Posts Tagged ‘Ministry Tips’

Mar

3

2017

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Use Your 60: Spring Break Edition

It has been a cold winter, but now we can see the warmth coming back for spring. Spring can be a hectic time for kids and adults alike, but the good news is that there is spring break! Maybe you are headed to the beach, or to the mountains, or maybe you are planning a stay-cation. No matter if you have big plans or no plans, you can Use Your 60 to make sure every moment counts.
No matter what your plans are, I challenge you to take some time for self care. The only person who can take care of you, is you. In order to continuously pour out your heart in ministry, you need to make sure that it is filled up. You might not get a week off, but maybe you can find an hour to take a hike at a beautiful spot or have a long chat with a close friend. Taking time to recharge is using your 60. 
When you are making every moment count, sometimes that means taking some moments away for rest. Whether you get a scheduled spring break or not I hope that you take some time of relaxation and rejuvenation this season. It will be well worth the time spent. Use Your 60 by taking care of yourself and making sure that you can continue to do the work that God has called you to do. 

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.

Feb

14

2017

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Taking Risks in Leadership

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!

Meg Brown

Meg started working camp in 2013 and joined the office team in 2016. She received her degree in Educational Ministry and Public Relations from Campbellsville University. She has served as a Bible Study leader, Assistant Director, and Camp Director. Meg leads in Track Times and Group Leader Information for camp 2017. In addition to camp, Meg loves playing tennis, reading books, and spending time outdoors.

Kids Ministry Resolutions for 2017

It is hard to believe that the holidays are over. This means Christmas decorations must be put away, back to busy schedules, and new years resolutions. Most folks make financial resolutions, health resolutions, and family resolutions for a new year, but why not start your ministry off with a fresh start towards kids ministry resolutions. Here are some ideas that we hope you find helpful to kicking off the new year right!

1.Invest in Volunteers.  As a leader, investing in your volunteers is as important as investing in your kids. This may sound crazy, but it is true. As one person, you can do only so much. A well trained and equipped volunteer multiplies what you can do, and a team of volunteers quadruples your multiplication efforts. To invest in them, start by getting to know your team of volunteers on a personal level. It is easy in the busyness of Sunday morning to take this group for granted. Make it a goal in 2017 to write a personal note to each of them thanking them for serving with you.  This simple step can launch a year of renewed engagement for your ministry team!

2. Meet the Parents. I know this one if challenging! In the craziness of kids getting dropped off and picked up sometimes we are lucky to just say hello and check their security tag. Meaningful communication doesn’t just happen. It is a choice you must be disciplined to make each time to get to interact with parents. This year take a shot at improving your communication with parents. This might be standing outside your classroom (without the clipboard in hand) and intentionally greeting every parent, putting together an email newsletter, or organizing a parent appreciation night just to love on them. The investment is worth it! Parents, like volunteers, have a huge impact on ministry because without their support, there aren’t any kids to minister to.

3. “Use your 60”. At CentriKid we believe in the power of every minute with kids, so we want to use every one of them! We believe that you can intentionally take each minute to deeply invest in a volunteer or a kid’s life. Think about what you can do if you take those “random” minutes to stop a leader in the hallway and call out something amazing you saw them do with a child in class last week. Think about what you can do if you take those last couple of minutes of the hour on Sunday to stop a parent on their way out the door and tell them how you saw the light bulb go off in their child’s mind today during worship. Think about what you can do if you take the first minute of each class to hug a child and tell them how thankful you are that they are here today. Think about what you can do if you take the “commute” minutes on the way to church each week to thank God for the ministry to get to serve in and the people he has placed around you to help change lives!

We are praying for you and believe in what you are doing! Let’s begin 2017 with a grateful heart knowing that each day we are impacting little lives for eternal purposes!  Take a moment now and jot down your 2017 Kids Ministry Resolutions!

Jeremy Echols

JE leads the camp team, finds new camp locations, plans training, and lots of other projects. He loves spending family time with his wife Emily and their daughter Madison.

Nov

14

2016

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Debriefing 101

We know that kids learn in different ways. Adults do too for that matter. Learning can happen for some by just hearing about a subject, for others they need to see the words or information being taught, and still others learn best through hands-on activities and experiences. Knowing this, it is important to take the time to debrief games that you play in your kids ministry. This will help those hands-on learners grasp in a more solid way the connection between everyday life and their relationship with Jesus.

