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3 Things I Learned as a CentriKid Staffer

This summer I was blessed with the opportunity to be a CentriKid staffer. This was something that I had dreamed of ever since I attended CentriKid as a 5th and 6th grader. When I accepted the position, I knew that it was going to be a whirlwind of a summer full of crazy schedules, crazy cool kiddos, and serving a crazy awesome God, but little did I know that it was going to be a summer full of intense learning.

3 of the biggest things I learned this summer were:

How important relying on the Holy Spirit is.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.” This summer the Lord taught me how to live in this verse. Instead of worrying and being anxious about Track Times or sharing the gospel or Recreation, I just needed to trust, rely, and think about HIM. At CentriKid, we root everything in scripture, because without Jesus this is all for nothing.

The importance of a testimony.
A testimony carries extreme power. I was able to witness the power of testimonies this summer when a child would open-up to an Adult Leader and a staffer because they heard a testimony of someone going through the same thing they were going through. Seeing the look of defeat on a struggling child turn into a look of hope is a sight that cannot be forgotten.
The importance of community.15253549_10206013021283895_8706648706174483929_n
Romans 12:4-5 (HCSB) says, “Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another.” If we know anything about the human anatomy, it is that if someone took out our heart, we would not be able to function. The heart brings something to the body that is of vital importance. In the same way, without other believers in our lives, we suffer in our own personal walks with Christ. This summer I made 25 of the greatest friends I will ever have: my fellow CentriKid staffers.  They prayed with me when I was tired and weary, they spoke scripture into my life when I felt unworthy, and they encouraged me when I was feeling unfit. I was better able to minister to the children because I knew all 25 of their personal stories and could connect a struggling child with a staffer going through the same situation. Community is something that I used to think was unnecessary, but now I have learned that it is something that no believer should ever do without.

I loved being a CentriKid staffer, and you should apply to join me! CentriKid staffers are young adults with a passion for hanging out with kids and sharing Christ through everything they do. Find out more here! 

About the Guest Blogger:

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-8-51-26-amLukas Comer is a CentriKid staffer! He’s studying Interdisciplinary Studies K-5th at Middle Tennessee State University. Lukas is currently the children’s ministry intern at Parkway Baptist Church in Smyrna, TN. He also wants to be a kids minister “when he grows up!” We’re thankful to have awesome staffers who love kids and love the Lord like Lukas serving with CentriKid Camps.

CentriKid

CentriKid is a 5 day, 4 night camp for 3rd - 6th graders to experience the time of their lives and learn more about the message of Jesus Christ!

How to Share the Gospel with Kids

In kids ministry, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to kids is one of the most important things we can do as we minister to kids. Because of it’s importance, it can also be one of the most daunting things we can do. The real challenge comes in simplifying the language without simplifying the concepts. Kids are concrete thinkers, so when we share the gospel with kids, we must get on their level and explain the full truth in ways that they can understand.

At CentriKid, we have developed a plan that we call “The Gospel: God’s Plan for Me” that we believe fully explains the gospel on a level that kids can understand. (Other LifeWay Kids resources also use this method of explaining the gospel.)

THE GOSPEL: GOD’S PLAN FOR ME

1. God Rules.  The Bible tells us God created everything, including you and me, and He is in charge of everything.

Scripture – Genesis 1:1, Revelation 4:11, Colossians 1:16-17

2. We Sinned.  We all choose to disobey God.  The Bible calls this sin.  Sin separates us from God and deserves God’s punishment of death.
Scripture – Romans 3:23, 6:23

3. God Provided.  God sent Jesus, the perfect solution to our sin problem, to rescue us from the punishment we deserve.  It’s something we, as sinners, could never earn on our own.  Jesus alone saves us.
Scripture – John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9

4. Jesus Gives.  He lived a perfect life, died on the cross for our sins, and rose again.  Because Jesus gave up His life for us, we can be welcomed into God’s family for eternity.
Scripture – Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 3:18, Ephesians 2:8-9

5. We Respond.  Jesus has given us this gift, and we must accept this gift. Believe in your heart that Jesus alone saves you through what He’s already done on the cross.  Repent, turning from self and sin to Jesus.  Tell God and others that your faith is in Jesus.
Scripture – John 14:6, Romans 10:9-10, 13

You might have other ways that you prefer to share the gospel with kids, and that is great! Overall, just be sure that your method is easy to understand for a kid, explains the whole truth, and uses Scripture as the foundation.

