Sin can be a topic that is avoided in Kids Ministry due to the potential harshness of it. It is such an important part of our faith, and we shouldn’t shy away from teaching kids the reality of sin. Don’t underestimate what kids can understand. You’d be surprised! If God can allow the mind of a child to grasp the concept of Jesus dying for us to save us from sin, then He will definitely allow the mind of a child to understand the basis of sin.
Simply put, sin is the bad stuff we do that makes God sad and separates us from Him. Children are typically concrete thinkers, so give them practical examples of what sin looks like in their lives: disobeying their parents, lying to their friends, or arguing with their brother or sister.
It’s okay to tell them the origin of sin – Adam and Eve. Let them know that God intended for us to be perfect creations, but we ruined that by falling into temptation from the devil. Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, so now ALL people sin. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Even though sin can be uncomfortable or difficult to talk to kids about, it provides the best opportunity for a gospel presentation! In Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The beginning of this verse is a scary reality, but the second part of the verse is the greatest truth and comfort that we can have as Christians. Even though we sin, God provided the gift of safety and eternal life with Him forever by sending Jesus to die for us. All we have to do is accept that gift!
Spring has sprung! The trees and grass are turning green again, warmer weather is on its way, and you can start putting up the winter clothes and unpacking the shorts. The kids are all dying to go outside each week. What better time than this to take them outside to plan out an Easter OMC at your church! It will allow the kids to run around and be crazy, but still allow you an opportunity to debrief the game and point it back to Scripture.
We have over 15 different editions and add-ons of OMC (not including each summer’s themed editions), but some of my favorites are the seasonally-themed add-ons. They bring the fun of OMC that we play at camp during the summer into the rest of the year and what is happening at the time. Here is how to create an Easter themed OMC at your church or ministry.
First, if you do not have the official OMC game yet, you’ll want to get one of those! You can find it online here if you need to get it. There are two full editions available. You can choose if you want the “Yellow Edition” or “Messy Edition”– or even get both to have at the ready at any time! Each of those editions comes with 50 unique task cards. Both can be played simultaneously as well; it will just make the game that much messier and fun!
Once you have the digital version of the OMC game, you want to access the Easter bonus edition instructions and additional tasks. With these combined versions, you will be good to go. Each edition will provide you with instructions on what supplies are needed, as well as how many cards to print, and the overall setup of the field.
Remember, once the game is over, debrief it to remind kids of the truth of Scripture and why we celebrate Jesus dying and coming back to life. See this past blog about tips on debriefing. We hope you have a great Easter OMC, and are able to impact kids with the great news of Jesus’ resurrection that we are celebrating! Feel free to check out our other special editions as well as some FAQs about OMC at centrikid.com.
Collaboration is the action of working with someone to produce or create something. There is always something that needs to be done. Something to be created. Something that needs to happen. And the best way to produce the very best product is with a great team. Check out some tips below about how collaboration can help you get things done.
Stick to the Vision: When there is something to be done, there are always many opinions on how to accomplish it the best way. What is so important is that you and your team understand what is driving you. What is the purpose behind what you are doing? As long as we always keep the main goal, the main goal then the logistics of completing tasks will fall into place.
Use Your Strengths: As you think about the team you work with and those in your ministry who help you to create new ideas, think about their strengths. There are lots of great tools that you can utilize to learn more about your teams’ strengths. You can use Meyers-Briggs or StrengthsFinder to figure out how the people on your team work best. Knowing certain things about your teammates can help you to be more contentious and be more productive.
Communicate Well: One of my leaders once told me, “You can say anything it just depends on how you say it.” That has always stuck with me. When you are leading a team or if you are on a team communication is so very important. And remember that listening is just as important as talking when it comes to communication. Sometimes you have to have difficult conversations, they are needed, but as long as the person you are having the conversation with feels valued, you can say what you need to say. Having an open mind and a listening ear is vital in collaboration.
