Mar

30

2015

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Teaching Kids about Easter

Teaching kids about Easter can be challenging. Easter holiday is much like other Christian holidays because there are cultural traditions as well as Christian traditions, and two don’t always make sense how they go together.

Kids wonder what makes “Good Friday” good? What’s the connection between the Easter bunny and the Easter story? Why can’t we hide hard-boiled eggs in the house anymore? (OK, that’s my question from when I was a kid!)

In helping kids understand why this holiday is so important to our faith, here are 4 pointers to help you prepare for teaching kids about Easter.

  1. Use age appropriate terms as you talk about Jesus’ death on the cross. Going into gory details with young kids can scare them, or possibly just take the attention off the main point by getting them caught up in the physical details.
  2. Talk about the gospel. In explaining the “what” of Easter, never leave out the “why.” Through the sacrifice of Jesus death on the Cross and his resurrection, God made a way for us to have a relationship with Him!
  3. Include the resurrection. Sometimes I’ve heard leaders emphasize how Jesus died for our sins … but without the resurrection of Jesus, the cross means nothing.
  4. It’s fine to celebrate culture, but don’t let it crowd out the reason for Easter. My daughter and I will be hiding Easter eggs for the 2 weeks before Easter, and probably the 2 weeks after easter, but we also talk about how this is a fun game, but celebrating Easter is more about the things of God and how Jesus rose from the dead.

Also, check out these cool coloring pages from LifeWay Kids that you can use this Wednesday or Sunday with your preschoolers and kids at church.

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.

2015 Camp Prep Series #6: Care Packages

Camper care packages are back in 2015! We have some exciting new items to help campers get FIT this summer. The items in the 2015 Camper Care Package are the CentriKid cinch backpack, OMC shirt, Water Bottle, Sweatband, Eye Black, Colored Team Bracelet, Missions Bracelet, and Staff Poster. The backpack, OMC shirt, water bottle, sweatband, eye black, and team bracelet will be in your team color.

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Again this year, pre-orders for camper care packages will be accepted until June 1st. Be sure to place your pre-order here. We can guarantee your camper care package upon arrival to camp as long as you pre-order before June 1st. Any orders placed after June 1st will be subject to availability.

Also this year we are bringing back the camp store cards. They will be available in increments of $5, $25, and $50. These are ways that parents can be sure that their child has money to buy fun items
in the camp store, but is not carrying around a pocketful of cash. Camp store cards can only be used to purchase items in the CentriKid Camp Store (these do not apply to snack shops or souvenir shops on campus). Any money left on the camp store cards at the end of the week will be added to the missions offering.

We are so excited to serve you in the camp store this summer. Make sure to visit the camp store for all of your CentriKid gear!

Check out this sneak peek to see what’s in the camp store 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.

Mar

25

2015

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Balancing Work and Home

Achieving the perfect balance of work and life has proven to be a myth in today’s world. Many times I’ve believed that if 2-3 things fall into place, then I’ll finally be caught up and won’t worry about work stuff at home. I’ve even had occasional times of feeling great about my progress at work, but realized that laundry is piled up, the dog needs grooming, and the dishwasher isn’t draining right. But this blog isn’t designed to be a discouragement … there’s hope, and here are 4 tips to help you navigate balancing work and home responsibilities.

  1. Establish clear priorities. For most all of us, that means articulating that faith, family, and health are all important priorities that should come ahead of work. As important as ministry is to the kingdom, balancing work and home means identifying what is most important.
  2. Set boundaries. Once you identify priorities, you must draw a line in the sand. No one will protect time with your family for you.
  3. Reinforce your priorities and boundaries with your behavior and choices. Many well-meaning co-workers or church members will take up time in your schedule that you’ve intended for other priorities, unless you guard that time. For me, it requires using a word that is sometimes hard to say … and that is “no.’
  4. Acknowledge that you won’t be perfect. We all have seasons where there’s more demands from work, so realize that and know that balancing work and home is not an exact science. There are also seasons when we have illness, grief, vacation, or school activities for children. Know that from time to time, there will be more time required by one area than the other, but you can still honor your priorities and return to your normal boundaries after that season.

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.

