jeremy, j.e., is a walking handbook for leadership. his large stature may lend you to think he leads with an iron fist, but in my observations i see him more as a gentle giant. i have had the privilege of sitting in several meetings where the centrikid theme was being brainstormed or the spiritual direction was be formulated. i prepped with fun ideas, and was convicted and challenged as j.e. led the meeting with one thing being the goal – kids seeing Jesus. i have loved centrikid for decades (dern, am i that old?) and i see the Gospel-centered camp up close each summer, but to know the planning behind it is just as Christ-centered is encouraging for a ministry leader. much of this foundation in centrikid is because of j.e.’s humble leadership.
     not only does j.e. plan camp, he trains hundreds of young adults to minister to kids and chaperones each summer. through many summers of camp he has had to almost see it all and that is why i wanted his take on the 5 questions. check out his answers and centrikid camp.

1 – what do you see kidmin and family ministry leaders doing right? 
Almost everybody I talk to is walking closely with a church family through a difficult stage or journey right now.
2 – what do you see as the greatest need in kidmin and family ministry right now? 
One of the greatest needs is help. Too many (myself included) won’t ask for it.
3 – if you could have coffee with every kidmin/fammin leader, what would you want to make sure you shared with them? 
What you are doing in ministry matters. I know some days it feels like you accomplish nothing… But your ministry makes a difference.
4 – what word of encouragement do you have for today’s kidmin/fammin leaders? 
Kids are so ready to hear the gospel. They don’t have an awkward filter like adults so just talk to them about the things of God!
5 – why are you passionate about children’s and family ministry? 
2 reasons….Leaders poured into me & I care greatly about the leaders influencing my child who is in Kidman right now.

Jeremy  leads the CentriKid Camps team and manages the LifeWay Kids events. His wife Emily, and their daughter love the church, our neighborhood, and spending time together. Jeremy loves to read, watch sports, and grill burgers!

it begins, in a way, like an old episode of “the real world.”  nine strangers picked to go to camp and see what happens when kidmin leaders get real.  okay, so we were not total strangers. i knew a couple pretty well; had lunch with a few and said hello in the halls to others.  after a week together in the hot jackson, ms sun at centriKID camp, we shared more than just a few ministry moments.  we

prayed together,
ministered to kids together,
laughed together,
sacrificed sleep together,
led kids to Christ together,
celebrated new creations in Christ together,
and we were stretched a bit out of our comfort zones together.

i have seen it happen many times on mission and other ministry trips, but i am smiling as i see our camp community carry-onorange group at home as we continue to minister to dawson kids.  i shared with the kids the last night of camp that they were leaving with nine new “parents” that would be there when we returned home to: guide them, pray for them, encourage them, hold them accountable, and walk faith’s journey with them. we have been home merely days and our group text messages continue full of inside jokes (of course) from camp, but also with conversations about supporting this group of kids we shared time with at camp. with a group i barely knew beyond church walls, i now share a community of concern and responsibility for a great group of kiddos.  what a gift!

to me, a week at crazy camp just so wonderfully provides an environment for us all to catch the vision and be challenged to daily carry it out in the lives of children placed in our paths.  the question i ponder now is, how do i make this a reality not just for special event leaders, but for those that serve faithfully each week in kids ministry? i would love to hear any ideas you have or have seen used effectively!

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