Archive for February, 2014

2014 CentriKid Prep #2: Fundraising

Raising the funds to get to camp can be one of the most stressful parts of the camp experience. At this point your deposits are due, but you are looking at the rest of the money wondering from where it will come. Take an opportunity to take a deep breath, because today we hope to give you plenty of great methods of raising the money.  Here is the 2014 Fundraising Ideas list.

  1. Talent Show : Need I say more? Have the kids going to camp share their talents with people willing to come and watch them perform. You don’t want the parents to be the only ones there so make sure you advertise online, at their schools with the teachers, and by word of mouth invitations.
  2. 5k Race : 5k races have become wildly popular. You will need to do some preparation in creating a course, talking with your city about your event, etc. However, this is an event that could become a staple on your church calendar. It can be a healthy option for participants and could attract people outside your congregation.
  3. Dodgeball Tournament : Tell me where you are having it and I will try to be there. Dodgeball is one of the most fun games ever created. Have teams within the church sign up together (e.g. small groups against different small groups). Charge an admission fee and provide a trophy.
  4. Outdoor Movie : As the weather gets better make sure you use it to your advantage. For this you will need a large projector. Maybe your church has one or the local High School or College might loan you one. Beyond a projector all you need is the space seat everyone, great sound from a passport system, popcorn and other snacks. Also you can start the show with some great Peach Videos.
  5. Profit Share : Many local businesses will share their profits with you for the day. An organization I was involved with once did this at Chick-fa-la. This is the simplest idea. All you need is the publicity to let people know your cause. Check around in your area for businesses open to profit sharing.

Here is a complete list with all our Fundraising Tips from years past.

Fundraising Tips

2013 Fundraising Ideas

2012 Fundraising Ideas

2011 Fundraising Ideas

2010 Fundraising Ideas

Making Sure Everyone Gets to Camp

Fundraising Idea…Kroger Cares

Fundraising // Waiting Tables

How Do You Get the Most BANG from Your Limited Budget Bucks

Ministry opportunities are unlimited, but we all need help stretching our limited budget for ministry.  Here are 4 children’s ministry leaders who share from their experience on how to get the most out of their budget.  You’ll see common themes of sharing and wise shopping, so here we go!

  • Buy in bulk and save for the next year…this helps on budget needs for the next fiscal year. – Lisa, Preschool/Children’s Ministry Director from Georgia.

  • I always try to find out what other churches are doing the same VBS and schedule around other dates is possible, so that we can share decorations and leftover supplies.  Also, we have a couple of big churches close by who own lots of inflatables. I ask to “rent” from them at discount instead of paying top dollar from rental companies. – Tammy, a Children’s Minister from South Carolina.

  • We share and borrow props/specialty items with local churches in our area. We shop AMAZON and EBAY to save cost on production events. We also involve our congregation in our ministry events, for example, we served over 2000 people last year in our “Back to school Bash”, handing out school supplies and giving free haircuts. – Kathy, Director of Children’s Ministry from Tennessee.

  • I am a huge fan of networking, and thankfully our local Baptist association provides many opportunities for local children’s ministers to regularly meet together. During those times, we all talk about our ministries and discuss ways we can help each other, and share resources.  For example, last week one of the local children’s ministers found some decorations in her church that she didn’t need, but matched my VBS theme perfectly, so she called to see if I wanted them.  If you don’t already have a network of ministry friends, start calling local children’s ministers and try to get something going. It will take time for something to get started, but it is well worth the effort. I have literally saved thousands of dollars over the years, through sharing resources with local children’s ministers and gained invaluable amounts of great advice and encouragement from them.  – Peter – a children’s minister from Georgia, and former CentriKid staffer.


Special Thanks to each of these guys for sharing their insights with us!  What else would you share from your experience?  How do you stretch your limited ministry budget dollars? Share in the comments section below and we can continue to add to create a great collection of ideas!

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.

What is your Favorite Verse and Why?

Recently we polled some of our CentriKid Church Group Leaders on their favorite verse. We also asked them to share why it was their favorite verse. Here are some of their responses.

