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.

Collin Spindle

Collin graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Science with an emphasis in Youth Development. He began working for CentriKid in 2010 and joined the office team in 2013.

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 BA in Christian Studies and English from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and he is currently pursuing a Masters degree from the seminary. He began working for CentriKid in 2008 and joined the office team in 2012.

Dec

8

2014

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Cut Through the Chaos: The True Meaning of Christmas

Christmas is full of chaos—shopping, parties, road trips, cheese balls, fruitcakes, decorations, recitals, cantatas, wrapping paper, and more! Many people often find themselves frustrated with the chaos and searching for the true meaning of Christmas. In fact, this sentiment is something that even secular society recognizes—the popular children’s story How the Grinch Stole Christmas celebrates the fact that Christmas must have a deeper meaning than “packages, boxes, and bags.” So how do you navigate the proliferation of presents and holiday cheer and help kids understand the true meaning of Christmas? Check out these tips for cutting through all the chaos.

1. Plan your calendar appropriately. Take time to map out all your Christmas plans on your calendar. Be sure to save enough time for family and friends, and give priority to faith-based activities. If we want kids to understand the true meaning of Christmas, our calendars and priorities should follow suit. Guard your time carefully.

2. Take advantage of teachable momentsDon’t feel like you need to completely jettison many traditional elements of the Christmas culture. Christmas trees, wreaths, candles, gift-giving, and even candy canes all have redeemable elements that you can use to point kids to Christ. For more tips on recognizing and capitalizing on teachable moments, check out this post.

3. Celebrate the birth of Christ with your family. When it comes to teaching about and honoring the birth of Christ, don’t leave the burden of responsibility solely on the Church. There are many ways to commemorate the Advent with your family: read the Christmas story together from Scripture, sing carols, or even celebrate with an advent wreath. Remember that family is a gift from God, so even a simple activity such as baking and decorating cookies together can be a way to honor the Lord in your heart and worship Him.

This Christmas, cut through all the chaos, and take time to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.

Henry Dutton

Henry received a BA in Christian Studies and English from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and he is currently pursuing a Masters degree from the seminary. He began working for CentriKid in 2008 and joined the office team in 2012.

Dec

5

2014

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The CentriKid Culture: Striving for Excellence

At CentriKid Camps, we hope to always strive for excellence. We hope that from the time you get off of your church van for check-in to the time you are high-fiving staffers on your way back home, you receive an excellent experience at camp. Why do we spend so much time making sure that dome cones are straight, the details are taken care of, and that we constantly make things better? We know that we are blessed to be given such an incredible ministry, and we want to strive to be good stewards of what we have been given and represent Jesus Christ as best as we can.

10492290_10152540459198707_6701890370662353720_nWhen things are not executed with excellence, they can become a distraction and detract from the main point. How many times have you seen a sign that was not straight, or a misspelled Powerpoint slide and you totally missed the meaning of that sign or the song on the screen? The picture on the right is me ironing our auditorium backdrop so that the wrinkles wold not distract anyone during worship.  At CentriKid, we strive to make sure that things are run with excellence and care so that the message of Jesus Christ is front and center, and nothing (like a wrinkly backdrop) takes away from that!

We encourage our staff to always ask: How can I make it better?  Each night, our staff gathers to see how they can improve camp the next day.  At the end of each summer, our office team retreats to discuss how to make the next year of camp even better.  We hope that each year, CentriKid continues to improve. I can confidently say that the details and programming of CentriKid are better now than when I was a camper.  Fifteen years from now, I hope that my  kids will attend a CentriKid camp that is much better than it is now.  That is the culture we are continuing to inject into CentriKid.

Take a look at your ministry.  Are there things that could be improved that are taking away from what the focus should be?  Ask yourself what are some things that you can make better to provide the best possible experience for the kids, and make the message of Christ as clear as possible.

Check out Collin’s blog on how to make things better here.

Micheal Walley

Micheal started working CentriKid in 2011 and has served as a Camp Director the past two summers. He graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in communications and public relations. He joined in the office team in 2014. Micheal loves talking kids ministry, leadership, and coffee.

Dec

3

2014

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Leading Well: 5 Tips from Young Leaders

CentriKid Camps has an amazing group of young leaders with a ton of leadership potential. They have studied and prepared to be in a leadership role at camp.

Every year I have the privilege of interviewing and working with our summer camp directors. These guys and girls each serve with one of our camp teams and will lead the staff, work with the venue, and prepare to host our churches at camp this summer.

Here are 5 tips from young leaders who are early in their leadership journey, but have great insights already on leading well and serving in ministry.

  1. There are only so many hours before you hit deadlines. I’ve learned that its important to set aside time to spend 15 minutes having an intentional conversation, grab coffee, and ask somebody how they are doing. You have to be intentional because those things don’t happen on their own.
  2. Its important to strive for excellence in everything that we do. We are at camp for the reason of sharing the gospel and showing God’s love. Everything is rooted in scripture, so filling up every day is essential so you can pour out.
  3. Over the last year I’ve learned the importance of communicating early and effectively. Some things need to be communicated at different times, so I’m working to get the right things in front of the team at the right time.
  4. People take more initiative when they know they are appreciated. I want to lead through positive reinforcement, catch people doing things right, and make sure to thank them for that.
  5. Both results and relationships are important, but sometimes one becomes more valuable than the other in a given situation. Accomplishing results is a focus, but there are times to pause and invest in relationships with who is with you right now so you can help develop them for the future.

