3-D Kickball

The warm weather we’ve been experiencing lately has gotten me ready for summer and all the fun games that come with it! The great part about this game is it can be played outdoors in warm weather but also in a gym during the winter. At CentriKid, we love this game so much that we play it with our entire summer staff at our training week! We think your kids will love playing it too. 3-D Kickball can be a good opportunity to let the kids run around and experience a little bit of controlled chaos even during the cold months.


How to play:
Divide players into two teams. Choose three pitchers from the fielding team. Ask the kicking team to line up behind the three kicking spots. To play, all three pitchers should roll the balls simultaneously. Once a player kicks a ball, he or she may run to any base he or she chooses.

Runners may run the bases in any order, but they must touch all three bases before returning home to score. runners may touch any of the three kicking spots to score. Runners are not required to advance, and each base may accommodate multiple runners. Rummers may not steal bases and must stop running once the pitchers have recovered all three balls.

The fielding team may force a runner out by catching the ball or by tagging him or her with the ball (below the waist). The number of outs per inning is not limited. Instead turn over innings every two minutes.

One of our promises to you at CentriKid is that we will root everything in scripture, and we love to connect everything back to God’s Word at CentriKid. I’ve provided a spiritual connection for you to use as you play this game.

Read John 14:6

Ask: How is this game different from normal kickball? (You could run the bases in any order)

Say: In this game, there are multiple ways to make it back to home plate and score, but in life, there is only one way to be rescued from our sin and have a relationship with God. Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life, died on the cross, and rose again to rescue us. Because He is still alive today, we can trust him to save us and give us life. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Bonus info:
The game explanation and debrief were adapted from our Recreation: rooted in scripture book. If you didn’t get one last year, you can be sure to grab one this summer at a CentriKid Camp Store. It has this game and many more, broken down into explanation, debrief, and what equipment you will need. Hope you enjoy this game, and be on the lookout for it this summer at CentriKid!

Always Point to Jesus

What is the driving force of your kids ministry on Sunday mornings, Wednesday nights, and any time you meet the kids that attend your church?

On Sundays, my wife and I serve in our church’s kids ministry. Yesterday, a few of us had lunch with our kids pastor to plan for the month of February. At the beginning of lunch, my kids pastor cast the vision that we always wanted to point every Sunday’s main point toward the gospel. While it might be easy to teach a moral or a behavior modification, we need to always be pointing these kids to the source of life-transformation, Jesus Christ.

The lifeblood of CentriKid Camps is to always point to Jesus at every chance. You will never see a time of worship at Gospel with kids poster thumbnailcamp where the gospel is not presented. You will see every single game on the recreation field or at track times always rooted in scripture and pointing to the gospel of Christ. Our goal is that no kid leaves camp without a life-changing encounter with Jesus, and we do not want to miss a single opportunity to share that good news! We pray that your kids ministry shares a similar vision and strives to always point to Jesus at every opportunity.

Here are three tips to help always use the gospel in your kids ministry:

  1. Evaluate your ministry. As early as this Wednesday or Sunday, ask yourself, “How are we doing?” Take a look at all aspects of your programming (Sunday School, small groups, large groups, children’s church, etc), and truly evaluate how clearly the gospel is presented during it. If you find the gospel is not clearly presented, make a goal to have a plan of action to improve by the next time you meet with your kids.
  2. Cast vision with your volunteers. Like the kids pastor at my church, meet with your leaders and clearly cast the vision for your kids ministry to focus on the gospel. Show your volunteers ways how to incorporate the gospel into every activity, game, and teaching time. For some of your volunteers, it might be the first time they have shared the gospel, so encourage them and equip them to clearly communicate the gospel with kids. This “meeting” could look like a lunch, or could simply be a short meeting before your normally scheduled time.
  3. Find resources to help. You are not alone! There are tons of great resources out there to help share the gospel with kids. If your curriculum is missing the gospel in favor of teaching them a good moral, find a curriculum that clearly points kids to Jesus. One easy resource we recommend is “The Gospel: God’s Plan for Me.” This was created by CentriKid a few years ago, and we love how clearly it presents the gospel on a kids level.  (In fact, this is exactly how I phrase the gospel when I’m teaching the kids in large group at my church.) You can find a PDF download of the “Gospel: God’s Plan for Me” here!

