At CentriKid Camps, we promise to provide a safe place for kids physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Parents and kids ministry leaders place a high value on knowing their kids are well taken care of at camp, so we check the recreation fields for pot-holes, we call roll when kids change activities, and every staffer is screened and thoroughly trained. We are serious about safety. At CentriKid, we would make it our number one priority except that sharing the Gospel is why we do what we do.
Here are 5 ways your church can make sure you provide a safe place for kids.
1 – Background check the staff and volunteers. This wasn’t always a common practice, but in this day and age it is negligent not to. Don’t assume anything. Its not offensive, its essential.
2 – Interview your volunteers. This step shouldn’t be viewed as a hurdle or a way to eliminate people, but it can help you as a leader know your volunteers better know your team and determine where they can best fit in your ministry. Bonus: when someone is out sick or you have special events coming up, you can better cover your ministry roles by knowing the various skills and experiences your volunteers have to offer.
3 – Plan for an emergency. Emergencies are unannounced, but you can go ahead and be ready. Have someone on-site at all times who is first-aid certified. Consider providing a first-aid station for minor bumps and scrapes. In the event of a fire or larger event, train volunteers to know the safest ways out of the facility. Revisit these protocols periodically.
4 – Have a sign-in and sign-out procedure. Create a procedure for this and stick to it. The regular attenders may roll their eyes and feel that its an inconvenience at times, but this can be a huge issue for guests at your church. If your ministry hopes to attract new families, this is a great way to provide peace-of-mind for parents visiting your church.
5 – Be alert and be involved. As the leader who shepherds the kids ministry area, you have the awesome opportunity to minister to children, but you also bear the responsibility of watching over them. Without always seeming suspicious, you can stay on guard for things that seem out of place. Be involved with kids, parents, and volunteers as a guide for what is safe and appropriate while under the care of your ministry.
Of all places, the church must provide a safe place for kids. Be proactive about safety measures. Your ministry can flourish as you handle the Gospel effectively and as you earn the trust of parents. We don’t get the opportunity to minister to kids without the trust and approval of the parents.
What is your personality like? Are you an extrovert or an introvert? How are you encouraged best? What ways do you like to show encouragement?
Now think about those you lead. What are their personalities like? Chances are that you will lead many, many people with personalities quite different from your own. Your people might not have the same love language and might not connect with the way you show encouragement. At times, you might find yourself totally at odds with someone you lead simply because of personality differences.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Leading people well relates directly with connecting with the people you lead. They must know that you care about them and that you desire to build a relationship with them. In my leadership journey, it has sometimes been extremely difficult to connect with those different than me.
Here are four mistakes I’ve made and seen when leading different personalities.
Never find out how they work. You’re busy as a leader, so you don’t have time to figure out how your people receive encouragement, right? WRONG! This should be a high priority. The best way to know how to connect with your team is to find out how they feel valued. I have asked my team in the past to take the Myers-Briggs Personality test and Love Languages test to find out how I could best serve them.
Never adapt to their personality. As the leader, sometimes you might think it is the other person’s responsibility to adapt to your personality style and make the connection. In actuality, it is the leader’s responsibility to find out how they tick and adapt to connect with them. This may mean simply altering your schedule a bit to catch them at their best time or taking a few minutes to encourage in a way that you would not normally.
Never seek help. I have found it helpful to ask others with similar personality types to those I am trying to lead how to best connect with them. I have found seeking guidance from others to be extremely helpful when trying to serve and lead people who are encouraged differently that I am.
Never admit that you were wrong. Sometimes you might naturally not connect with someone on your team and not even realize it. If it is brought to your attention, go and fix it immediately. Sometimes this means admitting that you were in the wrong for not seeing how that person felt encouraged.
Ultimately, do your best to connect and encourage each person on your team. Try not to make the mistakes above, and it won’t be as hard as you might think.