2 Timothy 1:7. I have stressed this verse to my three daughters ever since they were old enough to understand that God never gives us a spirit of fear. But He does gives us POWER, LOVE, and a SOUND MIND…if we can understand and believe this then what do we have to fear? RIGHT?” – Lisa Wilder

“The verse I use most often in my ministry with kids is Romans 6:23. I really like this verse and how it sums up the gospel.” – Peter Johnston

1 Peter 3:15. To be prepared, one must be in Christ and in His word. To give an answer, one must be willing to share. To do so with gentleness and respect shows a humble heart. This verse is full of ACTION and I love that!” – Tammy Adams

“My favorite verse is John15:16. It was the verse God used to confirm His call to join Him in ministry.” – Kathy Martin

Why a particular verse resonates with us is different for each person. These verses represent how God’s word can “dwell richly among us” as it tells us in Colossians 3: 16. I find it fascinating to hear why verses hold special places in people’s walk with God. You can learn a lot about someone’s story and their interest whenever you hear why they hold verses close to their hearts. We know that God’s Word has power to change our lives so we believe it is important to share how it has shaped each of us. Take an opportunity to comment below or post on Facebook or tweet @CentriKid your favorite verse and why you love it. If you are looking for a new resource that for your kids ministry that starts with scripture as its navigation point check out and sign up for LifeWay Kids new curriculum line Explore the Bible.





Leaders Must OVERcommunicate

Frustrated leaders are often frustrated because they aren’t sure if they are getting through to their people.  A leader’s job (whatever the vocation) is getting things done with and through other people.  A major distinction between a leader and a teammate is the “getting things done through other people” part of the definition.  So it stands to reason that communication skills are essential in the leader’s toolbox.

For a leader to actually be effective, he must go above and beyond to communicate…and make sure the message actually gets through.  Leaders must over-communicate, so here are 5 tools that a leader can add to the communication skills toolbox.

  1. Make meetings more effective.  There are lots of blogs that dive deeper into this subject, but sometimes you aren’t getting the message through because folks are bored with your ineffective meetings.
  2. Master multiple electronic methods.  Some folks are texters, some are email-only folks, others check facebook more than email.  As a leader, you can multiply your communication effectiveness if you can identify the preferred way to connect with your people.
  3. Say it with more than words.  Many have said it, but John Maxwell made it famous in the things I’ve read…”People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  Sometimes your message gets through better by showing that you care as you communicate.
  4. Repeat.  Sometimes even the best teammates, students, workers just don’t catch it the first time.  We all have moments when we zone out for a jiffy, so be prepared for this with those that you lead.  You may have to repeat something or provide another avenue for more information if needed.
  5. Anticipate follow-up questions.  When communicating, you can sense things that may confuse or need further explanation.  Make yourself available to give further insights when those follow-up questions come.

You can’t just say, “It’s their fault they don’t get it.”  That won’t help accomplish the goals you have, nor will it make your team stronger.  Over-communicate and continue to improve your communication skills in leadership.

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.

Friendly Reminder: CentriKid Deposits are Due Tomorrow

If your church is registered for camp 2014, CentriKid deposits are due tomorrow, February 15, 2014.

Click here to watch a tutorial video about how to manage your account and pay your deposits online.  You can also call 1-877-CAMP-123 to speak with the Events Registration office.

LifeWay will not be open tomorrow since it is a Saturday, so if you haven’t paid your deposit yet, call today or pay through your online account this weekend. However, if you absolutely cannot pay the deposits by the 15th, we will still be accepting payment on Monday, February 17th.

Registration is still open. For those of you who are interested in CentriKid but haven’t registered yet, you can email us for more information at or sign up online. We would love to have you join us at camp and would love to get you signed up for this year.

Any reservations made after February 15th will require an immediate $50 deposit per person. ALL deposits are non-refundable and cannot be applied toward balance due.

2014 CentriKid Key Verse: Psalm 130:7

“Israel, put your hope in the Lord. For there is faithful love with the Lord, and with Him is redemption in abundance.” — Psalm 130:7

We are so excited about the CentriKid Key Verse in 2014. We believe that it will lead to so many conversations with children about God’s faithful love and abundant redemption. Throughout our interviewing process, we’ve asked our applicants to list some questions campers might have about Psalm 130:7. We think these questions and ways to answer them are worth sharing as we all prepare to focus on and study about God’s redemption this summer.

