Creating a Culture

From the moment church groups get off the bus until they drive away at the end of the week, there are promises that every CentriKid team looks to uphold. They have become a part of our culture, but they are not just for camp. They can play a major role in  presenting the gospel in your children’s ministry every week.

Root EVERYTHING in scripture
We believe that the Word of God should be at the forefront of every program, activity, and game at CentriKid camp. We love to have fun and go crazy, but it is all to get children excited for the gospel. As children’s ministers, creating an atmosphere that is centered around the study of the Bible and teaching it to children should be the most important part of any programming. Kids love playing games, making crafts, and singing songs. Let’s be honest, I love all of that too! However, when we are able to connect these fun events to the scripture they take so much more away from Sunday morning than just a good time. They will see that the Bible is God’s truth in their lives.

Production KidsMinistry through relationships
At camp, CentriKid staffers see meal times and Hang Time as another opportunity to build relationships with kids. The conversations that happen during these times are sometimes more powerful than the conversations that happen during worship response time. Building these relationships create many avenues of conversation that can lead to presenting the gospel and learning how best to pray for and love on these kids. Working in a kid’s ministry, you have an amazing opportunity to create these relationships all year. Knowing the kids who are in your Sunday School class or in children’s church will create an environment that stimulates discussion. By loving these kids through a meaningful relationship, we are able to show them a small glimpse of the amazing love that God has for us.

Kid friendly programming
CentriKid would not be CentriKid if it were not for the high energy I Can’t Waits, crazy recreation games, and the amazing times of worship that kids and adults can experience at camp. We know that Biblical truths such as the Holy Spirit, the Tabernacle, and God’s redemption are not always the easiest things for kid’s to understand, but at camp it is our promise that all of the programming and Bible studies will be created with kids in mind. Kids from 3rd to 6th grade will enjoy the games and songs and they will also be taught the Bible at a level that is understandable to them and is applicable to their lives. Every week, you have an amazing opportunity to share the Word of God with kids so that they can apply it to their lives now and grow in their relationship with God.

Through a culture based in scripture, relationships, and fun, staffers are able to minister and love kids throughout the summer. How have you used the CentriKid culture in your church’s ministry?

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.

Leading well: Knowing Your Team

A leader of employees, teammates, or volunteers can experience better leadership by knowing  his or her team and serving them.

Here are 4 ways to know your team better:

1 – Learn about how they are wired.  Assessments like MBTI and StrengthsFinder can be great starting points for knowing specific things about how God created the individuals on your team.  I use this knowledge to help me plan our work and also gauge how we are doing together relationally.

2 – Genuinely care. This is where I break all the rules of modern management and leadership advice.  I believe that teammates are much more than just cogs in the machine and a means for getting the work done.  We spend time together outside of work and we get involved personally, not just professionally.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  attributed to Theodore Roosevelt.

3 – Write a handwritten note. Communicating with an employee about job performance is normal and essential.  But I’m talking about going beyond “good job” and “nice work.” Its tough to write a thoughtful note to somebody you don’t know well.  This exercise always challenges me to know my teammates better so I can have something meaningful to say.

4 – Listen and observe.  The tendency is for leaders to have all the answers and do all the talking.  When you listen and observe, you’ll be amazed at the insights your teammates have.  My 5th grade teacher always said, “We have two ears and only one mouth for a reason.”  Resist the urge to fill every silence or lead every meeting. Seek out opportunities to find the ways your team can shine, and then brag on them like crazy.

Experience the benefits of better leadership by knowing your team.  This approach to leading a team is built on the mindset that knowing the individuals on your team will help you create a better culture and lead the group more effectively.

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.





FUNdraisers to Help You Get to Camp

Fundraisers are a great way to help the families in your church with the financial part of going to camp. But the bake sales and car washes are not the only way to raise money for camp. We have a few fun ideas to get kids involved and excited about camp all while raising money!

Peel Away Envelope Fundraisers

This idea comes from Micheal in Missouri, where they would print one image on top of another image and have squares labeled with dollar increments. When a person donated a certain amount of money they would peel that increment amount off. Once every amount was given and peeled off the image below was revealed! The bottom layer could show a picture of the kids who went to camp the year before or any number of fun images.