Guest Blog: Kids and Missions

 Jesus, however, invited them: “Let the little children come to Me, and don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Luke 18:16

If you have ever worked with kids in any capacity, then you understand how much of a blessing they are to be around. Over the last few summers, I have had the wonderful opportunity to serve as a Bible study leader for CentriKid Camps, and it has been an incredible experience. One of the greatest gifts of working for CentriKid has been seeing the Lord draw kids to Himself.  It is a tremendous blessing to see kids passionate about the gospel, and even more awesome when a child has a passion for spending their lives proclaiming it.  Two areas of ministry that I am very passionate about are kids and missions. I believe that that the Lord has given me a unique desire for these areas and I get especially excited when I get to share my passion for missions with kids. 

No matter the capacity of your influence in the life of a child, your main role is to live by example and teach them how to live out the gospel.  As one of my favorite pastors, Voddie Bauchum, says, “Children are a blessing and inheritance from the Lord, and we want a [world] full of ballistic missiles who have been fully trained to be launched to this lost, hurting and dying world.” This is why it is important that we teach kids about missions. We must show them what it looks like to daily live out their faith so that they are ready to make an impact for the kingdom of God. Here are three steps for teaching kids about missions:

1.) Teach them the gospel and how to share it.

In Matthew 28:19, Jesus commands us as believers to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” We are called to make disciples, and that begins with discipling kids.  How can they make disciples if they do not know why they are doing it?  If our lives are supposed to be lived out for the gospel, we need to teach children that very truth.

2.) Teach them that missions is not about where you go, but rather where you are.

In Acts 1:8, Jesus said “… and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth..”  Translation: you are to live for Me in your community, in your state, in your country, and wherever else in the world I lead you.  It is important to teach kids that missions is not just about leaving the country to go and make disciples.  Yes, we are called to take the good news to the nations, but living on mission means living out the gospel where we are right now.  As Jim Elliot said, “Wherever you are, be all there!”

3.) Spark that interest (and calling) in them by getting them involved.

Here are some ideas you can use in your ministry to get kids excited about missions:

  • Focus on a specific community, nation, or people group each week.
  • Have speakers come in and share with the kids about their trips.
  • Host events to raise money for a project, a ministry, or a mission trip.
  • Plan a one-day parent-kid mission trip.

Whatever it is, you will see the excitement that kids get when they feels like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. 

Children are blessing; they are beautiful gifts from God.  However, we must remember that they are the Lord’s and we are simply stewards of them to train them up in righteousness so that they are ready take the gospel to a lost and dying world.

About the Guest Blogger:

2014 CK2 Tim Wells 1Tim Wells is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in International Studies.  He currently works for a finance company out of Biloxi, MS.  He has served two summers with CentriKid as a Bible study leader and will serve as a Camp Pastor at CentriKid at Timber Creek Camp in Mississippi this year. 

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.

Mar

20

2015

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2015 Camp Prep Series #5: CentriKid Spiritual Direction

Hopefully by now you have learned our theme for 2015 CentriKid Camps is FIT: Faith in Training. The theme will have a fitness and training motif, but at the end of the day the heartbeat of CentriKid is not as much the fun, wacky videos and impressive stage designs as it is the spiritual content. Our team works hard to make sure our content is rooted in Scripture, and all throughout the day in their various activities (Bible study, recreation, track times, worship, and even hang time) your campers will encounter biblical truths that reinforce the spiritual direction of the week. We are excited to share more of the CentriKid spiritual direction with you today.

In 2015, we will teach campers about the spiritual practices that help them grow in their faith. Specifically, we will focus on Scripture intake, prayer, giving, and Christian community. Of course, you cannot grow in faith if you do not first have a relationship with Christ, so our daily themes will focus around the idea of being first and foremost a disciple — very simply, a follower of Jesus Christ.

DAY 1 – A DISCIPLE IS A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST

A disciple is someone who has found God through Jesus. The greatest way to know who God is and what He is like is to be a follower of Jesus. Disciples walk in obedience to Him for the rest of their lives.

Bible study passages: Luke 5:1-11; Matthew 4: 18-22, 9:9

DAY 2-  A DISCIPLE ENCOUNTERS GOD THROUGH HIS WORD

Our lives can be transformed when we meet God by reading, meditating on, and memorizing His word. We should allow the word of God to dwell richly in our lives so that we can know Him better and love Christ more.