As a children’s minister, you sometimes need an extra craft, activity, or snack to create an unforgettable time at church. Thanks to the internet, we have amazing resources that puts thousands of amazing children’s ideas right in front of us. One resource that I have found very helpful in planning activities for kids is Pinterest because it is filled with fun ideas that can easily tie into lessons and curriculum.
One way you can start to gain inspiration on Pinterest is by following LifeWay Kids. They are always on the look out for new and easy ways to make learning the Bible fun for kids. You can find great ideas for decorating Sunday School rooms, crafts that will engage your kids, snacks that can be shared with a small group class, and some great resources on teaching Bible lessons to your kids.
One of my favorite ideas that I have used with 5th graders in Sunday School is a cup stack game that lets kids race to put the books of the Bible in order the fastest. The kids really enjoyed this and by simply doing it near the end of the class for a few weeks, the kids were able to recite the books. SImple things like this helped to further my ministry to these kids and helped them in their faith training.
Games, crafts, and even snacks can be used to bring glory to God. Using a resource such as Pinterest to gain ideas as well as share them with other kid’s ministers is a great way to continue improving our ministry and reaching more kids for the kingdom of God.
What are some ways that you use Pinterest to get ideas in your ministry?
The time of year has come for you to finalize your fall festival ideas to execute. Here are some fun fall festival games to add to your mix. These games have very limited set up or can be very complicated. You choose! We wish you fun times and great ministry results from your fall festival this season.
Pumpkin Relay Race
Gather a few large pumpkins and create a relay race. Turn the pumpkin on its side and roll it to the finish line. If you want to get more involved you can use hay bales to create a more complicated course. Whoever finishes first wins a prize
Not all families have money to spend but they may have things to give away. Consider creating a toy swap. You can incorporate this into a BIG game as a finale for your event. This way every kids leaves with a big prize!
Hoop the Pumpkin
Tie a helium balloon to a pumpkin. On the balloons you can write different point values and spread the balloons across the playing field. Kids attempt to toss hula hoops above the balloons around the pumpkins to win points. Visually this game looks like a ton of fun.
Check out some of our older posts on fall fest ideas!
Best of all we have our deck of special edition Fall Fest OMC Cards!
The Kids Ministry Conference was last week. The theme of the conference was transformed. We believe if you are not transforming kids hearts, if you are not shaping culture, and if you are not expanding God’s kingdom then you are not participating in anything important. We are thankful to be a part of the discussion of transformation in kids ministry.
At KMC we had some of our CentriKid Staff helping us out. Each summer of camp they get to watch life transformation in kids lives and they have agreed to share some of their favorite verses and stories.
“I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean . I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. 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. I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances.” Ezekiel 36:25-27
This summer I had the unique opportunity to host my home church while at camp! My church brought a girl who had just started coming within the past year and had a pretty rough home life. She moved to my home town after her mother decided she didn’t want to take care of her anymore, which resulted in her moving in with her father and a whole new set of difficulties. This all caused a lot of bitterness and anger in her heart and she took out that anger in fights, and disrespecting authority. Throughout camp I had the opportunity to have many conversations with her about choosing to go to the Lord with that anger, on Thursday night she made a decision to follow the Lord and go to him with that anger and bitterness. Since coming home from camp I’ve gotten the opportunity to see how her decision has completely transformed her life and she is using it to tell others about Him!
“and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.” Galatians 2:20
I had a little girl in my Bible study who came into the week not wanting do anything. She refused to play games at recreation, and would sit off to the side and not respond to me during Bible study. Needless to say she was making my job a bit tougher that particular week. One of the adult leaders with her church group spent a lot of time investing in her as did one of the female staffers I had asked to hang out with her. She was difficult throughout the entire week, but on the very last day as I was taking roll to make sure I had everyone for Bible study, she walks up to me with a tract of what it means to be a Christian someone had given her. She taps me on the shoulder and asks me if she could read it to the rest of the group because the night before she had become a Christian and wanted the others to become Christians as well. It was the greatest display of life change I had ever seen. She went from a hard-hearted child who didn’t want to obey or even listen, to someone who was very polite, cared for others, and wanted to share the love of God she experienced.
