You are constantly fighting for the attention of the kids at church. We live in a world saturated with entertainment, where even on the short drive to church there is probably a video game in the hands of every kid under 13. So, how do you compete? Some choose to say they won’t compete and some throw every gaming system and slang acronym at kids, entertaining them, but missing out on solid teaching.
If you fall somewhere in the middle – wanting kids to be engaged and get quality Biblical content that supersedes just having fun and being entertained – you are not alone.
Here are some practical ways to keep the attention of kids at your church that we use at CentriKid Camps:
1. Keep segments short. A kid’s attention span is normally about as long (in minutes) as their age.
2. Keep them moving. Don’t let them sit in the same chair the whole hour. Have them up and moving around the room. Take them on a journey if you are talking about Paul’s journeys or tape a whale on the floor for them to sit in if you are talking about Jonah.
3. Don’t waste game time. Games can be a great way to tie in spiritual content for kinesthetic learners. Connect games to stories principles that you are teaching.
4. Vary activities each week. Keep kids guessing about what is coming next. This takes planning and preparation, but has a huge pay-off.
5. Make it apparent that you care. Kids think video games are great, but kids will know when you genuinely care… and that makes all the difference.
If you haven’t heard about LifeWay’s Kids Ministry Conference yet, you’re missing out!
Join us for three exciting days that will help unlock your potential as a kids’ minister. Experience worship with Travis Cottrell. Hear from Coach Tommy Bowden, pastor Tony Merida, sought-after Bible teacher and speaker Lisa Harper, ministry expert Doug Fields, pastor Clayton King, and former football player and Big Oak Ranch founder John Croyle. Learn first-hand from DayStar Ministry counselors, Melissa Trevathan, Sissy Goff, and Dave Thomas. Explore current topics and trends in kid’s ministry, and soak up the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains while your mind and spirit recharge. You’ll go home refreshed, refocused, and ready to take your kids’ ministry to the max. With over 40 breakout sessions to choose from, there’s something for everyone!
Pull out that calendar and mark out October 8-10 for Kids Ministry Conference–register now!
We’ve had a lot of questions from folks who attended CentriKid Camps this summer and saw this video:
The mystery will be revealed this fall at Ridgecrest during the KMC conference. See more details about the conference line-up online at www.lifeway.com/kmc
During my many summers at camp, I’ve learned a lot about the importance of strong communication. Team members really want to know what’s going on, what’s expected of them, and how things are going. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way.
What you talk about is what they will find important. Think about recent conversations you’ve had with your team. Did you talk about details? Big picture? Only negatives? The team will place importance on what you communicate most, so keep the main thing the main thing.
Cast Vision Early and Often. You can’t say it once a year and expect it to stick. Where are we going? What’s the goal? Remind your team of this over and over and over. It’s equally important to remember that it’ll be tough to succeed if you never cast vision in the beginning — you’ll always be catching up. Cast vision early, and re-cast it often.
Over-Communicate. Just when you sense you’ve said something too much, you are likely just beginning to get to a point where team members get it. Not everyone is an auditory learner. It helps to say it to the group, but maybe send a follow-up text and perhaps also write it down where everyone can see it. At camp, we talk through the schedule of events and also post the schedule on a large poster where team members can see it many times a day.
Celebrate the victories by communicating them. With a team, not everyone always knows what’s happening. Communicate the victories to everyone, even if they are not directly involved. “We had 15 first-time visitors today!” is great for all leaders to hear, even if some had no visitors in their class. Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated. Highlight.
Praise in public, correct in private. When you see team members succeeding, talk about it. Behavior that’s rewarded will be repeated, so highlight the things you want to see in team members. In contrast, approach team members in private when they’ve done something wrong or need correcting. No one likes to be called out in front of the whole team, and team members will appreciate you approaching them in private.
Meredith Teasley loves to talk and write about leadership, and is thankful for the “leadership lab” provided by CentriKid Camps. She’s learned the hard way that communication can make or break a team, and wants to help you succeed with your team by leading well and communicating well!
Whether you are a parent, teacher, minister, small group leader, or just a friend to a child, there are exciting times to be had when you share a meal with them.
I recall my days in middle & high school when our Campus Life leader would come to visit at school. I hoped he would talk to me, sit by me, and affirm my worth in front of my peers. Maybe he would speak to my friends about Jesus in a way that I could not. His presence would break up the routine of the day-to-day lunch rush in the school cafeteria. He was just there to build relationships.
So I asked myself as an adult, how could I show these children they were important and deserved special attention? Their friends were worth meeting, and they had something to share. How could we make it fun? How could I make it memorable?
For five years I had the privilege of going to 32 Elementary schools and home school gatherings to enjoy a meal with kids from our church. Every Tuesday & Thursday I went to a different school and sat in a cafeteria from about 10:45am-1:00pm, moving around the room to visit with our kids. I listen, ask questions, and use my presence as an opportunity to help the child be bold to share their faith.