As a kids ministry leader or a parent, point your kids to Jesus every chance you get. Trust that the Holy Spirit will give you the words to say and guide you as you share your faith with kids.

Here are some other blogs and resources that can help you easily explain the gospel to kids:

Tips for Sharing the Gospel with Kids – CentriKid

5 Articles on Kids and Salvation – CentriKid Blog

How to Teach the Gospel without Velcro – Kids Ministry 101 Blog

Always Point to Jesus – CentriKid Blog

Free Gospel Poster Download – CentriKid Blog

The Gospel: God’s Plan for Me (Booklet) 

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.

Nov

28

2016

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Staying Motivated in your Ministry

1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

There are times when you may feel like you don’t know why you’re staying in the position that you are in. Staying motivated can be tough to do when you aren’t seeing immediate results. Isn’t that how most things are these days?When we put so much time and energy into something and don’t get back exactly what we want to see, it’s hard to stay motivated.
In Kid Ministry, we can feel like the walls are the only thing listening to what we have to say, or that you just don’t relate to the kids anymore. Staying motivated and committed doesn’t even have to be a deep theological outline. It can be very practical, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

We have to create an environment of success for us, as well as the kids. Take a minute to create a list of goals. What do you want your ministry to look like a year from now? Don’t create goals that you don’t expect to reach. You know your ministry best.

Have someone with the same vision as you help out in the ministry. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, “Two are better than one… a three-fold cord is not easily broken.” If you’ve got a big task and it’s only up to you, you’ll probably procrastinate and get discouraged. If you’ve got somebody else and can say, “We’re going to meet and get this thing going”, you’re more likely to get it done and feel more successful.Lastly, think about the kids. That is why we do what we do. We have to remember that God called us into this, because we have a passion to spread the love of Jesus to kids. That takes a special kind of person.. You!

Alli Sewell

Alli began working camp in 2012 and joined the office team in 2016. She has served as a Bible Study Leader and Assistant Director. Alli graduated from Carson Newman University with a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2014. She loves all things Disney, Tennessee Vols, and showing everyone pictures of her nieces, Caroline and Waverly.

Nov

24

2016

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Happy Thanksgiving 2016!

I love Thanksgiving. I love getting together with family and eating more mashed potatoes than I should. We have a tradition of going around the table after eating dinner and saying one thing that we have been thankful for in the past year. Some years it is so easy to talk about how the Lord has blessed us, but other years it is a little more difficult to be thankful. Yet, there has never been a time when someone was silent when the topic of giving thanks was discussed. Even in the challenging days there is always, always something to be thankful for.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. Psalm 107:1

Even when it is difficult to see the Lord’s work in our lives, we can be confident of His presence. The Lord is teaching me a lot about perseverance in this season in my life. This holiday season take some time and look for the glimpses of God’s presence, even in the hustle and bustle. Know that the Lord has you in the exact place that you are needed and be thankful that He guides every step that you make.

Here at CentriKid we are so very thankful for the churches, leaders, and kids that we are able to serve year after year. We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and that God blesses this sacred time of faith, family, and friends. If we were all at my family’s dinner table, what would you be thankful for this year?

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.

Thankful Reflections

As I notice the leaves changing outside and the trees as they seem to shift their stance, I posture my heart to a place of quiet thankfulness. In this new season I’ve taken a bit of time to reflect on those who invested in me in different seasons of my life. By the Lord’s grace, I was surrounded by some who loved the Lord and showed His love to me. I was steadily demonstrated the Lord’s character as it flowed so freely from these folks, even in the midst of the everyday. Today I lift prayers of gratitude and sing a song of thanksgiving to our Father because of this crowd.

Remembering the people who sang their verse, no matter how big or small, into my song fills me with overwhelming gratitude. I think of the monotonous mornings spent by my faithful nursery teacher; I remember the countless hours poured out by my youth pastor who later baptized me; I remember my college basketball coaches who instilled in me the love of the game and the greater value found in serving Christ; I think back on the memories shared with my first CentriKid camp director who took time to show me more than just how to solve logistical issues; I rejoice in the patient moments shared at the lakeside or on beaten-down field path with my grandfathers. These folks didn’t just pass their time, they shared with me their life. In both times of great excitement and in the dull day-to-day, these people showed me Jesus.

Use Your 60 through Thanksgiving
At CentriKid, we challenge leaders to “Use Your 60” by making the most of every moment with their kids. Why waste even one opportunity? I’m grateful for those in my life who saw the value in investing in me. These folks were heroes in hindsight. I’m sure few felt their importance in the moment of impact, but the waves of their intentional moments are felt today and into eternity. Let me encourage you, leaders. You may not feel like you’re bringing life-change in any given moment, but what you do in these moments adds up. Take for granted not a single one!