If you are lucky, you have the kids in your ministry maybe an hour or two each week. If that’s the case, at most, you will have only 52 hours (or less!) of their attention for an entire year. How much of that time will you spend sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in 2016?

Micheal Walley

Micheal started has been working with CentriKid since 2011. He graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in communications. He leads up our production elements at camp, and serves in his church's kidmin as a large group leader. Micheal loves talking about kids ministry, leadership, coffee, and his wife, Anne Marie.





Reaching Spiritual Orphans Through Camp

For many kids going to camp is a tradition every summer. There are inside jokes, funny stories, and things that they look forward doing year after year. Many of these kids have grown up in church and have incredible parents who talk to them about Jesus and encourage them in their faith. Yet, there is another type of child that is in our ministry and that comes to camp. They are spiritual orphans. These are the kids that do not have the name of Jesus spoken in their home and they do not have a spiritual influence in their home. The time spent at your church  might be the only time they hear about Jesus and the gospel.

So how can we reach these kids? Camp is an excellent way to introduce Jesus to these kids. These types of kids most of the time do not understand church rules. Being still and quiet to listen to a a bible story or to pray is a foreign concept. But at camp we are allowed to run around, play games, and get covered in shaving cream. These kids will be able to encounter Christ in a completely different way. They will be immersed in a safe environment with other kids and staffers who will show them so much love.

The week of camp may be the only week out of the year that these spiritual orphans are able to hear about the love of Jesus. At CentriKid, we love to invest in kids and make this the very best week of the year for them. If there is a scholarship available for another kid to come to camp, think about those spiritual orphans that are in your community. Think of the impact CentriKid could have on these kids if they could spend a week with your church group at camp. As camp approaches, think of some kids that you might be able to invite to come to camp next summer. We know that it could be a life-changing week, and we pray that no one leaves camp without a life-changing encounter with Christ!

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.

Group Leader Information 2016

Group Leader Information is online for 2016! Click HERE to download a packet specific to your location. Once you begin to look through Group Leader Information, you will soon notice that it looks different. The CentriKid team has worked hard to take the insight that you have given us and apply it to make it easier for you.

Campbellsville_2GETTING TO KNOW YOU. The first page of Group Leader Information gives you information about who will be your Director and Assistant Director at camp and how to contact them. You can also find information on housing for that location and how family or friends can send letters to you and your kids while at camp. This page will also give you some important information about the camp location you will be attending.

TRACK TIME CARDS AND INFO. ThCampbellsville Trackse second and third page is all about my favorite part of camp–Track Times! Check out the track descriptions on page 2 and be sure that every kids fills out one of the Track Time Cards from page 3. Every locations Track Time Card is different so be sure that you only get this from your specific Group Leader Info. One fun way to be sure that everyone fills out a Track Time Card is to fill it out on the bus on your way to camp. This will help time go by if you have a longer drive and you can have fun getting the kids excited for all of the fun they will have at camp!

LOCATION INFORMATION. For some even more in-depth information about your location check Campbellsville2016_Page_06out page 5. Here, you will find a map and some tips you should know before you go to camp. To find your schedule, check out page 6 of Group Leader Info. On this page is a helpful reminder about what color each kid (and adult) will be wearing at OMC!

CHECKLISTS. I love checklists! You can find an in-depth checklist to help you prepare for camp on page 6 and 7. On this checklist, you can find links to this year’s participant list (the blue box) as well as information about how to bring a nurse to camp. You can also find the dates when deposits and forms are due.

Campbellsville2016_Page_09FOR THE PARENTS. Parent meetings are an important part of getting the information out prior to camp. Page 8 has some helpful tips about the information you should go over with your parents. Be sure to have them sign the release forms and collect any order forms for Camper Care Packages. You can find the release forms in the Parent Packet or on the Group Leader Info page. On this page is also a link to order your Church group’s Camper Care Packages and Camp Store Cards. This needs to be filled out BEFORE JUNE 1st. When you arrive at camp, you can give the store manager a completed Group Order Summary that can be found on page 11. This will be used to cross reference what you ordered online.

At camp, we tie everything to the Gospel and we want to help you as the church group leader continue these conversations after camp. Page 9 has some suggestions on how to follow up with your kids after camp. Page 10 has all the information you will need about Team Assistants at camp!

