Archive for August, 2011





Life Change is not Just for Campers

Life change happens best through the context of relationships. This is a phrase that we believe very strongly at CentriKid Camps. We talk about it, we encourage it, and we believe it.

During the summer, CentriKid teams build relationships with their team, campers, and adults. But connections are also built with college campuses and conference centers just by being there for a few weeks. I had the privilege of hearing this story from our site contact, Brian, while we were serving at the Georgia Baptist Convention in Norman Park this summer. Brian writes…

“There are times when we don’t understand the impact that you have on individuals as you go about life. This past summer our conference center hosted CentriKid Camps the last 3 weeks of July.  Our folks really look forward to them being here. These college students who staff Centri-Kid are truly amazing. They arrive on Sunday and for the next 3 weeks literally don’t stop. This past summer one of our temporary help had the privilege of experiencing it firsthand.  Angel had been with us since June and had experienced other camps and their staff. One day she asked me, ‘Mr. Brian, why are they different?’  

I said, ‘Angel, what do you mean?’

 She said, ‘The CK staff: they are different, so friendly and willing to talk.’

I said, ‘Well they are Christians and love the Lord and that in turn allows them to have joy.’ She gave me a kind of ‘deer in the headlights’ look.

I said, ‘Angel, they love Jesus and Jesus loves them.’ Her response was amazing.

She said, ‘Mr. Brian, I want what they have.’

 I said, ‘Angel, are you a Christian?’ and she said, ‘no.’

‘Would you like to be?’

On July 22nd, I had the privilege of leading Angel to the Lord.  I received this privilege because of the kind of staff that CentriKid hires.  I am grateful for their walk and I know that Angel may never see these guys or girls again, but I know this she is eternally grateful.”

The ministry of CentriKid goes far beyond campers and adults; it reaches into the community, as well. Think about the impact your own ministry has on every person you interact with.  What is your ministry doing to reach folks beyond your church walls?

Jessica Herrell

Jessica is a Maryville College grad with a Physical Ed and Health degree, and has worked at camp since 2009. Jessica joined our office team as the department intern in August 2011.





Sneak Peek of CentriKid 2012

Our office team just returned from Eval Week … and while every detail isn’t ironed out for camp next year, we made progress on some fun new changes.  Here are a few of the changes you can expect at CentriKid in 2012!

– Group Leader Information is being revised and updated …so many church leaders and parents talked about how helpful it was, and we are adding more specifics to make it more effective as you prepare for camp.  The parent page will be a better resource for parents to prepare their kids for camp and to follow-up on the spiritual aspect of camp too.

– The evening schedule will be like the new Thursday schedule from this year.  Each night will begin with the Party, then Worship, then open-ended Church Group Time.  The energy and excitement will start big and get more focused as the night continues.  This change really helps at locations where the church group rooms are kinda far away.

6th grade hang-out is getting a new look.  We got a lot of great feedback about some needed improvements.  This will be a cool way to commemorate the last CentriKid experience for 6th graders.

– we are working on all-new arrangements of worship songs that will be used at camp and available to download too! There will even be a couple of brand new songs you will learn at CentriKid.

– Paca the Pinata will not be joining us next year at camp, but we’ve got new friends who are coming that you are going to absolutely love … tune in to along the way to get the first glance of production elements before camp!

– Another popular request from kids … every camper gets to take home a puppy.  Just kidding… that one is just to keep you on your toes.

We got so many great ideas from group leaders this summer as we chatted with them every week of the summer.  I know that if you are a group leader, you are likely to see changes happen that were suggested in your listening session!

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.





GAME IDEA: Back to School OMC

BACK TO SCHOOL!!!  We can’t believe it’s already here. While we hate to see summer go, we’ve made a way for you to enjoy the fun of OMC all year long. This time around, we’ve created some fun back-to-school tasks that you can use when you play the game at your back-to-school event.

Download and print the Back-to-School OMC Instructions and Tasks. Make several copies of each task. Add those to your Official OMC Game, and gather supplies listed on the instructions page.

Setup your No Fly Zone, stations (if you are using them), playing area, and any extra props or decorations.

Invite kids to come, and enjoy this new edition of OMC! In the instructions, we also provide an options for kids to dress up in fun clothes for the big event. 