Worship is an extremely important part of who we are as children of God. When we take time to worship, we are drawn closer to the heart and mission of God. Worship is not simply for adults, though. We want to see kids transformed through worship and drawn closer to the Father, too! This is why I am so excited about a new product from our team at LifeWay Kids called Worship for Life: Kids.
Worship for Life is an exciting new large group, media-driven, interactive worship experience for kids. It comes with complete scripts for live stage presentations and with ready-to-use videos. Each week kids will hear a presentation of the gospel and learn how to apply God’s Word to their lives!
Last spring, some of our CentriKid office staff had a chance to participate in a video shoot for Worship for Life: Kids. We had a blast leading kids in worship, playing games, and telling them about God’s word, and we shared a few jokes and laughs along the way, too. Worship for Life is written to fill a 45-60 minute programming slot, and we spent about 4-5 hours with our group of kiddos. Needless to say we were tired at the end of the day, but we also walked away as living proof that Worship for Life is an incredible product. The kids were engaged and captivated for the entire experience, and they walked away singing the praises of Jesus! I got chills as I thought about all the amazing things God might do if we had the opportunity to lead the kids and engage them in worship week after week.
Check out some of our photos from the video shoot below, and be sure to check out Worship for Life: Kids! You can even preview two full sessions online!
Did you know that the LifeWay Kids Camps and Events team (that’s us!) does more than just CentriKid Camps? One of our biggest events happened earlier this week: the Kids Ministry Conference!
This past week, we hosted over 600 kids ministry leaders at our home base at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, Tennessee. We hope that the conference provided a great opportunity for learning and inspiration for all who attended.
The event kicked off Monday night with an up-beat time of worship and inspiration (and also with Pharrell’s “Happy”), and KMC-goers heard from the Director of LifeWay Kids about how kids ministry should be heart transforming, kingdom expanding, and culture shaping.
The next day was started with a message from Dr. Eric Geiger, and worship leader Michael Bleeker and the KMC House Band continued to lead us in worship. Throughout Tuesday, kids ministry leaders attended over 60 different breakout sessions dealing with topics related to kids ministry. We brought in some of the top kids ministry educators and leaders in the country to share their knowledge and experience with everyone in attendance. (There was also a special breakout session featuring our own Collin Spindle and Jeremy Echols teaching how we play games and debrief them at camp!) Tuesday night, the kids ministry leaders were treated to a night of laughter by comedian Michael Jr., and then inspired and given more laughs by the incredible Lisa Harper.
Wednesday provided a great ending to the conference. The morning kicked off with a message by Pete Wilson, pastor of Crosspoint Church in Nashville, and the KMC House Band played #KMCByRequest songs which included everything from Taylor Swift (my personal request) to Stevie Wonder. Kids Ministry leaders attended more breakout sessions, and then returned to one last main session. During the last session, conference attendees heard from author Sally Lloyd-Jones and ended with a final time of worship with the Michael Bleeker band.
Ultimately, the conference was incredible, but one of our favorite parts was having 10 CentriKid staffers here to help out with the event. Our incredible staffers provided support for breakout leaders, worked the event store, and greeted KMC attendees. Though they worked hard each and every day, the best part was being able to break away from the conference at times and really dive into discussions about leadership and growth. As an office team and CentriKid staff, we were able to dialogue how leadership concepts apply to our ministry at camp, and translate to everyday life.
Besides the summer, KMC is one of our favorite times of the year, and #KMC2014 was no exception! We LOVED getting to see so many kid min leaders who come to CentriKid during the summer. We hope you will join us here in Nashville next year for #KMC15. If you would like more information, be sure to check out kidsministryconference.com and register online.
In the Bible, Jesus tells us that as disciples of Christ we are to take communion as a body to be unified under Him through the remembrance of His death on the cross and fact that He will return one day. As children come to know Christ, taking communion is an important part of following the example that Christ has left for us; but how do we show children that this is more than their morning snack of crackers and juice?