Campbellsville2016_Page_13SPECIAL ATTENTION CARDS. Special Attention cards can be found on Page 12. This are a way that our staff would like to serve you more. Please fill these out for any child who needs a little special attention at camp. These can range from anything to an allergy or broken arm to a child who’s family is going through a divorce or they need some extra prayer from the staff. Also, this is a great way to let us know if anyone is having a birthday from your group.

Camp will be here before we know it and Group Leader Information is the first step to preparing for it. We can’t wait to see all of you this summer!

Isaac Kierstead

Isaac graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Studio Art and Editing and Writing. He started working camp in 2013 and joined the office team in 2014. Isaac designs a lot of the items you’ll see at camp this summer, helps with track development, puts together group leader information and staff manuals. His favorite part of camp is I Can’t Wait and track times.





Merry Christmas 2015!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Whether you are opening presents by the fire, traveling to Grandma’s house to gather with extended family, or enjoying other fun Christmas traditions, we hope that you and your family have a blessed day as you celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ!

For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 (HCSB)

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 1 John 5:11 (HCSB)

From our CentriKid family to you:

ChristmasCard (2)

Merry Christmas from the CentriKid Office Team! (JE, Isaac, Tiffany, Henry, Vincent, Micheal)

Micheal Walley

Micheal started has been working with CentriKid since 2011. He graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in communications. He leads up our production elements at camp, and serves in his church's kidmin as a large group leader. Micheal loves talking about kids ministry, leadership, coffee, and his wife, Anne Marie.

Help Kids Celebrate the Season

I love Christmas. I love the smell. I love buying gifts for people. I love to decorate. I love to wrap presents. I love to surprise neighbors with small gifts. I love the lights. I love that December is the perfect time to celebrate and I love what we celebrate. December comes with lots to do, a busier than normal schedule, and sometimes some stress. How do we make sure we create special moments for our kids and teach them what we are celebrating? Here are a few practical ideas to make memories in your family or ministry this Christmas and to help kids celebrate the season:

Read. Wrap a book for your kids to open each day. Use this as a time to share a moment with them while they learn about the birth our Savior.

Pick one night a week. Protect this time and use it to do something together. Make a craft, go look at lights while listening to Christmas music, drink hot chocolate and watch a Christmas movie. Do something on this night that is unique to the season. Encourage families in your ministry to do this by sending them home with something to talk about or an activity to do related to what they learned on Sunday.

December Daily. Make a book and let your kids document something fun they did everyday in December. It’s not too late! These have become a tradition in our family. I make one every year and each December we pull them out and look at the last few years. This is a fun way to remember fun things you did and of course see the growth and change from one year to the next.

Read the Christmas story from the Bible. This one seems obvious but I think sometimes we over look it. No matter the age of your children or the children you are ministering to, they need to hear it. Read it, sing about it, act it out, and tell it as you move characters around in your nativity scenes. This is the reason we celebrate and can be a seed planted in your child’s heart that can lead to other conversations throughout the year.

Pass it on. Give hope to someone. As a family or as a Sunday school class, let your kids brainstorm something they could do for someone else. Let them come up with the idea and talk about why we should show kindness and serve others.

Don’t let the busyness of this season steal your joy and the opportunity to make it special for your own kids or the kids in your ministry. Pray now that this holiday season will have deeper meaning for your ministry. We at CentriKid pray that this holiday season will create times for intentional conversation, opportunities to serve others, and some special memories for your families and ministries.

About the Guest Blogger:

IMG_6927Emily Echols lives in Nashville, Tennessee where she coaches high school softball and teaches private softball lessons with young girls. Originally from Texas, she has been involved with education and coaching for over 10 years. Emily loves being a mommy to Madison (4 years old) and wife to CentriKid team leader, Jeremy (their 14 year anniversary is tomorrow!).



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!





Christmas Games to Celebrate the Season

As you are putting the finishing touches to all of the Christmas parties that you are hosting this season, sometimes you need just one more activity to have fun with the kids and connect it back to the story of Jesus coming to earth. We know that, just like at camp, you love to have fun with your kids. This can also be a wonderful time to remind the kids about the reason that Jesus came to earth. Here are two of my favorite Christmas games that will help your kids remember the importance of this season.

Do You Want to Build a Snowman?
(One for each team)
Toilet Paper

Split your kids into teams depending on how many materials you have. Designate one person per team to be the snowman. When you say go, each team will race to dress their snowman using the materials. Give them 3 minutes to completely dress their snowman. Give each of the snowmen a chance to show off their attire. Using a loudness vote, chose a game winner!