Jeremy Echols

JE leads the camp team, finds new camp locations, plans training, and lots of other projects. He met his wife Emily working camp, and their daughter #BabyMadison was born in 2011.

Your Kids Ministry’s Mindset

Published in 2006, Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success started a conversation. This conversation is important to consider in kids ministry. In her research Dweck breaks down two different mindsets:

  • Fixed mindset: people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply traits. They spend time documenting their intelligence instead of developing it.
  • Growth mindset: people believe their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work – brains and talent are just a starting point. This mindset creates a love of learning and resilience.

Growth mindset is the advantageous disposition, and we would all love to believe this is where we are, but how many times have you said, “I’m just no good at math,” or, “as long as I do not get in last”. The latter was my personal goal whenever I ran track in middle school. As much as I want to believe I have a growth mindset, there are certainly times like my short track career where I lived in a fixed mindset.

Mindsets are taught early in life. Consider a kid in your ministry who memorizes a verse; do you say to this kid, “wow, you are so smart to have memorized such a difficult verse,” or, “your hard work definitely paid off memorizing that verse, great job”? The former keys in on the kid’s natural ability. It seems innocuous, but it can influence a kid’s mindset making them believe their intelligence is static.

This all matters to us as kid ministry leaders. We want to influence a growth mindset in our kids. The only fixed aspect of our lives is the gospel message. We are all sinners, we are all require a savior in Christ, he has accomplished our salvation, and we just need to respond. Beyond that our christian living thrives on a growth mindset. We want to encourage kids to grow in their relationship with God through prayer, reading His Word, sacrificial giving and the like. Reinforcing a growth mindset can help kids accomplish spiritual growth.

Collin Spindle

Collin graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Science with an emphasis in Youth Development. He began working for CentriKid in 2010 and joined the office team in 2013.

Flashback Friday: Ash’s Quest

This past summer at camp, we had so much fun with the theme RESET: God Redeems.  Throughout the day, we explored how God Redeems us through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Each night at worship, we watched the thrilling story of “Ash’s Quest” unfold and saw how God Redeemed “Deck” and changed his life after a troubled past.

For the first time ever online, you now can watch the story of Ash and Deck and relive the story we saw at CentriKid 2014!  Check out Ash’s Quest below!

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5

What do you think happened on the deck?

Micheal Walley

Micheal started working CentriKid in 2011 and has served as a Camp Director the past two summers. He graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in communications and public relations. He joined in the office team in 2014. Micheal loves talking kids ministry, leadership, and coffee.

Nov

27

2014

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Happy Thanksgiving from CentriKid!

Happy Thanksgiving from CentriKid! Here in the CentriKid Office, we are thankful for so many things. We are thankful to be able to serve in a ministry that impacts so many lives. We are thankful for all of the kids ministry leaders who spend so much time, energy, and passion pouring into the lives of the kids in their ministry. Above all else, we are thankful for our Lord Jesus Christ who came to save us all from our sin so we can have a relationship with Christ. We are blessed to be able to share that message of Christ to thousands of kids through the ministry of CentriKid!

This past week, we held the 3rd Annual #CKThanks Hand Turkey Contest! For all of the camp friends who submitted a hand turkey, thank you! Check out all of the #CKThanks hand turkeys below!

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 8.12.42 AM

And the First Place winner of the Hand Turkey Contest is…..

Melissa Willis!

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Micheal Walley

Micheal started working CentriKid in 2011 and has served as a Camp Director the past two summers. He graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in communications and public relations. He joined in the office team in 2014. Micheal loves talking kids ministry, leadership, and coffee.

Children Teaching Other Children

Kid Reading BibleThis summer at camp, one of the staffers on our team said “we are children teaching other children.” Since then I have tried to examine my role in ministry as well as a follower of Christ. As a camp pastor, I was seen as a spiritual leader, but the truth is, whether you have been in ministry for a few weeks or you collect doctorates in theology, you are still a child in Christ and there is so much more we can learn.

Read Matthew 18:1-5

Jesus says that it is the ones who humble themselves as children who will be the greatest in Heaven. As a follower of Christ, our eyes are open everyday to a deeper understanding of who God is. We continue to learn, we continue to grow, and through all of it we become even more humble as we see more of His power.

Has a child ever come up to you when they were scared or tired and reached up asking you to hold them? The humility that they have to say, “I can’t do this anymore,” or “I need your help,” is the same attitude that we need to approach God. As leaders or teachers, we need to rely on God every day to carry us through the situations that we cannot navigate ourselves. Colossians 1:16 reminds us that it is through God’s amazing power that everything is created through Him and for Him. However, we are still His children and it is that same power that is at work in us everyday.

Take a moment today and pray that as you minister to children or love a family, that you will be as a child, humbled in knowing that God is the center of our faith and that it is only through His gifts and mercy that we are able to be able to show people his glory.

Isaac Kierstead

Isaac graduated from Florida State University in 2014 with a degree in studio art and editing and writing. He started working camp in 2013 and has served as a rec team member, stage host, and camp pastor. Isaac joined the office team in 2014.