FBCE Loves Centrikid; You Will Too!

centrikid-blogIf your kids love shaving cream, water balloons, silly dancing, doing cannon balls in the lake, and weekend trips filled with dancing they need to come with FBCE to the 2018 Centrikid Weekend Camp. All the kids and chaperones who risked a bus ride with their children’s pastor this past year loved camp. And for good reason.

IMG_3557Centrikid hums along like a well oil diesel motor; it has more fun games, classes, and activities than all-inclusive party at Chuck Cheese; and, it has a laser focus on the gospel. I love the Centrikid Weekend Camp experience.  I highly recommend it for your kids.

From the moment our kids where greeted by pool-noodle waving staffers until the moment they piled back slowly back onto the bus with autographed T-shirts, the Centrikid staff was all about our kids. They seamlessly processed all of FBCE’s paper work. The Centrikid team took time to talk with and play with all the kids. They were also quick to answer adult questions: “When is lights out?” And when six of our campers felt threatened by an anonymous white guy, the camp director, Meg Brown, and the Camp Pastor, David Pearson, responded quickly and graciously. Thankfully, everything checked out. But their care and concern for us reflected the whole feel of the camp. The Centrikid staff strikes that amazing balance of both keeping a tight schedule and of caring for all the campers. Consequently, I think Centrikid is amazing!

IMG_3582Though us pastors and chaperones appreciate Lifeway’s ability to deftly handle the logistical challenges of caring for several hundred kids, our campers go to camp for camp. And Centrikid Camp rocks camp. Centrikid offers a great assortment of track times ranging from muddy slip-and-slides to fingernail painting. The kids also have a blast playing games they selected. But, camp has only just begun.

Our campers highlight this year was the grand, final game, Organized Mass Chaos (OMC). Our kids loved entering the OMC playing field, racing through the pool noodle tunnel and screaming out their team cheer for the whole world to hear. When the game started, our kids went crazy smashing water balloons, making silly face, putting shaving cream on people, and holding impromptu dance parties as the valiantly pursued victory. For the kids of FBCE, OMC is the game of all games! Hence, they and I think Centrikid is amazing!

We veered over to the Shocco Springs location this year. We loved our new digs. The rooms were a definite upgrade. We all loved having a private bathroom. The amenities Shocco Springs were great.  The camp offered bazooka ball (a twist on paint ball, kayaking, and a blob on their lake. We quickly burned through our free time barely finding time for the all-important trip to the snack shop. Thus, I think Centrikid is amazing.

IMG_3436Most importantly, we loved Centrikid’s commitment to the Gospel. From the opening celebration to the closing celebration, the Gospel remained at the forefront of camp. The kids went to four different Bible studies throughout the weekend. They heard the gospel connected back to their track time games during water breaks. And, they heard the gospel clearly articulated from the stage by Pastor David. Our chaperones were also resonated with Pastor David when he illustrated God’s free gift of salvation by giving away candy to one blessed camper. Because the Gospel ebbed and flowed throughout every aspect of camp, the chaperones and I had multiple opportunities to talk with our campers about the gospel. For this reason most of all, I think Centrikid is amazing.

We loved Centrikid this year and cannot wait to go back next year! The only question remaining is: “Are you coming?”

CENTRIKID-LOGO-ORANGE

Connect Camp: 2016 Review

Connect-Camp-BlogAnother exciting month of Connect Camp has come to a close. With the help of over thirty committed adults and youth, First Baptist Eastman was able to put together an amazing day camp that featured everything from Baseball to praise band. During the months of June and July, we connected with forty-five different kids. Each day of camp, we averaged almost 35 kids. We peaked on the first day of camp when 41 arrived. Our lowest attendance occurred on the last day of camp -Thursday, July 14. We hosted 30 kids and 53 kids and adults for our family day luncheon.

Each day, the kids kicked off camp with a worship rally at 8 AM. Next, they participated in two track-times (activity times) of their choice before coming inside to cool off with a snack. Then, they rounded off the morning with a small group Bible study, another track time, and a brief closing worship rally that concluded at noon. FBCE kids’ ministry loved hosting the kids. And I am confident that many of the kids liked camp. It takes a lot to convince a grade schoolers and middle schoolers to wake up early on summer morning. Plus, I received a lot of positive feedback from parents, kids, and volunteers.Connect Camp by church

I truly believe Connect Camp this year fulfilled its mission of connecting kids to Christ and of connecting unchurched families to our church. The gospel was preached every day during both the worship rally and the small group time. Seed was sown. And by having parents and kids attend camp all month long, we got to know at least two new families.

