Friday Bag #22

 The Friday Bag

How to Guard Sabbath for your Children  –  “Children don’t set the calendar in our homes—if they are overscheduled or sleep-deprived, the fault lies with us. How can we better discharge our duty of raising children to seek Sabbath? To value down-time to reconnect with God and family?” // This is so, so, so good to read as a parent. Make the time to at the very least read this first link!

5 Signs You Lack Integrity“While there are many things that compromise our integrity, here are five signs that show your integrity is in question…”

The Right Questions to Ask About Yourself“There’s no experience, no relationship, no childhood memory, no part-time job, no tragedy, and no talent that’s wasted on you. It all culminates into one beautiful compilation of purpose.  I wrote down some of the  defining moments of my life  as an event producer.  But here are some questions to ask about yourself.”

CPC 2013 Recap Video – I was there, were you?

Find more videos like this on CMConnect – free kidmin network

Illuminate Conference News

This just in…stop…from Mr. Kenny Conley and team…stop…big news out of Nashville…stop…Illuminate…coming to a town near you…stop…read below for all the cats pajamas…stop…you’re welcome…stop…

With two Illuminate Conferences under my belt, one thing is sure… Illuminate is like no other conference. At both Austin (2010) and Birmingham (2011) I heard the same thing over and over.

Amazing!

Incredible!

Inspiring!

Encouraging!

That’s what kidmin volunteers from Texas, Alabama and Georgia all had to say about their Illuminate experience. So, the only logical thing to do is more events, right? That’s what I thought too.

On Saturday, February 18th, 2012… Illuminate comes to the great city of Nashville, TN! Details are still coming together (like speakers and breakouts) but we do have a handful of great communicators already lined up.

  • Jim Wideman (General Sessions and Leader Q & A)
  • Jonathan Cliff
  • Amy Fenton Lee
  • I’ll be there too… plus a few others

So, if you live within a 2-4 hour radius of Nashville, TN, make plans to attend the only event bringing some of the most influential voices in kidmin to the local arena to equip volunteers. It’s one of the best investments you could make in your volunteer team. At the early bird price, you can afford to bring them all!

For more information about Illuminate, check out  illuminateconference.tv.  For more information about the Nashville event, visit  nashville.illuminateconference.tv.

Attention Birmingham Kidmin Friends

Do I have any Birmingham, AL Kidmin friends?  If I do, then please go and register RIGHT NOW to take you and all of your volunteers to the most unique, creative, dynamic, and fun place to be this coming weekend!  It’s Illuminate Birmingham!

I’ll be there along with Sam Luce, Kenny Conley, Jenny Funderburke, Amy Fenton-Lee, Jim Wideman, and many, many other Birmingham Kidmin leaders.  Illuminate Birmingham is a premier Children s Ministry event. Illuminate is the only volunteer-focused conference where you ll hear from internationally known and seasoned kidmin leaders who will inspire, equip and encourage your ministry teams. This is the only kidmin conference where bringing your entire volunteer team is not only encouraged, but actually is possible.

This holds within it the potential to dramatically change your Kidmin team for the better!  Don’t delay and Register TODAY!

My Summer Camp Secrets

I’ve spoken about our experiences at Dry Gulch USA earlier this week, and I hope you’ll take the time to visit that post and see my thoughts on what is really a stellar Summer Camp.  In this post I would like to share many of my Summer Camp secrets from many  years of leading kids and volunteers to Summer Camp.

  • Google Voice -> This is a great tool for Summer Camp.  You can setup one local number that will ring through to as many numbers as you want.  It’s a cool way to avoid giving out 10 emergency numbers, and at the same time have 10 different people on your emergency contact list.
  • Directions -> I always give parents the physical location of where we will be.  Even though I know that parents will most likely not be making the 9 hour drive to our Summer Camp destination, it comforts them when I show them on a map where we will be with their children all week.
  • Online Updates -> I’m not sure how I ever avoided doing this in the past, but for the past few years I’ve posted nightly updates of our days activities and photos.  I avoid video’s because they take too long, and when I talk to parents they dont’ want the videos; they want to see their kids!  So I update about 100-150 pictures each night, with minimal editing, and then throw them into a Picasa slideshow that I embed on our Parents Blog.
  • Facebook -> I also make all our camp adult sponsors administrators on our Facebook Page, and ask that they periodically update the page with pictures and updates.
  • Make it Personal -> I send occasional individual image text of kids to their parents, thanking them for allowing us to spend a week with their kids.  This year, I posted a ton of individual images on parents Facebook pages thanking them for sending their kids, and bragging on what great kids they have.
  • Parents Blog -> I put all these updates on our normal church Parent’s Blog, so that after camp I still have 50+ families familiar with the online presence.  I encourage email subscriptions to the blog, and this helps us add to our list for the rest of the  year.
  • Do What I Say I’ll Do -> The policies on our camp packet are things we actually enforce.  If you register for camp with us, you will have paid 100% of your money and turned in 100% of your paperwork weeks prior to us leaving.  If I have a parent that will not return phone calls, won’t pay in full, or refuses to take ownership of meeting our deadlines; then I drop that kid from our camp roster.
  • Leave When I Say I’ll Leave -> If the bus pulls out at 8:00am, and I’ve told parents for weeks that it leaves at 8:00am…then we leave at 8:00am.  This year we actually left two kids that didn’t wake up in time.  Their mother drove them the 9 hours and met us within an hour of arriving at camp.  Amazingly, the mother wasn’t upset me.  She knew I’d keep my word, and I did.
  • Much, Much, Much More -> I have many more little things I do each year, but for the sake of time and words…I’ll end here!  For more then take me to lunch sometime, and buy me a hamburger and I’ll share more!
Calling all Summer Camp Professionals…what are your secrets?  Any travel tips for making it in a bus with 100 kids to Summer Camp?  Let’s here it in the comment section!

Summer Camp Experiences 2011

I’m a big believer in creating experiences outside of our weekend environments for kids (and teenagers) to connect with God, and for those of us in children’s (and student) ministry there is not greater connection place to do this than Summer Camp.  Think about it, you’re away from the normal; and kids are thrust into a new unique environment where they are encouraged daily to be introspective about their own faith.  At Summer Camp you can spend 4 and 5 days talking about variations of the same thing, and do it in a safe, fun, friendly environment.

I have many friends that love to plan every detail of their Summer Camp Experience, from the location, to volunteers, to food menus, to chapel services, to swim schedules…but I am not one of those people.  At Trinity Lubbock I did not inherit a system where planning summer camp was built-in, and instead the Summer Camp Experience has been delegated out to more capable leaders.  I’m sure I could be the person that plans 100% of Summer Camp some day, but for now we’ve chosen a different way to do Summer Camp at Trinity Lubbock.

Enter the greatest Christian Summer Camp destination in the entire world: Dry Gulch U.S.A.

I’ve spent the past 5 summers in Adair, OK at Dry Gulch; and it has continued and continued to get better and better every year.  The team at COTM has taken over all chapel services and programming, and they really bring a level of excellence that exceeds any Summer Camp I’ve ever been a part of.  It’s traditional in that there are lake activities, swimming pools, and horse riding; and it’s untraditional in that it has large arcade rooms, really good camp food, excellent playground equipment, state-of-the art  theaters, a steam engine locomotive train, and overall the place looks like a DisneyLand vacation spot.

If you’ve not taken the time to see what the team at Dry Gulch U.S.A. is creating for Summer Camp, then go visit their website today.  I’m going to include a video here from the 2010 chapel services that was filmed in it’s entirety to show you a small sample of what makes Dry Gulch so great.