Questions Campers Might Ask:

1. Why does it say Israel and why does it matter to me?  The people of Israel were God’s chosen people in the Old Testament.  He dwelled with them, guided them, protected them, and love them unconditionally. When Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life, died on the cross for our sins, and rose from the dead three days later, He gave us all the ability to have a relationship with God and to become His children.  Through this sacrifice, we can now be His people just like the nation of Israel in the Old Testament.

2. How do you put your hope in the Lord? This question would be best answered by sharing your own experience of a time you hoped in something that failed you. After you share this, explain to the campers that when we put our hope in God, He will never fail us.  He is the only one who can bring us satisfaction, and it is only through Him that we will find abundant redemption.  Make sure campers understand that putting their hope in God means to believe in who He is and what He has done for them and then to act on that belief and follow Him.

3. What is faithful love? One of the best examples of faithful love here on earth is the love a dog has for its owner.  Dogs love us so intensely that as soon as we walk into sight even after just a short time of separation, they get so excited to see us that they can’t even contain it.  This love that they show us is completely contagious because we know that no matter what we do, they won’t stop loving us to the fullest extent.  God’s love for us will always be even more faithful than this.  We mess up and sin all the time, but He still loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us and draw us near to Him.

4. What is redemption? Every single one of us sins.  Because of this sin, we are separated from God.  In order to have a relationship with God, we need to be forgiven — we need to be rescued.  Jesus came to earth to redeem us.  Redemption is the action of regaining something in exchange for a payment.  In the ultimate act of redemption, Jesus gave his life and died on the cross so that we would be able to have a relationship with Him now and dwell with Him in Heaven one day. His death was the final sacrifice that needed to be made to break us free from our sin forever.  He rescued and redeemed us so that we might have abundant life in Him!

These are just a few questions kids might have about Psalm 130:7.  What are some other questions you can think of and how would you answer them? Join us in praying that the Lord would already start to prepare campers’ hearts to study this verse in Summer 2014.






7 Ways to Show Kids in Your Ministry Love on Valentine’s Day

I got assigned the Valentines Day post this year, because out of all our office team I am the Myers Briggs “feeler”. I am known as the one who at times leads with the heart instead of the head. So with great joy and love this feeler is putting forth 7 ways to show your kids in your ministry love on Valentine’s Day.

1. Parents Date Night
Friday is coming quick, you need a few last minute volunteers. This could be super popular to your parents, who are looking for a sitter. In return for your night of service you get a night to build relationships with your group.
2. Visit your Kids at their Elementary School
This is not always possible or if possible not always easy, but eating lunch could go a long way with your kids.
3. Write Individualized Valentines Grams
This is tough for big groups. However, everyone loves to hear the things people love about them. This can serve as your opportunity to let them know you listen to them.
4. Play Their Favorite Game
Are you ever bugged to play one particular game? Treat your kids to this game. They will be so excited they will forget it was Valentines Day, but you can remind them afterwards that is why they got to play it.
5. Do something out of the ordinary JUST FOR THEM
Pie in the face. It is just a suggestion, but the idea is to break up routine and do something that you kids will think is so fun and so hilarious. Maybe they can make the pies out of whipped cream and Sweethearts.
6. Buy Flowers to give to each of your kids
Make sure you can give one to every kid. You don’t have to make a big deal of it, but they can take it with them after the service. Now they have a present and kids love presents.
7. Show Love by Demonstrating Selfless Love
Figure out a way you can incorporate your kids in a service project. Maybe you can plant flower bulbs outside the church for the spring or go visit an assisted living community. Show your kids love very practically by showing them how to love others selflessly.

How do you show your children’s ministry the ultimate act of love? This takes creativity, intentionality, and customization. I cannot provide a perfect formula describing how to love your kids in the way they need. As a feeling expert I know that you need to be authentic and show your kids love in the way you speak love and in the way they need love.

2014 CentriKid Prep #1: Online Tools

For Group Leader’s getting ready for CentriKid this summer, we’ve got a 2014 CentriKid Prep series where you can get all the details you need for camp. We will post about once a week through the spring with details about fundraising, recruiting adult volunteers, housing at camp, and what to expect when you arrive.