In the Bible, it tells us that we can be made new through Christ. Ask the kids if they could recognize the person you dressed up as a snowman? When Jesus came to earth, He had a plan to make us new. Luke 19:10 says that Jesus came to save the lost. He came to earth to give us a new life with His father and just like we can not recognize the snowman when he is dressed up, we will be changed when we accept Christ into our lives. Unlike the snowmen, we will not be changed on the outside, instead God will come into our lives and we will have a relationship with Him!

The Gift
Wrap a gift such as a $5 gift card or small toy
Wrap the present multiple times with different wrapping paper
Be sure not to tape the paper layers together!
Have some music that is easy to play/pause

Sit the kids in a circle and start the music. As the music plays, pass the present around the circle. When the music stops, whoever is holding the present gets to open a layer of it. Keep playing until the someone gets to the present.

The Bible talks about how Jesus came to earth to be the free gift for everyone. Romans 6:23 says that we do not deserve this gift of life but because Jesus came to earth we can be saved. Ask the kid who unwrapped the present if they did anything special to deserve the gift. They get to keep that gift because they unwrapped it. Just like all they had to do was unwrap the gift, all we have to do is accept Christ ourselves.

These games can be a lot of fun and a great way to celebrate Christmas with your children’s ministry. Let us know what you do with the kids at your church to celebrate the birth of Christ and His amazing gift to us!

Isaac Kierstead

Isaac graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Studio Art and Editing and Writing. He started working camp in 2013 and joined the office team in 2014. Isaac designs a lot of the items you’ll see at camp this summer, helps with track development, puts together group leader information and staff manuals. His favorite part of camp is I Can’t Wait and track times.





Join us at a 2016 VBS Preview Event

Aside from reserving your spots for camp, LifeWay VBS Preview Events are the very best way to get ready for summer!If you’re planning on taking a flight with us with CentriKid 2015, Unseen, we’d love to invite you to join us as we dive below the surface with Submerged! In fact, did you know that these events are brought to you by the same team that brings you CentriKid?

Check out this highlight reel to see what people are saying about their time at VBS.  We didn’t hire actors to read a script, we just caught them in the hall at last year’s event and asked them what they loved about the event!

You have a chance to join hundreds of other leaders at one of our VBS Preview events in NC, TX, or TN.  All the registration details are online at the VBS website.  At every VBS Preview Events, you will get to…

  • see all the decorations for all church sizes, all budgets, all rotations!
  • hear the music and learn the motions from the pro’s
  • get your VBS t-shirt, and order them for your church at the VERY BEST at-event discount
  • get ideas from other churches – VBS, BKC, and ZIP are all done differently in different church settings, so somebody at the event will be able to connect with you because they have a similar situation
  • attend breakouts on every topic, every rotation, every age
  • see whats pictured in the catalog  pick it up, hold it, turn it over, and you can purchase what you need in the on-site LifeWay store
  • experience things exclusive to the Events only at VBS events can you get to see an exclusive family experience modeled, buy exclusive VBS merchandise for the serious VBS fan, and connect with other leaders from around the country

We are excited to help provide and experience and training materials you can take home to use in your preparations for VBS this summer.

If you’re a director, pastor, kids ministry leader, or part of the VBS team, then VBS Preview is for you.  Also, if you have questions about coming to camp or your CentriKid registration, the entire CentriKid team and I be on-site at the VBS check-in area to meet you and help if we can!

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.





Happy Thanksgiving 2015!

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

Here in the CentriKid Office, we truly hope that your Thanksgiving Day is one of the greatest days of the year! We are thankful for many, many things, but most of all, we are thankful for YOU!