Kids Art Gallery 

There are so many talented kids at your church, so why not give them a chance to show off their skills? Kids can draw, paint, sculpt, build or even create a science project. The night the items go on display have a meal at the church to celebrate all the amazing work done by the kids in your ministry.

Scavenger Hunt

Have a camp themed scavenger hunt! Participants could ask for pledges to participate and the team that gets done with the scavenger hunt the fastest and the team that raises the most money wins a prize!

Bake sale + Recipes! 

Put a new twist on the bake sale! Print out the recipe that you used to bake your yummy sweets and sell the recipe with the baked goods.

There are so many fun ways to get kids and families involved with raising money for camp. Finances can be a little stressful sometimes, so it is always great when you can put a little fun in fundraising!

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.

You Can Only Do that at Camp!

We love camp because it gets kids out of their everyday environment and routine. It is so much fun to give kids and adult leaders the chance to do things that they wouldn’t normally do.

Things you can only do at camp include. . .

  • CHOICES: what will I wear? what will I buy at the camp store? what tracks will I choose? what will I eat for dinner? how many scoops of ice cream sounds good tonight?
  • Play OMC with my color team
  • Purchase CK swag: buffs, peach plushes, CentriKid splat balls
  • Talk one on one with a staffer!
  • Meet kids from other churches
  • Participate in the color competition
  • Give out 500+ high fives in a week
  • Dance in a Monkey Shuffle Flash Mob
  • Celebrate your birthday with hundreds of people
  • Check mail from your parents, grandparents, etc
  • Compete on stage for party games
  • Eat Sno Cones daily
  • Worship with hundreds of people representing lots of different churches
  • Participate in a week long sleep over with your best friends

This list could go on and on. . . and it should because camp is unique. However, as we talk about FIT: Faith in Training we are focusing on what we do in response to God. Unfortunately some of the unique activities we do at camp should be a part of our daily lives. Consider these things and challenge your kids you bring to camp to make sure they do these things in their daily lives too

Thing you do at camp, but should be doing all the time include…

  • Time alone with God
  • Fellowship with believers
  • Studying scripture and applying it to our lives
  • Encouraging believers
  • Praying and giving to mission projects

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.





Leading Well: Balancing Relationships and Results

Think about your leadership style: are you more focused on completing the task, or building relationships with those you lead? All leaders are wired to fit somewhere on the spectrum between “relationship-focused” and “results-focused.”  Most of the time, the best leaders are those who do not lean majorly in one direction, but do well at balancing relationships and results. Whichever way you lean, it is vital that leaders intentionally grow in their leadership skills to balance out these styles.

After you have identified your stronger area, use these 6 practical tips to help you balancing relationships and results:

For more relationship-focused leadership:

  • Show your team that they are valued.  Take a few moments and affirm them.  Don’t give general compliments like, “You’re doing a great job.” Be specific so that they know that you care. For example: “Katie, you did a fantastic job composing that budget report. Thank you for the time you put into it.”
  • Listen to your team.  This is perhaps the most important quality in building relationships with your team.  Whether it is a concern or an idea, listening is a wonderful skill for a leader to learn. Your team knows if you are not listening and are simply there to tell them what to do. Take the time to stop and really listen to what they have to say.
  • Be intentional about building relationships.  It’s not bad to put “build relationships” on your to-do list and set a goal to do something like write note cards.  As long as it is genuine, this could help you build relationships with your team.

For more results-driven leadership:

  • IMG_7609Make a to-do list, a schedule, and take notes. Try to have your to-do list completed at the end of the day. Try to stick to your schedule.  Have a standard way to take notes so you will remember things like an iPhone app or a simple notebook.  Whatever you do, don’t trust your memory and try to eliminate distractions.
  • Cut casual conversations short.  It is okay to tell someone that you will have to talk about something unrelated to the task later.  It does not make you rude or anti-social.
  • Keep accountability. Let your team know that you are trying to focus more on results and ask for their help to keep you focused on your tasks.  If they know that you are trying to spend more time focusing on results, they can help steer you in the right direction.

