Today we are so thankful for the gift of hope that Christ has given, and we pray that you have a truly wonderful Christmas.
Merry Christmas from CentriKid Camps, and Happy New Year!
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15
Every summer summer at CentriKid Camps we collect a missions offering. Half of the money supports global missions projects with the International Mission Board, and half helps support local projects with the North American Mission Board. In 2013, our local missions project was Graffiti 2 Ministries in New York.
Graffiti 2 Community Ministries seeks to Revitalize, Revive, and Revolutionize the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx and society by enabling individuals to develop physically, mentally (revitalization), emotionally, spiritually, and socially (revival) so that they may become servant-leaders within their families, community, and society (revolution). Originally the plantation home of Gouverneur Morris (penman of the preamble to the Constitution), Mott Haven has become notorious for the difficult urban situations which are faced daily by its residents.
Statistics identify a high density of children who
The money that you gave in 2013 is making a difference. Be sure to check out this video from Graffiti 2 as they say thanks for all your support.
VBS is one of the most effective evangelism tools in Kids Ministry, and it is also one of the most fun weeks of the summer! We hope that you are excited about VBS for 2014. In case you haven’t heard, the theme for LifeWay’s VBS this coming summer is Agency D3, and the curriculum has a “top secret” motif.
Agency D3 is focused on helping kids understand who Jesus is and how to defend the faith (apologetics). The motto is Discover, Decide, Defend, and the key verse is 1 Peter 3:15. The lessons for each day seek to answer the following questions:
You can learn more about the VBS curriculum and even hear the VBS theme music on LifeWay’s VBS website. If you are ready to start planning for VBS, check out this Jump Start Kit. It’s loaded with all the essential planning items that you need to get started, and it’s packed in a handy Agency D3 briefcase! Also on the website, be sure to check out the downloads page where you can access logos, clip art, and videos to help you promote VBS in your community.
What is the best way to learn more about the VBS curriculum? Attend one of LifeWay’s VBS Preview Events! At the event you will receive invaluable training, get ideas for creating decorations, and also gain access to exclusive Preview-only discounts, plus you will have a ton of fun. Preview events take place in Ridgecrest, NC (January 10-11), Ft. Worth, TX (January 17-18), Nashville, TN (January 30-31 / January 31-February 1 / February 1), and Kissimmee, FL (February 7-8, February 8).
Several folks from our office team, as well as other CentriKid staffers, will be at the VBS Events doing some top secret work “behind the scenes,” and we hope to see you there!
One of my favorite Christmas songs is “Count Your Blessings.” Bing Crosby made this song famous by singing it on White Christmas, and I particularly enjoy the version by the Ray Conniff Singers. I grew up listening to this song around Christmas, and there were even times when my mom or dad would sing this song to help me fall asleep. A few of the lyrics are below:
And when we’re worried and we can’t sleep
We’ll count our blessings instead of sheep
And we’ll fall asleep counting our blessings
And when our bank hold is getting small
We’ll think about the time when we had none at all
And we’ll fall asleep counting our blessings
As the song continues, the singers reflect on many of the true blessings in their lives such as family and friends.
This song is a special reminder for me to keep my focus on the important things in life. It also always makes me think about Matthew 6. Jesus teaches that we should not worry about what we will eat, drink, or wear; instead we should focus on the Kingdom of God: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:33-34, HCSB). Our focus should not be on Earthly things but on things that truly matter.
This Christmas, if you find yourself overwhelmed by the busyness and hectic nature of the season, take a moment to reflect on the blessings in your life. Last year I wrote about some of the true blessings in my life. Check out that post here. Comment below to share some of the true blessings in your life, too.
Here is a quick list of ideas to help you make the most of family time at Christmas.
Use your Christmas Cards. We hang our Christmas cards so we remember to think and pray for long-distance friends and family. The cards make great decorations in our dining room and kitchen. We love to check the mail each day and see the new cards.
Cook and Decorate Together. Everybody cooks and decorates to some degree during the holidays, so make fun memories (and messes) rather than letting the holiday cooking and decorating feel like a chore.
Give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. We’ve got a tradition of collecting coins through the year and donating to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering at Christmas. I’ve done this from when I was little, and now I’m sharing the tradition with my daughter as part of our family time at Christmas. Here’s a video of our family sorting the coins this year!
Plan Daily Activities. My wife had the idea this year of wrapping our Christmas books and movies so we could have a simple surprise activity each day of the month. The keys to success are to wrap up the items before the craziness begins, and know that you won’t get to every single day’s activity. Just go with it…sometimes we get too busy, but most nights we’ve enjoyed something fun from our goodie box.
Be Present. There are enough ballgames, holiday shows, and Christmas specials that your family could veg in front of the TV all winter. You don’t have to sell your TV, but it doesn’t hurt to turn off the TV and put down the electronic gadgets. I challenge you to try it, and I bet your family will re-discover some simple enjoyments that come from spending quality time together.
You’ve seen my list, so in the spirit of Christmas and investing in families, would you…
We have brought you the essential camp leadership list and the practical steps of leaders are readers…and then what. We hope that you have found time to check out some of the books from the list and apply them where you harbor influence. Recently, I polled our office team on their favorite leadership quotes and how those quotes have challenged them.
Lance Howerton, Director of Operations
“Catch people doing something right”, Howard Schultz – founder of Starbucks. I visit lots of camps during the summer and to “catch people doing something right” changes your focus and the attitude of the people when you are there. A little encouragement goes a long way, especially if you have to point out things we need to do better.