Visit our OMC Page for even more great OMC ideas… and we always want to see and hear your success stories from our special edition OMC games!

Meredith Teasley

Meredith studied at Samford University and Beeson Divinity School. She worked camp for 8 years, then served in full-time children's ministry in Virginia before joining our team in January 2009.

A Change of Style

Leadership can look incredibly different from group to group. It even looks different on the outside than it does on the inside. A group or a team can appear to have it all together while in all actuality, things are unsteady. This is where leadership comes into play. Not just great leadership, but leadership that is tailored to the personality of the group.  One leadership style isn’t going to fit every group. Leaders have to adapt their style to reach every member. This individualized leadership may not be present from the beginning. Instead, it usually has to be acquired, often through trial-and-error.

I had to learn to adapt my own leadership while directing a CentriKid team. It was a challenge. I had to balance running a great camp while growing and maintaining relationships with staff, location contacts, and church leaders.  My personality is to work hard and focus on the details (sometimes being a little too focused). I had to modify and soften my leadership approach to lead a group of 30 young adults. I had to focus on relationships first, and then cast my overall vision of success and attention to detail. I had to invest. Why? Because the team wouldn’t follow unless they knew my heart and my love for camp, for them, and ultimately for Christ.

Is this not true for most any group or team you lead? The team members have to know the leader values them as a person, but also as an integral part of the team. Trust me, I don’t have this all figured out, but one of my goals is to continue becoming a more balanced leader—a leader who encourages individuals to use their particular gifts and talents to work toward the goal and vision of the group.

So, are you willing to modify your leadership style to help reach your team more effectively?

Jessica Herrell

Jessica is a Maryville College grad with a Physical Ed and Health degree, and has worked at camp since 2009. Jessica joined our office team as the department intern in August 2011.





Life Change

One of my favorite parts of camp is really seeing the life change that is brought about by the work of the Holy Spirit. I think I love it so much because it always points to Jesus. There is no way that we could have been the cause of the change. I had a Children’s Minister tell me this story while I was at camp this summer about a kid who had struggled with connecting and I would love to share it with you!


 “The first night he just sat there like a bump on a log. He didn’t make a motion in any song or sing one word. He didn’t even open his Bible. The next morning I found myself with this child to start the day. He and I worked through his quiet time together. He was resistant and ready to be done with it ASAP. 

Here is the part that I don’t know…I don’t know what the Holy Spirit did next, and haven’t been able to put it together yet. What I do know is the Holy Spirit moved in a mighty way! 

The 2nd night of worship he began to open up just a little bit more. He did a few motions every now and then and he stood up when the rest of camp stood up. From this point on, it was like he was a different kid, and he only behaved better and better. As long as he knew what was happening next (and he did thanks to his nametag/schedule), he would excel.

The 3rd day he was talking my ear off and asking all kinds of questions during quiet time. I literally sat down with one of our leaders who had been with this kid for years and cried because no one recognized this kid anymore. He was constantly smiling and talking with kids. He was playing, which I have rarely seen him do. He was asking more questions.

By the end of the week, our leaders and I had a running joke. We would be constantly saying, “who is that kid?” We would always be asking each other, “are you sure he is a part of our group or did we accidentally pick another kid up along the way?” He began to just read the Bible on his own, and ask us tons of questions. On the trip home, he pretty much read most of Genesis.

Here is what I attribute this change to: the relationships made at camp (CK staffers, other kids, and our leadership), a safe, fun, and worshipful environment, and most importantly the work of the Holy Spirit. 

The unfortunate part of this story is I can’t tell every single detail of it, and the words don’t exactly express the emotions behind them; however, I can say he didn’t revert back to the same kid once we came home. That may speak louder than any words I can write.”


Please let this story be an encouragement to you as you are ministering to kids and even adults. There is no one too hard for God to work in and through!

Jen Hall

Jen graduated from Morehead State University, and has worked at CentriKid Camps since 2007.





In Case You Missed It…

Picture Credit: Proto-Knowledge BlogConfession: I was a leader frustrated by questions. I wasn’t frustrated by just any question, but specifically the ones directly following a staff meeting that I had JUST answered.