Those are some simple ways to help you balance out relationships and results in your leadership.  What are some ways that you balance your responsibilities?  Please comment below!

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.

Be Transformed at #KMC14

Transformation is at the heart of kids ministry. At the end of the day, we want to see kids lives transformed by the power of the gospel. We’re so thankful for the faithfulness of kidmin leaders and volunteers who proclaim the message and labor day-in and day-out to point kids to Christ. The work is not easy, but because of your unrelenting service to the Lord, children that are dead in their sins are receiving the promise of life in Christ! You truly are our heroes.

Even superheroes, though, have their limits…

Everyone eventually reaches a point of exhaustion, frustration, or complacency. Everyone has that moment of wondering, “Does what I’m doing really matter? Am I really making a difference?” Everyone needs a retreat  an opportunity to pull away from all the busyness and refocus and refresh. If Jesus Himself thought it was important to find time to pull away from the crowds to pray and spend time with the Father, then how much more should we follow His example and plan our own times of retreat and renewal?! At LifeWay’s Kids Ministry Conference, that is exactly the atmosphere and experience that we work hard to create.

This year, the theme of #KMC14 is “Transformed.” We invite you to join us as we explore together many of the foundational truths of kids ministry:

If what you are doing in your ministry doesn’t transform the hearts of kids, if it doesn’t shape the culture, if it doesn’t expand the kingdom, then is it really important? Is it really as good as God wants it to be? Is it really transforming?

At KMC you will experience great worship, inspirational messages, practical workshops, lots of laughter, and a ton of fun! With Jesus Christ being the center of everything we do, the LifeWay Kids team wants to be a part of a catalyst that leads you to go home refocused, refreshed, and ready to take your kids ministry to the next level. Don’t miss this conference! Sign up today.

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.





Use This Track Time Game with Your Kids!

One of my absolute favorite parts of camp is Track Time.  Kids are able to have fun while at the same time hearing the Gospel.  A new track that we introduced at camp in 2014 was “Build It”. Kids were able to use materials and their imagination to create some crazy contraptions!

We played some fun games in Build It, and you can use this track time game with your kids!


Supplies Needed:IMG_7890

  • Fishing string
  • 1 cup for each group
  • 3 straws for each group
  • 1 Shooter Marble or small toy
  • Scissors
  • Sharpened Pencils
  • Tape or something that can be used to attach your zip-line to the wall


1.) Set Up the Zip Line.
Attach one side of the fishing string to the wall. (Do not stick it too high because you will have to reach it to attach the zip-cars). Tie the bottom of the string to the bottom of a desk or solid chair. The longer the zip-line, the more fun it will be! Split the kids into groups of 2-5.

2.) Create a Story.
Create a fun story by naming the marble or tell the kids that the marble is a secret artifact that they must safely get to the other side.

For example: “Peach, that crazy fruit, has been captured by the Pac-Man ghosts and we need to build a zip-car in order to save him. If he falls out, he becomes peach cobbler.”IMG_3394

3.) Build the Car.
Have the kids construct a zip-car using only the 1 cup and 3 straws. They must plan and build a vehicle that can transport a large marble from the top of the zip-line, all the way to the bottom without the marble falling out.  They can put holes in the cup or cut them in any way. Have an adult use a sharpened pencil to cut holes in the sides of the cup. Once all of the kids have created their zip-cars, put it on the zip-line, and let kids race their zip-cars!

4.) Debrief It.

Like everything we do at camp, this game presents and amazing opportunity to share the power of God in our lives.

Read Colossians 1:13
Say something like, “You made a plan and created a zip-car in order to save Peach from the ghosts. In the same way, God has a plan to rescue us from our sins. He sent His one and only Son to die for all of us so that we would no longer be living in darkness but be alive in the light. Peach could not escape himself, he needed help to escape and in the same way we are dependent on God’s grace to be free from sin.

This can tie into the story of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea, Daniel and the lion’s den, David and Goliath, Ester, or Paul and Silas escaping prison– just to name a few.

We here at CentriKid love the amazing conversations that can be started by teaching the gospel through activities that children love. What are some of your favorite Track Times and the games that you have played in them? Let us know!