Spend a few moments today thanking the Lord for those who invested in you. Reach out to these heroes and remind them of their significance in your life. Ask yourself how you’re spending your moments. Time is fleeting, friends! In an overflow of thankfulness, be challenged to “Use Your 60” and make the most of every moment today.

Meg Brown

Meg started working camp in 2013 and joined the office team in 2016. She received her degree in Educational Ministry and Public Relations from Campbellsville University. She has served as a Bible Study leader, Assistant Director, and Camp Director. Meg leads in Track Times and Group Leader Information for camp 2017. In addition to camp, Meg loves playing tennis, reading books, and spending time outdoors.

Nov

17

2016

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Disciple’s Path-Resource

The Disciple’s Path resource is geared to help make disciples.  Disciple-making is not a scientific study with specific measurements of chapters to read, verses to be quoted, or minutes to be spent in group study…but we know that spending time in God’s Word, understanding scripture, and living in community with others are vital components of the process.  LifeWay offers the Disciple’s Path resource as a tool to help make disciples who are intentional about producing other disciples.

At CentriKid, we believe in the power of your influence in those kids under your care, but also the powerful impact you can have for the kingdom with the adults in your ministry.  Read more from Michael Kelley about “Discipling the Disciples Who Make Disciples” at LifeWay Kids Ministry 101 blog.

You can also check out a free preview of The Disciples Path from www.disciplespath.com.

Start today with making an intentional difference in the spiritual lives of those around you.  Making disciples is not easy, but it has a lasting impact long beyond the Sunday School lesson or the VBS decorations.  LifeWay offers resources for the disciple-making journey with kids too.  TeamKID features Bible memory games and application of Bible truths, engaging missions videos and activities, and fun activity-based learning all while helping your kids grow to be more like Jesus.  You can preview TeamKid for free at www.lifeway.com/teamkid.
teamkid

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.

Nov

14

2016

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Debriefing 101

We know that kids learn in different ways. Adults do too for that matter. Learning can happen for some by just hearing about a subject, for others they need to see the words or information being taught, and still others learn best through hands-on activities and experiences. Knowing this, it is important to take the time to debrief games that you play in your kids ministry. This will help those hands-on learners grasp in a more solid way the connection between everyday life and their relationship with Jesus.

What is a Debrief?

A debrief is a short time in which you gather the kids to explain how the activity and/or game connects to our relationship with Jesus. This is best done right after the activity is over so that is still fresh in their minds. Be sure to have a clear connection to Scripture. The best debriefs are planned out in order to ensure effectiveness and relativity. With no preparation you will be in a “wing it” type approach, mainly speaking from your own knowledge, perhaps with a weaker spiritual connection. With planning you can incorporate a more concrete connection which is important for kids, as well as Scripture to go with it. Nothing will be sure than the truth that is in God’s Word, so why not use it bountifully?

Tips for Debriefing

–Remove distractions (face the kids away from potential distractions: TVs, other kids playing games, windows they can see out of)
–Be one level removed (if the kids are sitting, you kneel; if they are kneeling, you stand)
–Use objects and personal stories (kids are concrete learners. So, applying spiritual concepts to concrete examples, like objects, helps create a strong connection in the mind of a child)
–Root it in Scripture (read from the Bible… that helps them know it is truth from the Word)
–Make eye contact (if you are outside, remove sunglasses)

Debriefing activities can be some of the most powerful and effective times of learning for those kids who learn best with a hands-on, concrete example type of learning.

Vincent Thomas

Vincent started working camp in 2012 and joined the office team in 2015. He received his degree from Peidmont College in Georgia. Vincent has served as a Bible Study leader, Recreation Leader, and a Camp Director. Vincent oversees all things Recreation which your kids will experience at camp this summer. In addition to CentriKid, Vincent helps develop the ETCH Conference and VBS Preview Events.

Nov

10

2016

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Announcing the 2017 Camp Leaders!

Our Camp Directors and Assistant Directors will be the ones on-site at every CentriKid Camps location this summer making sure that kids have a great experience at camp, adults who come to camp are taken care of, and that the week of camp runs smoothly. They view their role as one that doesn’t just involve logistics, but includes spiritual leadership as well.