Every CentriKid camp site has a “location page” with Group Leader Information, a Parent Packet, and other information specific to your week of camp.

Here’s the link to manage your account online.

This video demonstrates all the things you can do online with your CentriKid Camps registration:

  • log into your account
  • update group leader contact information
  • add or reduce attendance
  • modify male/female counts
  • pay deposits or pay the balance owed on your registration

Contact us anytime online or by calling 1-877-CAMP-123.  We are here to serve you and help get your group ready for camp!

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.

40 Developmental Assets®

There is a difference in secular youth development organizations and your children’s ministry. The dissonance ranges from church to church, but by far the largest difference is the presence of the gospel intentionally woven into lessons and activities. Beyond this difference I think children’s ministries have a lot to learn from secular youth development practices. One of the biggest take aways from my time studying youth development at Texas A&M University was the accountability system in youth organizations created by the Search Institute called the 40 Developmental Assets®.

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 9.18.24 AM

Through the link you can find many different Models for the different age cohorts. Each list is broken down into two main sections, which are external and internal assets. The external assets include family support, other adult relationships, high expectations, child programs, religious community and others. The internal assets can be reading for pleasure, integrity, interpersonal competence, resistance skills, self esteem and others.

Some assets I found particularly valuable to consider were:

  1. Other adult relationships: child receives support from adults other than her or his parent(s).  This is you in your children’s ministry. You make a difference by showing these kids support. I absolutely remember non-parental role models who shaped my life as a youth, so I am inspired to have similar relationships now with kids with whom I have influence.
  2. Community values youth: child feels valued and appreciate by adults in the community. This one confused me at first. What does a community valuing youth have to do with their development? However, I remember the old adage “it takes a village to raise a child”. The more connected a child feels to their community the more receptive they will be to their support and love.
  3. Cultural Competence: child knows and is comfortable with people of different racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds and with her or his own cultural identity. This one is very mission minded. I want to instill in kids that there is a world beyond themselves. By instilling this asset we can help our kids learn how to engage people who are different.

The more assets a youth owns the more likely they are to become fully functional adults in the future. The combination of internal and external assets are instrumental in the development of a child. It could be advantagous for you to put this list against what you are doing in your children’s ministry. How are you developing a sense of purpose in your kids, how are you letting the community see the value in their youth,  what ways can you help kids develop planning and decision making skills within your ministry?

10 Classroom Management Tips

In a perfect world, kids would automatically listen to us and behave without needing instructions or discipline. Unfortunately, this is no perfect world and even the most well behaved kids still need guidance. Here are 10 classroom management tips we give our staffers each summer to help them make the most out of the time with campers. Check these tips out and share them with your teachers!

• Lay out some ground rules for your group at the very beginning. Make sure kids know the rules/expectations. Keep them short and simple, but creative.
Example—Keep it REAL:
Respect, Encourage, Attitude, Listen
• Some kids don’t realize they have habits that are distracting to other children. Pull them aside at an appropriate time, and come up with a hand signal as a reminder when inappropriate behavior happens. Eliminate having to call them out in front of the group.
• Don’t just interact with kids who are easy to love. Hang out with the difficult kids and use your time to build a relationship and a trust with them. Build relationships with all your kids.
• Give kids responsibilities and choices. Let them help you and help other kids.
• Give positive attention rather than negative attention, especially to kids who demonstrate difficult behavior. (Spend more time highlighting the positive things they do rather than telling them not to do this or that.)
• Be consistent. If you have expectations, stick to them. Do what you say.
• Find a creative way to regain kids’ attention, through a clap rhythm or a cheer, etc.
• Direct the kids to where you want them to sit during the lesson so they know your expectations. If you want them to sit in a circle, tell them that before they sit down. If you want them to sit close together, use tape to mark out a box on the floor for the whole group to sit in.
• Move difficult kids closer to you or have them be your helper. If it’s a couple of kids who are talking, make a point to stand or walk near them as you teach. Get them involved.
• Interactive lessons are the best way to keep your kids engaged. Let them act out the Bible story or play a game that relates to the lesson. They will be able to release their energy while staying focused on what you’re saying.