Our CentriKid Office team loves to collaborate. We talk through many aspects of camp to make sure that we are bringing you the very best that we can. I hope that you can use these tips to collaborate with your team and to continue to strive for excellence.
Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 CSB
Working with kids can be tough, especially when it comes to communicating with them. How do they not just get some of the things we are asking? We say it as seemingly clear as day, but it seems like we are talking quantum physics with how little they are actually understanding or paying attention to what we say. Have you ever felt that way? Well, it’s because kids aren’t the same as adults. Now,that’s kind of a given isn’t? While this concept is very simple, and you probably already knew it, sometimes it is so helpful to be reminded of it t as you strive to impact the lives of kids with the gospel in the most effective way possible.
Kids aren’t adults
Kids simply aren’t at the same mental development stage as adults (Although I’m sure at least some of us have been accused of still acting like one!). They are going through much different life events. An exciting thing to a kid might be having 3 dollars to their name, but is an adult’s worst nightmare. When talking with kids, it is important to use relevant-to-them topics and examples. Along those same lines, kids tend to be more concrete learners than abstract thinkers. Kids will learn best with examples that connect clearly to what you want them to understand. That may mean talking about how the game you just played actually relates to our relationship with Jesus. We refer to that as a “debrief.” You can read more about that here in Debriefing 101. Beyond that, using physical objects will help solidify what you are saying in a kid’s mind–they simply aren’t going to understand or retain as much if you are using metaphorical illustrations. And remember to keep your vocabulary simple. They aren’t taking seminary courses; they don’t need to hear words like propitiation just yet, because you will completely lose their attention.
Kids aren’t babies
Now, thinking in a new way, elementary kids are more advanced than their younger counterparts. They can understand words and speak them back to you. You can have real conversations with them. In these conversations it is important to remember a few things. First, since they aren’t babies, you should allow kids to think for themselves. Asking open-ended questions and allowing them to answer in their own words helps kids think through what they know and believe in a much deeper way than simple yes and no responses that guide them to what you are telling them to believe. During these conversations it is also important to get on their level. Don’t tower above them and incite fear over them. Get down to a knee or squat to talk with them where they are.
I’ve heard it said that when working with kids, you need to get on their train before you ask them to get on yours. For example, when you have asked everyone to come to the stage, but a young boy is continuing to build this massive lego tower instead, talk with him and find out all about what he is doing. Through doing this, he will be much more willing to come the next time you ask. Situations like this will help you build a relationship. We often say at CentriKid that life change happens best in the context of relationships. That’s why we do what we do, and I believe it should be a goal of yours as well — to develop deep relationships with the kids you are privileged enough to show God’s love. This relationship will instill trust, and you will be able to communicate with those kids even greater once that trusting relationship is there. Comment below with tips you have found work well when communicating with kids.
In your leadership journey, there will certainly be times of uncertainty. How will you grow your ministry? What week of camp will we attend? How will you get enough volunteers for next Sunday? Not knowing all of the answers is okay, but in all cases, you must have clarity when leading your team.
What is a Team Assistant?
The best high school juniors and seniors, or even young college students, that a church group can bring to camp to be Adult Leaders for their week of CentriKid.
Team Assistants will get to spend more intentional time with the campers like staffers do! We want train them to work and interact with the campers just like we train our staffers to.
Check out this video to see what the Team Assistant Program is about and what a week of camp would look like for them!
Bringing Team Assistants to camp can also serve as a solution to an issue that some Church Group Leaders have: a shortage of Adult Leaders. These students will count towards the standard 1 to 5 adult to kid ratio, and will be housed with your group like all the other adults you bring. But, as an added bonus, they’ll get to work alongside the CentriKid staff helping out with Recreation, Track Times, and Bible Study! This gives them a behind-the-scenes look at serving as a CentriKid Camps staffer.