When introducing the Lord’s Supper to kids it is important to tell them exactly why we take time out of the service to do this as a church. Having a time set aside in your service is vital to eliminating distractions and helping children understand the importance of Communion.
1. Unify the church under one body
When we take the Lord’s Supper as a church body, it proclaims that we are one body under one leadership, the leadership of Jesus Christ and the words He has given us through the Bible.
2. Remember His death and resurrection
When we take the bread we are remembering that Jesus died on the cross for us. His body was broken, He felt pain, and He died a literal death so that we could forever be free to live with Him. We drink the juice to remember that Christ’s blood poured out for us and that it is only through His blood that we are made clean from our sins. It is only through Christ’s death that we are able to be free from sin, nothing we could ever do could ever save ourselves. Only through His death are we free.
3. To Proclaim that Jesus is coming back
When Jesus died on the Cross, the story was not over. It did not end when the stone was rolled in front of the tomb. Christ rose again three days later and we celebrate the fact that He beat sin and death. Kids need to know that Jesus is alive and wants to be a part of their lives. When taking communion, it is a physical reminder that Christ is alive in us and that He is coming back.
After explaining why we take communion, it is important to look at our roles as the body of Christ. Looking at 1 Corinthians 11:27-29, we see that we must look at our hearts before taking communion. Have kids take a moment to thank Jesus for His sacrifice and for the love He gives us every day.
As followers of Christ, children are to be a part of communion in our churches. As they train up in their faith, they will become more aware of the importance of communion and the impact that God’s amazing grace has on their lives.
Over the past couple summers at CentriKid Camps, we have explored a galaxy that was truly Out of this World, and we learned more about who God is and how He desires to be among His people. We also dove in to the virtual world of RESET: God Redeems and learned more about God’s age-old story and plan for redeeming His people. In 2015, we are very excited to bring you FIT: Faith in Training.
In 2015, we will teach campers about the spiritual practices that help them grow in their faith. We will internalize God’s word and allow Him to be our teacher, and we will seek to provide kids with some practical, take-it-home tools for using spiritual practices as they grow their faith. Our daily themes will focus around the idea of being a disciple — very simply, a follower of Jesus Christ.
Our theme will have a fitness motif, and we’ll be focusing on the idea of training up in the faith. Check out some of our early art concepts below, and be sure to stay tuned to the blog for more updates about FIT: Faith in Training!
It always seems like there are a million things going on in life. Work, church, and family are fighting for your attention, and it is easy to end up with an abundance of obligations that become overwhelming. It is good to work, and because we are human, we will tire from the work that we do at times. There are many sources of exhaustion, but fortunately there are ways that we can be refreshed and renewed.
Sources of Exhaustion
There are many things going on in our lives that can contribute to exhaustion. One of them is plain and simple: too many obligations. Sometimes, especially for me, it is very difficult to say no. Many times we want to help as many people as we can. but over committing can very quickly lead to exhaustion. Another source of exhaustion is trying to be something that you are not, or trying to be a better version of yourself. Remember that you do not have to be anyone other than who you are. God made you in His image. and every attribute that you have can be used to glorify Him.
Remedies for Exhaustion
First of all, set boundaries. You will not be able to serve anyone well when you have an over abundance of commitments. But, how can we know exactly where to set those boundaries? By coming before the Lord and asking Him for guidance. God is God of peace, comfort, and love, and He can carry all of your burdens and stress. As we make ourselves available to the Lord He will guide our steps, give us strength, and very importantly He will give us rest. Prayer is the ultimate resource that we have available to us to combat the spiritual exhaustion that creeps into our ministry.
In ministry you must take care of yourself before you can invest in others. Take a few moments today in prayer to ask the Lord to help you see the source of your exhaustion. And as you can see more clearly what is bogging you down, cling to Jesus as he helps to restore more balance and find the rest you need in your ministry.
Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30