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.





Debrief this Picture… Win a Prize!

At CentriKid, we believe that fun and games and God’s Word do not have to be mutually exclusive; in fact, we actually encourage kids to integrate their faith into all areas of their lives  sports, art, science, etc. While planning our camp program, we work hard to connect every activity to God’s word (that’s one of our promises). We call this connection a debrief  a 2-3 minute conversation that our staff lead in order to connect games or activities to truths from God’s word. During the 2014 camp season, our staffers connected over 1,960 games and activities to God’s word!

At first, making this type of connection can be a little bit of a challenge, but by the end of the summer, all our staffers are debrief experts. Oftentimes during a weekend or time off, our staffers will even try to hone their skills by challenging one another to debrief a particular moment on the spot or holding up an unusual object and asking someone to “debrief this.” Today we invite you to accept the challenge and debrief this picture. Comment below to tell us how you would connect this picture to God’s word. The person that writes the best debrief will win a LIMITED EDITION CentriKid journal!


Making every day connections to Scripture is a very useful skill, especially when working with kids. Continue to sharpen your skills by debriefing moments, games, and activities. Need help? Check out these tips on making a spiritual application from almost anything!

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.





Thank You CentriKid Staff!


We hope you are enjoying your day off from school or work.You might be taking a road trip, having a barbecue, or watching a football game on TV. We all love this time of year because it means that summer is over and cooler weather is on the way. Labor Day was originally created to celebrate the hard work of American people, and we wanted to take today to celebrate an incredible group of people: OUR CENTRIKID STAFF!

IMG_4086-1We believe that we have the best young leaders in the world staffing our camps. They are some of the hardest working college students and young adults in the world. They use their time, passion, and energy from the time they wake up early to set up the rec field to the time they go to bed after a late-night staff meeting.

We believe that life-change happens best in the context of relationships, and our staff make sure that they build life-changing relationships with all the kids at camp. They take meal times as an opportunity to have intentional conversations with kids, they work hard to know each kid’s names, and they always hang out with them during hang time. Every staffer makes it his or her goal to make sure that no one leaves camp without a life changing encounter with Christ, and we are so blessed by each one of them!

Our office team works all year to create quality camp programming that best shares the message of Christ with kids. But at the end of the day, camp could not happen without our staffers serving selflessly, and God working through them to impact the lives of kids across the country at CentriKid.

If you have ever been a CentriKid staffer over the years, we want you to know that we appreciate you. Your service to God is a bit deal! Because of your hard work and willingness to serve the Lord, thousands of kids have a relationship with Jesus Christ, and thousands have grown deeper in their relationship with God! You have made a difference.

Thank you CentriKid Staff!

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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.

2014 Missions Update

At CentriKid, we place a huge emphasis on missions across the world, and how God does amazing works through them. Each year at camp, we partner with mission projects both locally and globally through the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board. Our mission projects are focused specifically on kids helping kids. Whether it is in the United States or on the other side of the globe, we want kids to know that they can make a difference by praying and giving to missions.

This past summer, we had the opportunity to give to and pray for two great missions projects:

Mosaic Church—Chicago, IL

Campers learned about other kids in the Wicker Park area of Chicago, IL.  Scott Venable with Mosaic Church invites kids from the area to eat pizza and play basketball. They use basketball as a bridge to build relationships and share the Gospel!

One Cup of Water— India

Campers learned that more than 1,200 water pump handles have broken, and the people there have no way to get clean water. It only takes $10 to buy a new handle for a pump, and when a  church group gives $280, it can be a new storage container for the water pumps. This also supports the work of missionaries telling people in India about Jesus!

Each cycle of camp, we took up a missions offering during worship. Sometimes kids gave up buying a snack during Hang Time, or decided to put their extra spending money in the missions offering.  Week after week, we saw kids giving as an act of worship.  Over the course of 65 cycles of camp, CentriKid campers and churches gave $115,285.96 to Mosaic and One Cup of Water! Wow!


Continue to pray for Mosaic Church, One Cup of Water, and all the missionaries throughout the world. Thank you for giving and helping support missions as they spread the news and message of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

Check out other ministry results from this past summer 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.