This is also great for the campers to see people they already know from home help lead them during camp programming. Not only will it help the kids stay attentive, but it makes them realize just how cool these students are, because they’re like CentriKid Staffers!
CentriKid Staffers absolutely love Team Assistants! They don’t just help with camp duties, but they help make impacts in the lives of campers. That’s what CentriKid is all about! We want our Team Assistants to have the best experience so that they’ll want to become CentriKid Staffers as well. Many of our current staffers were once Team Assistants, and are now returning summer to summer to make a difference in the lives of kids!
If you have any questions about Team Assistants or the Team Assistant program, please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Group Leader Information is online for 2017!
Click HERE to download a packet specific to your camp location. The CentriKid team has worked hard to apply the insights you have given us and make things easier for you.
We want camp 2017 to be your best summer ever and we hope that our updated Group Leader Information will help equip you with everything you need to make this possible!
You’ll notice a few small changes we’ve made for 2017.
On the cover we have a small sneak-peak to help you find what you need!
You’ll notice, we’ve made our Parent Packet a separate document this year, so you can easily download and print off as many as you need for your pre-camp parent meeting. Be sure to download Group Leader Information from your location for yourself and point your parents to our Parent Packet as you prepare for camp!
As the Group Leader for your church/ministry, this document includes everything you will need to effectively prepare and lead a group to CentriKid. Whether it’s your first year at camp or your seventh summer in a row, this document will be your guide as you gear up for Adventure Awaits!
Grace is a word that we use a lot. We talk about God’s grace and how thankful we are for it, but are the kids we see every day, every week understanding what grace really means? When I was growing up in church sometimes I would feel like I was just supposed to “know” what church words meant. So let’s make sure that we are teaching our kids that it is ok to ask questions. Asking questions leads to understanding, and understanding helps kids make their faith their own.
So when the question come up about what grace is, how do you answer it? The best way I know how to explain grace is that, grace simply means not getting what you deserve. We offer grace to people in our lives when we choose to respond with a kind word instead of being cruel. When someone is mean to us it is very easy to be be mean back. Even when someone deserves a mean word, that is where grace comes in and gives them kindness. Or maybe you could explain it better when kids do something that is deserving of punishment. When they deserve time-out or deserve to have something taken away but grace is extended.
Grace isn’t a difficult thing to explain, but don’t assume that kids already understand. Hearing a word often, does not mean that there is understanding. And understanding the concept of grace can have eternal significance.
The word “risk” can send shivers up your spine or can invigorate your curiosity. These steps toward “what’s possible” can, at times, feel impossible. Whether it’s a financial investment, a new ministry, or a different model for your team, risks ultimately mean change. In leadership, responsible risk taking looks a lot less like gambling and a lot more like calculated chess moves.
As a leader, you must be willing to guide your people into the unknown. Not on a careless journey, but one with promise to benefit all. Though the path will be new for your footsteps, as the leader, you must be willing to forge the trail. With risk comes both uncertainty and possibility; we must face the risk before us with both hands open wide. As you begin this endeavor, consider the following:
1. Count the cost
Consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of your possibilities. Make a pros/cons list. Sit down for discussion over coffee with people you trust. Consult your mentors and teammates. And most importantly, seek the Lord’s guidance through meditation and prayer.
2. Make your move
Once you’ve decided to move forward on this new road, set your eyes on what lies ahead. Map out a game plan and stay faithful to your calculations. Heed not the words of naysayers and unbelievers. With peace from the Lord, take each stride in confidence.
3. Stay focused
A bare bank account, a tough day, or words of opposition will be discouraging. Resolve to stay resilient. When pursuing the call God has for you, continue to run your race. Face the obstacles as they come and move on to your mountaintop.
Leaders are seldom remembered for simply what they intended to do. Leaders take action. Taking risks will not always mean success, or improvement, or reward. But, without taking that chance, you’ll never know what could have been. Don’t meekly evaluate your choices. Recognize your goal, and take that leap of faith!