Henry Dutton, Camp Specialist
“A director does everything imaginable to recognize a singular vision”, Michael Douglas – Director. A leader must not be afraid to delegate responsibility, but he must also be willing to roll up his sleeves and do whatever it takes to help the team win. He must retain, cast, and re-cast vision frequently, because without vision, the team will fail.
Jeffrey Reed, Director of LifeWay Kids
Ellie Doom, Camp Director
There’s no excuse to plug folks into kids ministry without running background checks. Everyone knows that the kids in our care are precious and valuable … but still some folks need help, so here are some resources to help with running background checks:
Cast Vision for Why Background Checks are Important. Sometimes you may still face resistance to running background checks, so check out these articles to help equip you for the conversation with a friend or long-time church member.
Churches Must Provide a Safe Environment for Minors
Background Checks Help Churches Uncover the Unexpected
Moving Ministry Forward by Checking Back
Research and How To: LifeWay makes background checking easier with its online resources. Here are several links to help you make a decision and take the next steps.
Products and Pricing
What Happens When I Register
At CentriKid, we require each church to commit to running background checks on the sponsors they bring. For our camp staff we have a detailed process that involves screening applications, interviewing, and running background checks on every staffer who works with us. We go further also by providing training and ongoing refreshers for staff through the summer to sharpen their skills and keep safety on their minds.
We consider the opportunity to lead camp for kids an amazing privilege. We consider the trust shown by churches as something to be taken very seriously. In fact we consider it one of our top promises to churches and parents … to create a safe place for kids at camp.
Earlier this year we released some exciting information about the missions offering that we collected at camp last summer. The missions offering helped support projects locally with NAMB and globally with IMB. We want you to know that your gifts truly make a difference in the Kingdom of God. Because of your faithfulness to support missions, literally millions have heard the message of Jesus Christ.
The Christmas season is a time for giving. It’s not too late to contribute to the projects that our missions offering helped support. Check out One Child Project (IMB) and Graffiti2 Ministries (NAMB) for more information.
We are excited to see how God continues to use the gifts that you have so faithfully given, and we are excited about what the future holds as we continue to support local and global missions at CentriKid.
Be sure to check out this message from Dr. Tom Elliff, the President of the International Mission Board, as he expresses his gratitude for your generosity.
I cannot write this post without giving credit to the history of office fun at LifeWay Kids. Plenty have come before me to create a “make it fun” culture. One way my cube mate, Ellie Doom, and I try to “make it fun” is by posting a Joke of the Day. If you are ever on Twitter or Instagram check out #ckjokeoftheday to find some great jokes. We will post them on our social media every once and a while. However, this daily activity is primarily for our coworkers.
We give everyone at LifeWay Kids an opportunity to guess the joke and we reveal the winner at 3 pm central standard time. The guesses can be found on a whiteboard on our office cubes. The winner walks away with candy. It is really simple, but we are consistent. We see value in our office spending a few moments of their day laughing and working together to figure out the daily joke. We can build a better community by enjoying fun together.
The joke is a means to facilitate fun. There is nothing magic or ingenious about the joke of the day. There are many ways you can enjoy fun in your work culture and it does not matter what you do. However, it is necessary you take initiative to make fun a part of how your organization operates. At CentriKid Camp we make fun who we are with kid friendly programming. However, beyond that we try to make every mundane or arduous task our staff is asked to complete full of excitement. Whenever we make name tags before campers arrive we have a name tag party and blast music while we work together. Loading and unloading our trucks throughout the summer is no easy task, but we compete with ourselves to race our best load in and load out times.
What can your organization do to make fun a part of your culture? Also, can you figure out today’s joke?
Why didn’t the shrimp share his treasure? Comment with your guesses.
Definition: “Bedside Manner is a doctor’s attitude or approach towards a patient.”
A doctor may be highly competent and an expert in his field of medicine, but still act like a jerk. Many of us have visited a doctor who could help heal your ailment, but still not make you feel better. My preference is to have doctor who approaches major surgery, removing stiches, or treating a head-cold with compassion and understanding of how I feel.
There are times when you could be “right” about what you share with a teammate, another minister, or a family in the church, but “wrong” about how you approach the conversation. Ministers must be mindful of the attitude and approach to those under their care.
Consider these practical tips to develop good bedside manner in your ministry and your leadership. It is not about remembering every single thing that happens or having a perfect record on sending birthday cards on time. It is about expressing your heart for those you are ministering to.
1 – Life events matter. Touch base when you are aware of a graduation, wedding, birthday, or promotion at work. Not everything warrants a card, but connecting in a meaningful way over phone, text, or by jotting a note over email shows that you care.
2 – Hospitals are for visiting. We all know that its only minor surgery if its on somebody else. There is no such thing as “minor surgery” if it is on you or your child.
3 – Ask engaging questions. Get to know people and show that you care deeper about them than just on the surface. Ask about things, be curious, and seek to understand them.
4 – Just be there. Some things are outside of your experience, or very sensitive matters, or you may just not know what to say. Resist the urge to fill the silence. Sometimes the best bedside manner is just showing up to let somebody know that you care and that you are there to just be with them during a tough time.
Some folks in your life already model this well, so learn from them and imitate their actions. Remember its about the attitude and heart, not just the actions. Pray that the Lord will continue to grow your heart for those you lead and minister to.