Response time in worship at CentriKid is a special time. We view it as our job to make sure nobody leaves camp without having an encounter with Christ. We believe that life-change takes place best in the context of relationship so it is a time to celebrate when a camper in “my” Bible study or track time makes a life-changing spiritual decision. Kids can make decisions anytime during the day, but the response time in worship is when most decisions are discussed.
At response time there are a few simple guidelines from CentriKid that can help you:
1. Point A to Point B – Kids are concrete thinkers so give clear instructions on what they are to do and where they need to go if they are ready to make a decision.
2. Guys with Guys – We make sure that guys talk with guys and girls with girls. Occasionally at camp or in your ministry context there may be a situation where you really are the best person to be in the conversation with a child of the opposite sex. If so, the rule is simple … just bring in a 3rd person so you are not in that chat alone.
3. Always have your Bible – When sharing the life-changing gospel story with a camper, we want to have the Bible out to show them that it isn’t just at story but that this is found in God’s Word. There are plenty of times you will have intentional conversations with kids when you don’t have your Bible … but at response time in worship, be prepared for the Spirit to move and have your Bible ready.
4. Not Just for Staff – At camp, we train our staff and equip them to be the front line for receiving kids at response time. But we know that we aren’t the only ones who can lead a camper through a spiritual conversation. Camp staff happily hand off campers to church sponsors who want to facilitate that talk. My tip for church staff members would be to do the same if there are parents who want to lead their own child through a salvation conversation.
5. Questions are OK – Not every child is ready to make a decision – some just need to ask questions right now. And that’s OK. We never want to persuade a camper or lead them too fast into something they aren’t ready for. Asking questions is a healthy part of the process and can give you insight into what they are thinking about and whether they are really understanding the salvation decision.
6. Use Open-Ended Questions – Be sure to ask questions that require a response. Avoid questions that can be answered with a yes or no … or just a nod. To know that the camper is ready and that he understands, you have to get him to talk through what is going on inside his head.
Not the Only Time As much as we value response time in worship, we are always clear to say that there are other times kids can ask questions and make spiritual decisions. This is not their only chance to make a decision for Christ. We are not promoting delaying or resisting the Spirit…that is more of an issue with grown-ups. With kids, we want to remove pressure so they never feel coerced or rushed.
This guest blog is written by Jeremy Echols. He coordinates the CentriKid Camps program at LifeWay Christian Resources. You can see more that he’s written about kids ministry at centrikidblog.com. Or connect with Jeremy via Twitter or his personal blog.