What is a Debrief?

A debrief is a short time in which you gather the kids to explain how the activity and/or game connects to our relationship with Jesus. This is best done right after the activity is over so that is still fresh in their minds. Be sure to have a clear connection to Scripture. The best debriefs are planned out in order to ensure effectiveness and relativity. With no preparation you will be in a “wing it” type approach, mainly speaking from your own knowledge, perhaps with a weaker spiritual connection. With planning you can incorporate a more concrete connection which is important for kids, as well as Scripture to go with it. Nothing will be sure than the truth that is in God’s Word, so why not use it bountifully?

Tips for Debriefing

–Remove distractions (face the kids away from potential distractions: TVs, other kids playing games, windows they can see out of)
–Be one level removed (if the kids are sitting, you kneel; if they are kneeling, you stand)
–Use objects and personal stories (kids are concrete learners. So, applying spiritual concepts to concrete examples, like objects, helps create a strong connection in the mind of a child)
–Root it in Scripture (read from the Bible… that helps them know it is truth from the Word)
–Make eye contact (if you are outside, remove sunglasses)

Debriefing activities can be some of the most powerful and effective times of learning for those kids who learn best with a hands-on, concrete example type of learning.

Vincent Thomas

Vincent started working camp in 2012 and joined the office team in 2015. He received his degree from Peidmont College in Georgia. Vincent has served as a Bible Study leader, Recreation Leader, and a Camp Director. Vincent oversees all things Recreation which your kids will experience at camp this summer. In addition to CentriKid, Vincent helps develop the ETCH Conference and VBS Preview Events.

Leading the Next Generation

Leading the Next Generation is all about investing in the leaders of the next generation.  To lead them well, we must invest in their future.  This investment will have ministry benefits for you right away, but also shape the trajectory of a young leader in ways that can benefit the future of this ministry and kingdom work for the future.  It is about them … Young leaders require energy… But they give a type of energy also… Working with them helps keep you younger, but the focus is on them.
This summer at CentriKid Camps, we asked some intentional questions about using teens and college workers in your kids programs.  We asked:
  • Do you have teens and college workers in your kids program?
  • What wins have you experienced with them in your ministry?
  • How have you seen them be successful?
  • What challenges do you encounter with them?
We had some great feedback and I’ve collected all those discussions and ideas in this “mind map” document.  Click the image to open and download the full-size version.

2016_centrikid_discussion_with_leaders

Leading the next generation could mean plugging in teens to work in your kids ministry or it could mean that you are preparing to hire a college student as an intern.  In any case, these principles can help make the investment beneficial for next month and the next decades of kingdom work.  Your intentional investment can last long after the time you have with these young leaders.
Acclimate them to your team.  Don’t just take whoever shows up and throw them in to ministry.  Implement a selection process and train workers on your team. In some cases, you may not be interviewing for a full-time position but you are looking to fill a specific role.  Take the time to have a conversation about what the role entails and the expectations are.  The level of formality for this conversation needs to fit the role.  After selection, train you leaders for the skills and for the culture you want your team to have.
Develop their competency.  Helping young leaders grow their skill set through practical experience is amplified when you provide them with feedback along the way.  We use a reading plan with our CentriKid office team and after serving as a summer staffer or office team member, I hope that young leaders catch the vision for being a life-long learner.
Expose them to new concepts.  New team members need a behind-the-scenes tour.  Young leaders who have potential for growth need to be exposed to working within a budget, professionalism, and excellence.  You can help them develop an understanding of the balance between ministry training and business principles.  They need to learn about evaluation, making tough decisions, and serving behind the scenes before moving to a new setting with greater responsibilities.
Propel them forward to their next steps in the journey.  When leading the next generation, keep in mind that they are with you for a season, but will continue in kingdom work long after they serve in your ministry.  Encourage them, keep the lines of communication open, and you can even continue to coach them (when they ask!).  The baby bird only flies when it leaves the nest, so prepare, train and then equip them to move on to new things God has for their journey.
This post is adapted from the breakout session I led at the ETCH Conference in Nashville.  If you were unable to attend the 2016 ETCH Conference, you can still purchase the ETCH16 digital pass that contains all the Main Session speakers and audio from each Breakout Session. [Available 10/21/16]

Jeremy Echols

JE leads the camp team, finds new camp locations, plans training, and lots of other projects. He loves spending family time with his wife Emily and their daughter Madison.