Bible study passages: Acts 8:26-40 (the Eunuch Encountered God)

DAYT 3 – A DISCIPLE EMBRACES GOD THROUGH PRAYER

Prayer is a way to communicate with God and allow our hearts to become more like His. Through prayer, we should praise God, make requests, admit our sin, and yield to His will for our lives.

Bible study passages: Luke 11:1-4; Matthew 6:9-13 (the Lord’s Prayer)

DAY 4 – A DISCIPLE ENGAGES WITH GOD THROUGH GIVING

Giving helps us to care about the things God cares about and participate in the things God does. When we give, God examines our hearts. We should give with the right heart and attitude.

Bible study passages: Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-13

DAY 5 – A DISCIPLE EXPERIENCES GOD THROUGH CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY

We understand God more deeply through our relationships with others.

Bible study passages: Acts 12:6-17

 

As always, we believe this will be another incredible summer of exploring Scripture together, and we cannot wait to see how God uses His word to convict hearts, change lives, and draw us to Himself. We hope you’ll join us as we get FIT!

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.

New CentriKid Videos for You!

Each week of CentriKid, we have a special time where we take Group Leaders and chat with them about how we can make camp easier for you guys. One thing I’ve heard several times is how useful fun videos are to get kids and parents excited for camp. This year, we have created several fun, new CentriKid videos that you can use at your church to help promote camp, use in your parent meetings to help calm their nerves, and get kids excited for the summer!
Check out the new videos below!
CentriKid Daily Overview

You can use this video to show a quick overview about what a day of CentriKid looks like!

CentriKid Parent Peace of Mind Video

Use this video to show parents how they can trust CentriKid to provide a safe, fun, and meaningful experience for their child.

CentriKid Team Assistant Video

You can use this video to recruit juniors through college students to tag along with your group as a Team Assistant!

Don’t Sweat the Summer

For a longer overview of the fun of camp, you can show this video!

To find more fun CentriKid videos (and even some Peach videos), check out the CentriKid.com video page! You can also download any of the above videos on that page.

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.

Recreating Your Kids Ministry Space

Have you ever walked into a kids ministry space and wished you were still a kid?
Whether you are repurposing an old space or touching up an existing one, there are a few things you can do to make the area inviting for your kids, parents, and volunteers.

Add Some Color
The first and easiest way to recreate a space is by adding a fresh coat of paint. This will renew the space and give the whole area a clean look. When choosing colors for a kids area, it can be tempting to find the brightest and boldest colors out there and splash them everywhere. Remember that while your children’s area is a place for the kids to have fun, it is also a place for learning. Check out this color palette to create a fun and inviting area for your ministry.

Classic-Blue Custard Scuba-Blue Strawberry-Ice Tangerine

Good Directions
Part of creating a welcoming environment for your ministry area is to be sure that guests and parents can always find their way through the space. Some of the best ministry spaces I have experienced were created through clear signs and directions. Simply updating the signs around your building can give the entire area a new look and become more welcoming to guests.

Engage with the Kids
In your main children’s worship area, having a system that enables you to run sound and video can be a great asset! Simply putting your logo on the screen and playing music as kids walk in will enhance the experience and get the kids excited for the time ahead. During worship, having the words on the screen or using curriculum such as Worship for Life will help engage the kids in worship. When teaching the kids, it is great to have visuals that reinforce your lessons so showing these as you connect the worship to the gospel will help instill the lessons into the kids.

The idea of recreating a children’s space can seem daunting, but giving the area a new look can help give new energy to your ministry and get your kids, parents, and volunteers excited to hear and teach the gospel!

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.

2015 Camp Prep Series #4: Team Assistants

The team assistant program began to help church leaders bring more adults to camp. Over the years we have grown our program to more than we even imagined it would ever become. Team assistants are a valued part of the CentriKid programming: the kids benefit from positive role models, group leaders have more possibilities for adult sponsors, and the CentriKid Staff is always thankful for the extra help. Many of our current staffers (and even office team) were once Team Assistants!

Check out this video about Team Assistants for a broad overview about the program.

You can find out more about the team assistant program on page 9 of your Group Leader information. Remember the Team Assistant Program is an option for your most trusted high school juniors and seniors or college aged students. Middle school and high school students who are not at least a rising junior are not allowed to serve in this position. If you are interested in bringing team assistants make sure you add them to your participant lists as a team assistant. We love partnering with you in ministry and cannot wait to have Team Assistants join us this summer.

