 

Try this!

As an exercise in branding, ask 5-10 church members, “If a visitor asked you to describe our kids ministry, what would you tell them?”

You may be surprised by what you hear. If you get inconsistent results, or if the responses do not reflect your ministry goals, it may be time to hone your skills in branding your kids ministry.


 

Looking for more?

Check out A Director’s Vision or Tell Your Team What is Most Important

 

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.

Apr

13

2015

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Getting FIT: Practicing What You Preach

This summer we have so many exciting things planned for kids and adults but it is so important to prepare our hearts for the truth that we will delve into during FIT:Faith in Training. As we prepare to teach campers the importance of reading scripture, prayer, giving, and christian community we need to make sure that we have a firm grasp of our spiritual lives before we lead campers to experience it for themselves.

It can sometimes be overwhelming  or disconcerting to evaluate your prayer life or how often you spend time alone with God, but it is so important to take time to reflect on your relationship with God. As leaders in your kids ministry, you must lead by example. If we want our kids and volunteers to read the bible, give cheerfully, and pray we need to be doing those things well in our own lives. Take a moment to think about all that God has done in your life and what you are doing in response to the grace that He has provided for you.

Being a part of a community of believers to encourage you and hold you accountable is vitally important. We are always stronger together.  And remember, perfection is not the goal. We will not always do everything right; we are in the process of transformation, we have not achieved it. Being willing to be transparent in your walk with the Lord with your community can be one of the most important things we can do.

Albert Einstein once said “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” If we are not knowledgeable about God’s word, prayer, giving, or christian community we will not be able to speak into the lives of others regarding those things. Getting FIT for this summer requires leading by example and practicing what you preach.

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.

2015 Camp Prep Series #8: Pre-Camp Planning

As the summer approaches, your kids are ready to get out of school and the craziness of summer activities begins! Here is a checklist of a few things that will help you and your group be ready when it is time to hop in the bus for camp!

Talk to your adult sponsors!
The people that you are bringing to camp will help shape the experience for all of your campers. Bring adults and students who you trust to invest in your kids throughout the week. While at camp, these sponsors will be the one answering spiritual questions and loving your children as they learn how to grow their faith in Christ. Also, be sure that all of your sponsors have signed the statement of compliance before they come to camp.

Meet with parents!
One of the promises that we make at CentriKid is that we provide a safe environment for the kids. This starts by providing you as group leaders with the information that you can share during parent meetings. Check out the Parent Packet and provide copies of it for all of the parents so that they also feel ready to send their kids off to camp. Getting copies of insurance cards and signing release forms is a vital key to preparing for camp. Also, be sure that you collect all the photo and DVD order forms so that the parents can get their snapshots of their kids at camp! Another way that we want to make each child feel safe at camp is by giving the parents a chance to fill out a special attention card. We as a staff take these cards very seriously and want to know about any physical or emotional/spiritual needs that the children might have. Don’t forget to fill out a special attention card if anyone in your group has a birthday the week of camp, we would love to celebrate with them! You can also show our new Parent Peace of Mind video!

3 weeks before camp!
The best week of the summer is getting closer and you are almost ready to go! Three weeks before camp, don’t forget to email your participant list that includes your adult sponsors so that we can have housing all prepared for you when you get to camp. You can get the participant list HERE, and you’ll email it to the email address found on your location specific page! At three weeks, you can also pay your balance for camp which will be due 14 days prior to camp.

We can not wait to see you and your kids this summer. We know that you put lots of work into getting your kids ready for camp and we want to make this process as simple as possible for you. If you have any questions as you prepare for camp, feel free to contact the CentriKid office or your camp director and we would love to answer any questions you might have!

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.

Choosing the CentriKid Theme

In last week’s Camp Prep Series, Henry gave you a bit of insight into how we decide on our camp themes. We are excited that FIT:Faith in Training is our 15th CentriKid theme! We believe that a summer theme is a fun tool to help share the message of Christ to kids that come to camp.

Back in December, the CentriKid office team gathered with a few friends for an entire day to plan out the 2016 spiritual direction and theme.   You might be surprised that planning for camp happens so far in advance, but there are so many different things that must be written, produced, design, and edited, that it takes all of the 18 months to make camp happen successfully.

We follow pretty simple guidelines to structure our planning day and decide on the new theme:

quadrant.0011.)  Start with Scripture.  The spiritual content of camp is the most important thing! Before anything else, we spend time discussing and praying about the spiritual direction of the summer. Usually, a CentriKid Camp Spiritual direction falls within one of these areas: “Who God is, What God Does, Who We Are, What We Do.” To get an idea of this, check out the FIT: Faith in Training spiritual direction, which falls into the category of “What We Do.”

2.)  Choose daily themes. After we decide on the overall spiritual direction, we begin to focus on each day of camp, and how that should be broken down into smaller spiritual themes each day of camp. For example, this upcoming summer, each day of FIT: Faith in Training is broken up into smaller themes like “A Disciple is a Follower of Christ, A Disciple Encounters God Through His Word, etc.”  This is also where we begin ideating what scripture passages will be used as the basis for Bible Study and worship.

3.) Brainstorm overall motifs. After we have a solid foundation in the spiritual direction, then we begin coming up with motif. Last year, for example, the CentriKid team considered a motif of a factory, a greenhouse, and more before choosing the fitness motif for FIT: Faith in Training. When choosing the CentriKid theme, pairing the motif with the spiritual direction is extremely important to us, and we want the connection between the two to be clear.