Have you ever been there? If there were others in the room the questions were probably met with loud sighs and restlessness. It’s some kind of weird social taboo to ask someone to repeat what they just said or to ask a lot of questions.

Thankfully, I learned two summers ago that questions are not a bad thing. Questions come because the person you are leading wants to do a great job. Questions come because they want you to clarify. Questions come because they were processing the other things you were saying and just accidentally missed something. I’m now a leader encouraged by questions.

Overcommunication with a staff you are leading is key. This doesn’t mean repetition for repetition’s sake, but keeping a proverbial finger on the pulse of those you are leading. Are they exhausted in the moment that you are speaking? Your last few sentences may be worth revisiting. The things that you cover the most are the things that the team of people you lead will take with them forever. Sure, my team of 29 from this summer laugh about some of the catch phrases that I use frequently, but I know they also took home a vision of presenting the Gospel in clarity… and something like that is worth repeating… just in case someone missed it.



Mary Carlisle serves on the CentriKid interview team, and recruiting is one of her favorite projects during the year. Each summer, Mary leads a number of staff members she has interviewed as she serves as Camp Director for the CK3 team at Millsaps College. Learn how you, too, can apply for camp staff. Follow Mary on twitter.

Mary Carlisle

Mary is a University of Mobile grad, with a BA in English and Theology. She worked with CentriKid Camp starting as a staffer in 2007 and began working in the camp office in 2010. She joined the VBS team in November of 2012.

Come hang out with us at Kids Ministry Conference!

In just two short months, we’ll be hosting LifeWay’s Kids Ministry Conference here in Nashville. All of our CentriKid office team will be there and we want you to come as well! In fact, here are 10 reasons we think you should come…

1. You are in ministry. Your role is important. We want you to be fed, inspired, trained, and equipped.

2. The CentriKid team will be there… what more could you want?!?!

3. It’s Nashville. Enough said.

4. The Duggar family is coming…all of them!

5. You can walk away with tons of free stuff from the exhibit hall.

6. We have over 50 workshop options, with topics including everything from preschool to preteens to special needs ministry, theology for kids, and even practical games you can use back home.

7. Come to CentriKid 2012 for free if you come to the conference.

8. Meet new friends who are also in ministry and working through similar struggles.

9. In addition to free stuff, you can advantage of incredible resources in our exhibit hall.

10. Worship with church group leaders from all over the country, leave inspired for this next year of ministry, and walk away with tons of creative ideas for your ministry.

In case those reasons aren’t enough, here are more details about the conference:

LifeWay’s Kids Ministry Conference

Dates: October 10-12, 2011 (Monday – Wednesday)

Location: Nashville, TN: LifeWay Christian Resources

Schedule: Available here.

Speakers: Ed Stetzer (Speaker) , Dave Hunt (Worship Leader) , The Duggars (Speakers) , Jon Acuff (Speaker) , Michael Kelley (Speaker) , Pete Wilson (Speaker) , Angie Smith (Speaker) , Michael O’Brien (Musical Guest)

Meredith Teasley

Meredith studied at Samford University and Beeson Divinity School. She worked camp for 8 years, then served in full-time children's ministry in Virginia before joining our team in January 2009.


Every summer of camp is different. Even if you are placed on the same team with the same camp locations, every summer will be different. Why? Because of the people. Because of the relationships.

Relationships and the people you serve with make camp so much fun. But on the other hand, those same relationships can make camp very much a challenge. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Being challenged is what makes you a better individual. I’ve seen both of these scenarios play out. I’ve been a part of camp teams that placed little value on investing in other people. And you know what? That team had a good summer. God used them in big ways and kids came to know Christ as their personal Savior. What more can you ask for?! Well….I think a lot!

You miss out on so many opportunities when you decide not to invest. How do you think Jesus Christ approached His ministry? Did He merely just try to reach those along his path and not go out of His way? Absolutely not! Jesus took the time to invest, to go out of his way, to truly minister to those who needed Him.

Camp gives us a tangible opportunity to be like Christ in that way. But when you think about it, your job, your hobbies, your marriage, your friends…those are all tangible opportunities to do the same. We just have to decide whether or not we are going to invest in others. Not just those we connect with, not just those people whom we share common interests, but ALL those who Christ has purposefully placed around us.