Connect Camp Attendance ChartOur numbers did trend down a little from last year’s Connect Camp. Last year we averaged 40 students. This year dipped down to about 35 per day. I am not sure why attendance dropped slightly. Perhaps our number were hurt by the Dodge County School schedule, perhaps Camp went down because it started two weeks after VBS, or perhaps we simply encountered a sophomore slump. Regardless, Connect Camp still reaches the largest number of kids of any camp run or attend by FBCE. Lord willing our numbers will rebound next year!

And as always, we loved using the Zip curriculm published by Lifeway. It was easy to use, fun, etertaining and gospel filled! Without Zip Connect Camp would still be just a concept. But with the curriculm, FBCE has seen its dream of reaching the kids of Eastman become a reality!

Not it’s your turn! What was your kid’s favorite part of camp?

3 Truths That Make VBS Survival Possible

VBS is an amazing week. It’s also an exhausting week. On VBS nights, I celebrate the end
of the day, with silence. Just the sofa and silence. After a few minutes, my mind is able to reboot from its recent information overload. VBS can knock off the best of us. And if we are not careful, we all might need to spend some time recuperating on a counselor’s sofa, talking about our childhood. To keep that from happening and to find joy during VBS, I have encourage you to join me in meditating on these three Biblical Truths:

1. Remember Joy Does Not = Comfort

Often when life is hard, when there are extra bills, or when the pipe breaks, we assume vbs-blog-2that God is angry with us. We assume that our suffering is directly tied to the verbal barrage we shot at our kids the other night. Thankfully, our God does not work this way. According to the scriptures, we often suffer not because of our sin but because God is working. As Romans 5:3 says, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,” Suffering is for our good. So if the kid who bites, yells, and throws punches winds up in our VBS class, we can still be joyful. That mean kid is here for our benefit. He is here to helps us get closer to God. And he is at our church to be exposed to the grace of God even it comes via discipline.

So are you having a rough day, night, or week at VBS? Take heart. God is at work. You can have joy because the source of our joy, God, never disappoints. Even the hard knocks we are going through right now have a purpose. Rejoice!

2. Don’t compare to others

Because we are people, we love to compare ourselves to other people. We ask: “Who has the better decorations? Who is the most artistic teacher? Who is the most fun? And, who is winning the most souls?” The simply solution is stop. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:7, “Neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” Why are other teachers more popular than you; why do other churches have bigger VBS’s; and, why do other people get to lead more kids to Christ? The answer is simple. God is working. God is the one who saves. God is the one who gives the increase to that class or to this church (Mark 4;26-27). Admittedly, it’s more fun to reap the harvest than to plant the crop. Both tasks are important. Instead of comparing ourselves to others, and complaining, let’s be thankful that God is working in his church. Let’s boast in him (I Cor. 1:31).

Now, I am not against learning from those who do things better than us. Nor am I excusing sloth. But at the end of the day, we are charged with teaching the word of God and loving others as ourselves (Rom 10:17). If we have faithful taught the Scriptures and lived the Christian life, we are doing what God has called us to do. The results, the size of our VBS harvest is given by God (Mark 4:26-27). Don’t compare yourself to others.

3. Stay Focused on Heaven

Dealing with the girl who constantly trips, pushes, and verbally assaults other kids is not easy. In fact, such kids can make VBS seem downright pointless. But we must not give up. As Paul says in Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season vbs-blogwe will reap, if we do not give up.” If we remain faithful to the word of God, we will reap eternal life. We should not be serving in VBS to impress the kids, our friends, or our pastors. We should serve in VBS because the Holy Spirit is working in us. He is motivating us “to do good to everyone” (Gal. 1:10). And when we are tempted to tie up a kid and toss her into the closet, we give her grace. We work with her because our reward is not a calm night and peace. Its heaven. And if we keep sowing according to the Spirit, we will reap fruit. We will reap eternal life.

And, we will reap blessings here on earth. We will see kids come to Christ. We will see people changed by the gospel. It may not happen today. It may not happen this week. And it may not happen this year. But it will happen. If we sow according to the Spirit, we will reap blessings. Don’t let a hard night or week distract you. You are children of the king! Don’t give up!

 

Are ready for another day of VBS?