4.) Leave the conversation open. Hopefully by the end of the planning day, we have laid solid groundwork for next year’s CentriKid theme, but we choose to leave the conversation open over the next few months. While we leave the meeting with an idea of what the spiritual direction and motif will be, we want to continue to seek the Lord’s guidance in the next summer, and we remain willing to adjust things if He leads us that way.

I hope that you have enjoyed getting a small glimpse into how we choose our camp theme!  Maybe you can use this guideline for choosing how you theme your kid events, D-Nows, or day camps.

We hope to see you this summer for FIT: Faith in Training, and at the end of your camp week, you will get a sneak peak at the theme for CentriKid 2016!

 

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.

Apr

3

2015

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2015 Camp Prep Series #7: Sneak Peek

We hope you are excited about FIT: Faith in Training! Camp begins in only 2 short months, so as you continue your preparations, we wanted to give you a sneak peek of what you will see this summer.

When we create a theme for CentriKid, we always start with Scripture. The spiritual content of camp is the most important thing! If you missed my last post, be sure to check out the 2015 CentriKid Spiritual Direction. After we nail down the spiritual direction, then we try to create a motif that supports the content. This year, we are excited to get FIT as we grow closer to Jesus! Check out the key verse poster and cover art for FIT: Faith in Training below:

centrikid-FIT-key-verse-sneak-peek

centrikid-FIT-cover-art-sneak-peek

We always try to create a fun environment in the auditorium that goes along with our theme. This year, when campers walk into the auditorium, one of our head trainers will welcome them to Club FIT! The stage will look similar to a locker or equipment room at a fitness center, and many of our videos and characters will have connections to Club FIT. Check out an early mock-up of our stage design below:

centrikid-set-design-sneak-peek

Music is also a very important part of camp. Our music selection this year will feature an original theme song created specifically for FIT: Faith in Training (“FIT for God”), as well as many other familiar worship songs:

  • Your Glory is Forever (from 2015 VBS)
  • Here with Me (from Worship for Life)
  • This is Amazing Grace
  • 10,000 Reasons
  • Forever Reign
  • Our God
  • Lord, I Need You

We know many of you have been waiting all year for another chance to shuffle like a monkey. Don’t fear, because the Monkey Shuffle will be back again this summer, and we will also introduce a brand new dance song created for CentriKid Camps! For a full sneak peek of the music you will hear at CentriKid this summer, be sure to check out our camp music page. The music page provides links to download music files so you and your kids can get familiar with the songs before you arrive! Check back often as we continue to update the music page in preparation for the summer.

We are excited about all the things you will see and here this summer at CentriKid Camps! We hope to see you there!

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.

Peach Needs a New Voice: APRIL FOOLS!

Yesterday, you might have read that we are looking for a new voice of our friend, Peach. Well..APRIL FOOLS!

We are happy to announce Peach will most certainly be returning to camp this summer for FIT: Faith in Training, and he will still sound like the Peach we know and love!(The actor did not move to Alaska to become a polar bear trainer.)

We received an overwhelming amount of incredible videos of you guys showing us your best Peach voice! We know some of you just can’t wait to see some of the videos that were submitted, and while no one will be the new voice of Peach this summer, we thought it would be great to show you what all of these awesome potential voice-artists would sound like as our favorite fruit!  Check out the video below!

Again, thanks for playing along and we can’t wait for you to see Peach once again at camp during FIT: Faith in Training as we teach kids spiritual practices to help grow their faith. Our team has LOVED all of audition videos that were sent in yesterday, and most of all, we are thankful for such amazing fans of CentriKid and Peach that are willing to have fun! CentriKid would not be what it is without fun friends like each of you, and God does amazing things through the fun!

Check out a few of our favorite videos below!


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.

Peach Needs a New Voice!

We have some bad news. The worst news ever. Almost as bad as if there were new rules created for OMC. Over the past 3 years, Peach has become a staple at camp even sometimes leaving kids in the crowd screaming, “Peach! Peach! Peach!” Unfortunately, the actor who regularly voices our friend Peach has packed his bags and moved Alaska to pursue a career as an polar bear trainer. We are happy for him, but we are left in a bad situation. We have no voice for Peach, and we need to record the videos for FIT: Faith in Training very soon.

We need your help. Peach needs a new voice immediately, or else Peach will not be able to be at camp this summer. We must find a new voice for Peach by tomorrow, or else we will never hear phrases like “Hey Everybody!” ever again.

Do you think you have what it takes to be the new voice of Peach?  We are holding a nation-wide online casting call.  Here’s what you can do to send in your audition:

1. Record yourself performing this script. You can sound like the old Peach, or create a completely new voice. Males and females will be considered! Please stick to the script. There’s no need for this video to be professional-quality.  A phone or computer camera will do.

2. Send your video to centrikid@lifeway.com. Please submit your video by 9pm Central time tonight.  Our CentriKid Office Team plans to stay up all night selecting the new Peach.

3. Check the CentriKid.com blog tomorrow. We will announce the new voice of Peach on the CentriKid.com blog tomorrow afternoon. Be warned: if you send in a video, there’s a good chance it might be shown on the blog!

We are devastated that our beloved Peach may not make it to camp this summer.  If you love Peach, please do your part and send in a video.

For inspiration, check out the Peach videos below!



peachaprilfoold

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.