Ultimately, our Camp Directors and Assistant Directors are here for you. While our staff will be pouring in your kids, our leaders will be making camp an easy week for you. They’ll take care of the details so that you are free to build relationships with your kids and grow your own relationship with Christ!  We’re excited to announce the 2017 Camp Leaders below! Find out who is leading your CentriKid location at the link below.

CampDirectors17

ADsYou can find out who your Camp Director and Assistant Director will be by visiting  your location specific page at CentriKid.com here!

If you haven’t registered for CentriKid 2017, we’d love to have you join us and register today! What are you waiting for? Adventure Awaits!

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.

Evaluating Your Kid Ministry

It is always a great feeling when we know that our ministries are successful. Often times, we start to look at other ministries that we consider successful and want to model ours after theirs when we feel like ours aren’t up to par. What makes a ministry successful though?
It can be hard to think of ministry as a business; however, it is okay for ministries to work and operate by a business model. Incorporate a mission, values, and goals. It is a way to measure or evaluate the progress of a ministry. Are you working toward your goals? Are you holding true to your values? Are you planning around your mission?
When we step back and look at it this way, there will always be areas of concern and improvement. However, the best thing about working in a ministry is that God is sovereign and works in the lives of the kids – prevailing no matter what challenges we face. That is why we should never lose hope even if we feel like we aren’t making progress!

One of LifeWay’s Kid Ministry leaders, Brian Dembowczyk, gives six tips to keep in mind while evaluating your ministry in LifeWay Kids’ Kids Ministry 101 blog:

  •  Start with the end goal in mind. Sometimes a kids ministry is considered healthy if kids are attending and if they and their parents seem to be satisfied. Now, there is nothing at all wrong with those two measures, but they don’t give you the full picture of your ultimate goal of anchoring the gospel in your kids’ hearts. That end goal needs to drive how you evaluate every part of your kids ministry.
  • Focus on lead measures. A lead measure is something you can control that produces a result, also called a lag measure. So a lead measure would be inviting kids to an event and a corresponding lag measure would be attendance at the event. You can’t control people showing up, but you can control inviting people.
  • Evaluate objectively and subjectively. Analyze as many objective numbers as you can—they tell a story, but they don’t tell the full story. There is no way to quantify gospel transformation; a big part of it is qualitative, or subjective. Do you see the gospel sinking in? Do you see evidence of gospel transformation? Those are important evaluative considerations.
  • Strengthen what is going well. You probably know the strengths of your kids ministry before you even start evaluating it, but your evaluations should confirm them.
  • Fix what can go better. While you want to focus on your strengths, you don’t want to neglect the areas where you do need to improve. Figure out where you should be in these areas and why you aren’t there, and then come up with a plan to start moving that direction.
  • Scrap what isn’t working at all. As you evaluate your kids ministry, you may find that there are things that just aren’t working at all. Bathe these in prayer and once you confirm that they need to stop, stop them as quickly and gently as possible. Yes, this will be painful, but in the end your kids ministry will be better for it.

For more on this topic, check out Brian’s blog on Kid Ministry 101.

Alli Sewell

Alli began working camp in 2012 and joined the office team in 2016. She has served as a Bible Study Leader and Assistant Director. Alli graduated from Carson Newman University with a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2014. She loves all things Disney, Tennessee Vols, and showing everyone pictures of her nieces, Caroline and Waverly.

Use Your 60

At some point, the passing of minutes turned into the passing of paperwork.  You hammer out administrative details and planning with your ministry hours instead of doing your main passion—intentionally pouring into kids.  At CentriKid, we promise to free your hands of all the little distractions associated with kids ministry.  For one week out of the year, hand us the clipboard.  We’ll handle lunch, plan Bible Study, set up Recreation, organize leaders, and lead Worship sessions. You, along with your other leaders, have one main job: use your 60.   We want to help you make every moment count in ministry at church and at camp.
Use all 60 minutes of every hour to invest deeply in the lives of your kids. So…what does that mean exactly?
  • Find moments for one-on-one time with every child.
  • Meet with small groups before lights out.
  • Grab a snack and discuss his home life.
  • During her crafts track, ask intentional questions about friendships.
  • Cheer for them during outdoor competitive tracks.
  • Tell him your story.
  • Walk her through the gospel.

Whatever you do in your kids ministry, don’t waste a second worrying about details. We have it covered.

Go ahead. Use your 60.

CentriKid

CentriKid is a 5 day, 4 night camp for 3rd - 6th graders to experience the time of their lives and learn more about the message of Jesus Christ!