You can learn a lot about your children over pizza and tater-tots. It allowed me to poke around into a child’s spiritual life, home life, or listen for clues to what or who is important to this child. When bigger issues arose and I was needed as a minster to help them with tough times or celebrate with their decisions, we had already built some rapport.
Use personal touches to help break the ice. I rode my motorcycle to visit them. I wore my leather biker jacket and boots and brought in my helmet. This always started some kind of conversation. I brought my digital camera and obtained prior permission from the parents to visit their child and take their picture. At the end of each month, I would print out each picture of a child with me and mail it to them. Each photo said “Thanks for having lunch with Mr. Shane.”
Something amazing happens when you can be a little silly and have some fun with a kid over a meal. I still have many good relationships with those kids who are now serving with me in ministry that are High School, College, and young adults. Relationships over a meal can go farther than I ever dreamed.
This is a guest post from Shane Pass, Minister to Children, at Clearview Baptist Church in Franklin, TN. Shane is a great friend of CentriKid Camps! To connect with Shane, visit his blog HERE.
From all of us here in the CentriKid Office, we pray that God did big things among your group at camp this summer! We hope that each individual you brought to camp had a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ. That is our goal and focus. We firmly believe that life-changing experience with Christ happens best through the context of relationships.
One of these relationships we are blessed to have is with Jeff Slaughter. As many of you already know, Jeff is going through a lot of transition in his life and the Lord is calling him in new directions and opening up many new ministry opportunities. These new opportunities have led Jeff to make a difficult decision to not return to CentriKid in 2013. Jeff has been a valuable part of our CentriKid Camps team as he has led worship for the better part of 10 years. It has been an absolute privilege to watch the Lord work through Jeff Slaughter as he has led thousands of kids to worship God with some of his classics including “We Believe” and “It’s All True.” No one can ever forget laughing and dancing to songs like “Humpty Dumpty,” and waking up to “I Can’t Wait” each day at camp.
As Jeff embarks on his new journey, we want to celebrate all that God has done and will continue to do in his life. We are saddened that he is not returning to camp in 2013, but we honor Jeff’s commitment to the Lord’s direction, and will be praying for him as he moves into these new ministry opportunities. Jeff will be missed, but we will continue to keep the focus of camp on sharing Christ and investing in the lives of your kids.
This summer was full of amazing memories! We saw so many great things take place as we studied about how to live a transformed life! We are looking forward to all God has in store next summer as we go “Out of This World…where God is always with us!”
CentriKid Camps | The Nashville Office
William Summey is Project Leader of ParentLife magazine and loves to watch baseball with his boys, ages 8 and 13. Check out the ParentLife blog and get regular updates on the ParentLife Facebook page or from Twitter – @ParentLife.
When approaching your work, do you create a “who” list or a “to do” list? We are all wired to fit somewhere on the spectrum of “task-focused” to “relationship-focused.” Most folks I know are pretty good at both, but have a tendency to lean one way or the other.
My gifting and the way God has wired me is to be task-focused so a to-do list is where I work. I’ve got friends who start their week with a list (either mentally or sometimes written) of people to connect with rather than tasks to accomplish.
The key to success no matter your wiring or tendency is balance. Here are six practical tips for balancing results and relationships:
To be more task-focused:
To be more relationship-focused:
Share other ideas with us on the CentriKid Facebook page about how you balance your responsibilities at home and at work.
I’m a new volunteer. You coerced me to come help out, or one of my friends convinced me, or maybe I just felt the Lord leading to work in children’s ministry. Either way, I’m new. I don’t know what I’m doing. What do I need? Here are a few things that come to mind…
Direction. Tell me what to do. Help me understand my role. Give me clear directions and show me what SUCCESS looks like in this ministry.
Inspiration. Cast a big vision for me. Remind me of the work the Lord is doing in our kids ministry. Show me evidence of the need for workers in our church. What I’m doing makes a difference, and I need YOU to remind me of that!
Encouragement and Prayer. Let me know you care. Show me that you really do pray for me. Write me a note. Say “Thanks” as often as you can. Let me know you see my efforts and appreciate having folks like me volunteering to help kids know and love Jesus. Allow me to share when things are not going well, and let me know you really are praying for those kids who are struggling in my group!
Feedback. Am I doing a good job? Tell me. Are there areas where I really need to improve? Let me know. If you’ve encouraged me and shown you care, then feedback is just what I need. Remember I’m not perfect but help me to stay on track with where you are leading our team.
A Challenge. Allow me to grow! Give me something new to tackle, especially after I’ve proven that I’m up for the task. Don’t give me Mt. Everest to climb, but a small hill leading to a small victory will help me grow in my service and leadership.
If you are a my leader, help me. Appreciate me. Encourage and pray for me. Most of all, lead me. Set an example and keep me focused on the big picture, the end goal. What else to new volunteers need? Comment and add your thoughts!
Before joining the CK Team, Meredith Teasley led a team of 100+ volunteers as a #kidmin in a local church. She writers from her own mistakes and challenges working with lots of new volunteers. Now, Meredith and her husband Nic love serving in the reverse role – volunteering with 3rd-6th graders in their Nashville church.