Group Leaders:
“You are the true heroes of kids ministry, and without you, CentriKid would not be possible. Thank you for trusting us to partner with you in ministry. Thank you for your continued work for the Kingdom, day-in and day-out. Most of all, thank you for all you do to make the message of Christ clear and to help kids understand how they can become children of the Most High. Happy Thanksgiving!”
– Henry Dutton

Kids Ministry Volunteers:
“We are so incredibly thankful for the adult sponsors who come to camp. Your support of the group leader and your willingness to invest in the lives of the kids at your church is incredible. You are so much more than a kid wrangler. You are the light of Christ to kids at camp in the summer and at your church all year. Thank you for stepping up and serving God through kids ministry.”
– Tiffany

Camp Location Contacts:
“I’m thankful for the many CentriKid venues and site contacts who help us provide a great experience for kids and adults.  These men and women help us with everything from maintenance requests to dietary concerns to even helping with the unexpected rainy day plans.  We couldn’t provide the type of camp program we offer without the awesome colleges and conference center partners that host camp!”
– Jeremy Echols

“We simply cannot thank you enough! We often say that our staff is our biggest asset, because without you the ministry of CentriKid could not be what it is. We believe you are some of the best, most hardworking people who love the Lord and sharing His message to kids. Thank you for serving with us. We love you all!”
– Vincent Thomas

We consider it a true blessing to partner with each of you in making the message of Christ clear to thousands of kids every summer. Most importantly, we are thankful for the continuous blessings that the Lord gives CentriKid. After years of serving in this ministry, I am still in awe at how God uses it to reach kids (and even adults) for Christ through the gospel. We take no credit for it– the ministry of CentriKid is entirely a blessing from God, and a clear picture of how God works! Happy Thanksgiving!

Micheal Walley

Micheal started has been working with CentriKid since 2011. He graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in communications. He leads up our production elements at camp, and serves in his church's kidmin as a large group leader. Micheal loves talking about kids ministry, leadership, coffee, and his wife, Anne Marie.

A Twist on Encouraging Leaders

Many churches have an annual recognition banquet where dinner is served and a standard gift is given to all leaders. I asked my leadership team about this, and many of them felt that was a bit impersonal. Instead of having that once-a-year event where you recognize all of your leaders, why not start encouraging leaders with something brand new?

1. Get to know your leaders personally.
I have a sheet that I require my leaders to fill out when they begin to work in the kids area. It simply asks about some of their favorite things, and helps me to get to know some details about them. Check out this sample here! You may also choose to designate one night a week to have a couple of your volunteers over for dinner. It may take a whole year to have them all over, but they will surely appreciate you making the effort to get to know them.

2. Pray for your leaders.
Ask them weekly how you can be praying for them. Getting this information can be tricky because they will not all reply to your e-mail or text message, and some of your older leaders may actually require a phone call! One strategy I use is to have a check-in sheet in all of their rooms with these 3 questions: “1. What was the best part of your week? 2. What was the worst part of your week? 3. How can I be praying for you?”
The more you are praying for them and following up with them, the quicker that relationship is formed. I keep a prayer journal with a page for each worker. Also, you might send them a letter at the end of the year and remind them of the many answered prayers from the previous year!

3. Encourage your leaders with notes and small gifts.
Believe it or not, a personal card or letter goes a LONG WAY! I try to encourage at least one leader a week by sending them something in the mail. (I try to do this on Tuesday mornings and set aside 30 minutes to write as many as I can.)
Additionally, you could send a small gift. It’s simple! For example, on that info sheet, one of the questions asks the volunteer their favorite snack. I may have that food waiting in their room with a note. Many times they forgot about filling out the form and are amazed that they got their “favorite” snack!

4. Celebrate your leaders!
Instead of the standard speaker-catered dinner affair, I like to have a big party for everyone. Many times it will include tons of games and activities with prizes like gift cards and things I know my leaders like. The goal of these parties is for everyone to have a good time, get to know other workers and their families, and refocus us on doing God’s ministry! Some great venues for the party are tailgates, in a park, pool party, or even a Christmas party at your house. Getting outside the church walls is the key!

No matter what methods you use, the bottom line is that we must make out leaders feel appreciated. In order to do this we need to get to know them and encourage them in the ways that are meaningful for them. . Persistence and intentionally are keys to building a great team, whether you are leading 5 or 500 people. Encourage them and they will be your best workers!


About the Guest Blogger:

PhotoPass_Visiting_Epcot_7473329869Evan Dickson is the Preschool & Children’s Minister at Concord Baptist Church in Anderson, SC, and a professor of Children’s Ministry at Anderson University. He has served as a CentriKid Camp Pastor and Director. He’s been involved in kids ministry for over 15, and is passionate about communicating the gospel to kids in a creative way to help them grow in their relationship with him. He is married to his wife Liza, and they have an 8 year old son, Noah, and a 5 year old daughter, Lainey.



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!