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.

2015 Camp Prep Series #3: Promoting at Your Church

Camp is just around the corner, and you are probably super busy preparing for the summer and getting kids and parents to commit to signing up for CentriKid. Like anything, you can’t expect people to just sign up without any type of promotion. Promoting at your church is a major step in ensuring that parents will sign up their  kids to hop on the bus with you in June or July! We could not do camp without you, and now is the time to promote camp at your church.

Here are some tips to promote camp at your church this year:

1.) Use awesome videos during the main worship service or parent meeting. On the CentriKid.com Video Page, we have several videos you can use to get kids and parents excited about camp. We also have a BRAND NEW Parent Peace of Mind video just for parents to help them see why camp is great!
2.) Make posters and flyers to hang around church. On the CentriKid.com Promotional page, we have provided many graphics that you can use to make flyers, posters, media slides, and more! Whatever way you can use these graphics to get camp promotion and sign-up in front of your church members, we want you to use them! If we can provide you with anything else that would be helpful, let us know. Also, check out this blog post I wrote a few months ago with some extra FIT promotional items.
3.) Hold a parent interest meeting. Create an interest meeting either before or after a worship service for those who might be interested in sending their kids to camp. You can maybe even have a few parents speak about why they love sending their kids to camp.  You can also use the CentriKid.com Parent Page as a great resource to give them!
4.) Create a bulletin board to get kids excited! We’ve seen many churches who have created awesome FIT: Faith in Training bulletin boards to help get kids excited about camp. Check out our Instagram page for a few of these!

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There is no limit to the creative ways you can promote camp at your church. In fact, we want to highlight awesome churches who are doing a great job promoting camp at their church! Take a picture of a bulletin board, your parent meeting, or a cool way you are promoting camp, and send it to us at centrikid@lifeway.com. Every Friday, we will be posting about one of these churches using the hashtag #FeaturedChurchFriday!

As always, contact us at centrikid@lifeway.com if there is any way we can help you promote camp at your church!

Here are some other blog posts about promoting camp at your church:

2015 CentriKid Prep #1:  Online Tools

2015 CentriKid Prep #2: Fundraising

2013 CentriKid Prep: Getting Kids Signed Up

Freebie Friday: FIT Promotional Resources

 

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.

Youth Development: Scaffolding

Dr. Crompton started my last collegiate semester by telling me I was the producer of my own education. How much was he being paid for me to teach myself? Of course, what he said was 100% true. Dr. Crompton helped me learn my education was on me. I chose to study, I chose to work hard, I chose to come to class, I chose to learn, or I didn’t.

Dr. Crompton’s posture is what the youth development community calls scaffolding. Educators, for example, will give their students just as much support as he or she needs to equip their students to learn. You teach them the formula, you show them problem solving techniques, and you diagram a sentence with them. Students then may choose to solve the problem or write persuasively.

Just as scaffolding is built around a structure to help construction, so too, youth developers work to support youth in their development. Scaffolding is built, knowing it will not be there forever. Children ministry workers, parents, and the aunts and uncles in our world your goal is to support. The youth we love succeed when we accept our role as their support and not as their producer. Dr. Crompton was right, I needed him to guide me and not to provide me the answer.

As a youth development principle this has to be transferrable to a discussion in your kids ministry. Start with these ideas.

  • Pray for your kids’ growth and spiritual development. Simply said, our God does the growth, you do not. (1 Corinthians 3:6-7)
  • Focus on the process. Instead of saying our kids do not know enough scripture, ask yourself how can I help our kids learn scripture.
  • Foster mentor relationships. Scaffolding works best in one-on-one scenarios. Mentors can understand individual youth and tailor support to the youth’s specific needs.
  • Ask kids what they want. Youth voice is paramount. Scaffolding means you give the kids ownership of their growth, which is impossible without listening.
  • Learn from a scaffolding rockstar. You know someone who great at this. Learn from what they do. Ask this rockstar to help you help your kids.

Special thanks to Dr. Crompton, Odis Luper, Wade Graves, Scotty Voight, Dr. Edwards, Derek Sutt, David and Beth Spindle, and countless others who could fill this page as my scaffolding rockstars.

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.