When you decide you are going to love people for who they are, have a geniune heart to see other people succeed, and love helping people, you will in turn be blessed beyond imagine. God wants to use you in the lives of other people. You just have to say yes and INVEST!

Andy Dukes

Andy serves as Event Coordinator for LifeWay Kids. He graduated from Murray State University in Kentucky. He served on summer staff (Crosspoint & CentriKid) for 7 summers and moved full-time at LifeWay in 2008. Andy's wife, Meghan, is a 2nd grade teacher and they attend Redeemer Church in Hendersonville, TN where he serves both on the worship team and also as a community group leader.

Fresh Perspective on Marriage

I saw a Twitter post and had a conversation with Jillian Abraham, a CentriKid staffer who is studying at SEBTS.   Her journey is similar to many…her parents were divorced, mom remarried, and Jillian has really been wrestling with what marriage would look like for her. God is working in her life and recently brought a simple story across her path that inspired this blog post. Here are a couple of excerpts from this seminary student’s perspective on marriage. She inspired and challenged me:

Since I’ve been back from camp, I’ve been working at my dad’s office to earn some money (seminary isn’t exactly where you go to “roll in the dough”). The other day, one of the nurses brought a sheet of paper back and posted it on the wall. A patient had been asked to take a test to see if he had symptoms of Alzheimer’s. They asked him to write a sentence, ANY sentence on a sheet of paper. Here is what he wrote:

Okay, so I’ve never been married before. But I love what I believe God has intended marriage to be: a picture of his relationship with us.

That’s love. Sacrificial. Unbelievable. And centered around Christ’s glory. If we could understand that, I bet our marriages would last. I only hope to one day to be in a covenant marriage just like the elderly patient of my Dad’s. To one day be eighty years old and still confidently say, “I love my husband.” What’s more, we understand that Christ loves us the same way. Yet his love is even stronger. It is even purer. And it lasts beyond time. He smiles and says, “I love my child.”

Take a moment to read Jillian’s entire blog post here.


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!





Update from Eval Week

Each year at the end of the summer, we take time away to really evaluate our ministry at camp. We look back and celebrate what the Lord has done, but we also look forward and continue planning for future ministry at camp. Right now, we are are in the middle of our evaluation week (or “Eval Week” in camp lingo). Here’s a small sneak peak at what we are doing…

This year, Eval Week is designed with these purposes in mind:

  • Celebrate what God did at camp!  We compile the different stats we track through the summer, from missions offering to decisions for Christ to total number of kids who had a chance to hear the gospel at camp.  Decisions for Christ isn’t just a “stat” but without tracking it through the summer we wouldn’t know that there were over 1,500 spiritual-related decisions at camp in 2010 and I expect this year’s results will blow us away too!
  • Reconnect as an office team.  Relationship is an important part of our ministry at camp and it is also a important for the office.  Eval week is our first “event” after the summer and also it is when the new interns join the team. This year we are excited that co-workers from our production team and marketing team are joining us. These are important parternships for the work we do, but also just great friends.
  • Put punctuation on 2011.  Each year of camp is a cycle and this is our time to put the final punctuation on CentriKid 2011, Shipwreck Island.
  • Gather input and make decisions.  We take input from church leaders who share feedback through listening sessions at camp and by completing the online post-camp survey, and we also gather ideas from camp staff and the office team.
  • Kick-off CentriKid 2012.  Lots of to-do lists and projects will be developed at Eval Week.  This gives structure to our work and guides our planning.  Although lots of things are already in the works, it is officially “full speed ahead” on 2012 when we get back from Eval Week.

Our biggest goal is to have conversations about the work and ministry of camp that will help to shape the future of CentriKid.  We are always looking for ways to serve churches well and to make camp an even more effective tool for churches to connect with the kids in their children’s ministry.

You can support us by lifting up the CentriKid office team this week – we value the prayer support of all those who care about the ministry we are a part of.

Meredith Teasley

Meredith studied at Samford University and Beeson Divinity School. She worked camp for 8 years, then served in full-time children's ministry in Virginia before joining our team in January 2009.