Staying Focused During the Summer

Staying focused during the summer in kids ministry can be difficult. With warm weather, no school, sports, camps and everything else crammed into June and July, summer can be crazy and hectic. Your kids ministry attendance might be lower than normal. For the kidmin leaders, it can be a distracting time as well, or might seem like a less important time since less kids are there each week. I encourage you to do two things:

Encourage kids and parents to prioritize Jesus over any sport, practice, or activity. 

In today’s world, sports and extra-curricular activities are highly esteemed. Which means that parents tend to encourage their kids to do every sport, dance class, or program, and end up having some type of practice or game every single day of the week. For many, this means sacrificing time spent at church learning about Jesus, or even time spent at home in personal, or family, Bible study. Encourage parents and kids to seek out Jesus above all things and to make Him the number one priority in their lives. Reach out to parents through social media, phone calls, or even emails with a challenge to finish out the summer with a new priority on having their kid involved in the kids ministry at church.

Encourage yourself to prioritize Jesus and not check-out. 

It can be just as easy for you to take your mind off the throttle during the summer and coast through it. Constantly remind yourself that the summer season is just as important as any other season. With great times for outreach during the summer, it isn’t a time you want to just slide by. Be intentional, plan out the summer, and engage kids in a whole new way to make them want to come back and learn more about having a relationship with Jesus. Summer can be a more carefree time, but the eternal urgency for the kids is still present during the summer as much as it is during the school year.

Stay focused this summer, and keep pointing kids and their parents toward Jesus. What are some tips and tricks you use to keep your parents, kids, kids ministry, and yourself focused during the summer? 

Vincent Thomas

Vincent started working camp in 2012 and joined the office team in 2015. He received his degree from Peidmont College in Georgia. Vincent has served as a Bible Study leader, Recreation Leader, and a Camp Director. Vincent oversees all things Recreation which your kids will experience at camp this summer. In addition to CentriKid, Vincent helps develop the ETCH Conference and VBS Preview Events.

Jun

20

2016

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Preview Bible Studies for Life: Kids

As you may know, CentriKid is a part of LifeWay Kids. LifeWay Kids provides amazing, solid curriculum for your leaders as you disciple your kids week to week. Bible Studies For Life: Kids connects God’s Word to kids’ lives in an intentional way. You can help kids learn and grow in their faith by leading them to study God’s Word and how it applies to their lives.

bsfl

You can preview Bible Studies for Life for free, and see the lessons and all the resources available including music, games to review lessons, Activity Pages, teaching pictures, hands-on activities, videos, and even an app. There is now an additional worship hour resource to accompany each Bible Studies for Life lesson.

Preview the lessons for free, and contact us if we can help you get started with Bible Studies for Life.

Jeremy Echols

JE leads the camp team, finds new camp locations, plans training, and lots of other projects. He loves spending family time with his wife Emily and their daughter Madison.

How to Point Everything Back to Scripture

At CentriKid one of our main promises to the churches who come is that we will always root everything in Scripture. We believe it is important to tie everything back to God’s Word because there is no better place to turn. From Recreation and Bible Study in the morning to Track Times and Worship in the afternoon and evening, everything we do at CentriKid truly points campers back to the gospel and Scripture. We strive to give our activities a purpose, instead of just creating time fillers or fun things to do.Your kids ministry should seek to do this as well.

Plan it out
The best way to make sure you connect all activities back to Scripture is to plan for it. Plan to relate each activity to our relationship with God. In your preparation, whether it be for a regular Sunday morning or once a year event, schedule time to relate the activities you are doing to the Bible, and plan exactly how you will make the connection. This is an active, practical step to making sure you fit it in smoothly and without forcing it. One of our favorite ways to do this at CentriKid is to “debrief” the activity/game.

Debriefing
A “debrief” is a time where we bring the kids together to explain how the activity/game relates back to the Bible and our relationship with Jesus. Here are some tips for debriefing:
–Remove distractions (face the kids away from potential distractions: TVs, other kids playing games, windows they can see out of)
–Be one level removed (if the kids are sitting, you kneel; if they are kneeling, you stand)
–Use objects and personal stories (kids are concrete learners. So, applying spiritual concepts to concrete examples, like objects, helps create a strong connection in the mind of a child)
–Root it in Scripture (read from the Bible… that helps them know it is truth from the Word)
–Make eye contact (if you are outside, remove sunglasses)

I fully believe that fun games and the Bible can go hand-in-hand. So this week, plan out how you are going to relate each of your activities back to the gospel and God’s Word.

Vincent Thomas

Vincent started working camp in 2012 and joined the office team in 2015. He received his degree from Peidmont College in Georgia. Vincent has served as a Bible Study leader, Recreation Leader, and a Camp Director. Vincent oversees all things Recreation which your kids will experience at camp this summer. In addition to CentriKid, Vincent helps develop the ETCH Conference and VBS Preview Events.

Preventing Boredom in Ministry

When you begin a new role in ministry, you are sometimes just trying to keep your head above water, and you think that you could never be bored. However, after you finally have your feet under you, and you have everything running like a well oiled machine, you may have an unfamiliar sense: BOREDOM. Let’s look at three methods that can help as you continue preventing boredom in your ministry.

EVALUATE

One of the first instincts that you can have when you settle into boredom is to change things up. Change for the sake of change is never the right answer. If you are feeling bored with what you are currently doing, this is a great time to step back and evaluate the programs in your ministry. Are your programs  lining up with the mission of the church and your ministry? Is your team working toward that mission? When boredom settles in, this is the perfect time to step back and evaluate the correlation between your mission and your programs.

 INVEST

When things are incredibly busy one of the first things to be put on the back burner is relationships. Instead of giving in to boredom, take a look around and see what relationships you can begin to invest in more. See if there are parents or volunteers that you can meet for coffee. Not only can you get to know the people in your ministry better, but they can get to know you better. A laugh between friends is the best cure for boredom.

GROW

Another way to fight boredom is to focus on your own personal spiritual growth. What are you reading? What is challenging you? You should always be striving towards a goal. Currently the CentriKid office team is going through the book “Spiritual Leadership” by J. Oswald Sanders. This book has really been challenging me as a leader and a Christian. Intentionally take the time to stimulate your mind and find motivation outside of normal everyday tasks. Intentional growth will help keep things fresh for you!

Boredom is something that always seems to creep into our routines from time-to-time, but it doesn’t have to stay for long. By evaluating your ministry, investing on relationships, and focusing on your own spiritual growth, you can give boredom the boot and continue to passionately make the message of the gospel clear to the kids and adults in your ministry.

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.

The Role of Kids Ministers in Spiritual Formation

There are so many roles parents pay “specialists” to fill outside the home. Things like music lessons, sports training, and after-school tutoring – but there is also a tendency for this mindset to apply to spiritual growth and discipleship too. Many kids ministry leaders that I’ve spoken to this past summer have expressed how they feel the expectation to handle the spiritual formation of kids while they are at church.

The role of kids ministers in spiritual formation at the church is important, but discipleship happens best when parents lead spiritually.

Parents need to hear this … yes. But kids ministry leaders cannot just sit back, fold their arms, and bemoan the fact that parents aren’t getting the memo. Church leaders have to understand and identify their function in spiritual formation of kids under their care.

3 Roles of Kids Ministers in Spiritual Formation

  1. stand-in — You must sometimes stand in the gap to fill that role for kids with no home support. In every community there are broken families and unreached families. The way to reach these families may be through your role of spiritual investment in the kids, who will go home and talk with mom & dad about what they are learning.
  2. cheerleader — There are families who may be under your care who excel at discipling their kids. Find every opportunity to encourage them for choosing to talk about the things of God with their children, and you may even see ways to partner them with other young parents who are hungry to grow in spiritual leadership with their kids. These families deserve your encouragement and affirmation, but you can still be available to them as a resource for conversations they are having with their children.
  3. catalyst — Most often, I believe you’ll encounter families with a general idea that they should be doing something at home, but lack the vision, drive, or discipline to do it. These families are in danger, and they need your influence to help spur them towards spiritual growth. They are at risk of raising “cultural christians” instead of disciples. Don’t get discouraged – they won’t always “get it.” But seek out new ways to encourage and challenge them to lead their kids with an investment of their hearts, their words, and their time at home.

The role of kids ministers in spiritual formation cannot be overstated … you have been called by the Lord to shepherd families in your community. Know that shepherding different ones will look differently -but all of these families can benefit from your time and investment.

Jeremy Echols

JE leads the camp team, finds new camp locations, plans training, and lots of other projects. He loves spending family time with his wife Emily and their daughter Madison.