A few weeks ago, I had the experience of a lifetime. Sara (my wife) and I spent a couple of weeks in Israel and it was AMAZING. Even now, weeks after returning, we’re still processing all that we experienced. I’ve only talked the ears off a few people – so far. One of the most profound experiences for me was the understanding and appreciation that comes with being in the Holy Land. Four over 40 years, I imagined places and scenarios as I read them in the Bible. Obviously, I’ve seen films and pictures of Israel, so my imagination...Read More
Author: Kenny Conley
Last week we took 140 kids to summer camp. It was an amazing five days and my highlight was what happened on night three. Something amazing happened in the hearts of dozens of kids – but it almost didn’t happen. Our group made up half of the kids attending this camp in Northern Arizona. The camp provided the band, the activities, the speaker and the curriculum. It’s an amazing experience to have no other responsibility than just be with your kids, letting the camp take care of everything else. However, after the first day – we noticed a small problem....Read More
In the How to Camp series, I wrote about how to streamline the camp preparation process. I talked about budgeting, registration forms, and incentivized registration. For the past three years, I honed this process at my church in Austin, TX and saw significant success. The marker for success was this: 50-60% of registrations submitted on opening day (4 months before camp) 14% of registrations submitted in the final month of registration Registration closed SIX weeks before camp began Camp came in UNDER budget The big question I had was, “Will this work somewhere else?” The immediate response I get...Read More
I have four email accounts. All four are google/Gmail accounts and I utilize all four on a daily basis. I have managed to only use one calendar (I import all my calendars to my work google account). I do utilize google docs for each of the accounts as well. This means that at any given time, I have 5-10 tabs open dedicated to my google/Gmail accounts (four email tabs, one or two drive tabs, one calendar tab and usually several open docs. For someone who always has a lot of tabs open, this doesn’t help. That’s why SHIFT has been...Read More
I’m happy to say that I’ve had Jim Wideman as a mentor and friend in my life for nearly ten years. He’s been a hero of mine for much longer than a decade, so it’s really fun to have access to him like I do now. Last month, he and I were in Atlanta together for NEXT, an informal gathering of NextGen and Family Ministry Pastors that I help organize. While at NEXT, Jim had me on his podcast. First of all, I have to say the the recording environment might have been my favorite. The last time I was...Read More
Sometimes the expenses associated with camp can be absolutely overwhelming. You’ve got money going in and money going out and it’s not so easy keeping track. What makes matters worse is that most churches have a line item in their budget for camp. A lump sum of money. But that’s it. The problem is that your line item for camp isn’t enough. Camp needs it’s own budget so you know if you’re over, under or right on track. I hope to simplify this for you a little. First of all, you need to decide if camp is designated as...Read More
One of the most painful part of preparing for camp is form management. Depending on what camp you are going to, what state you live in or what practices your church has, your parents are going to fill out a lot of forms. Church liability/release form Camp liability/release form Release for special activity (like rock wall or paintball) Behavior waiver Lengthy registration form It’s painful, but I’ve found that it can be less painful than we make it. We’re well into the 21st century – we can integrate a significant amount of this process. Integrate Everything You Need into...Read More
Last year, I led a Next Generation Winter Camp that took nearly 500 kids (3rd – 12th grade) and their leaders over Martin Luther King weekend. It’s the largest camp I’ve ever led and it was amazing in so many ways. What I’m most proud of is what happened long before we loaded the busses. Although the camp was held the 2nd weekend in January, we opened registration on September 1st (over 4 months earlier). Over 60% of our participants registered on September 1st. We closed down registration on December 1st, six weeks before camp started, giving us ample...Read More
It’s February already. That means that Summer Camp is right around the corner. Actually, camp is still 5-6 months away. However, this is the time where planning and promoting camp starts to pick up. Currently, I have a meeting every week dedicated to camp planning. Camp is one of the best parts of Children’s Ministry. Most leaders would agree. Camp is a spiritually and relationally catalytic event for both kids and leaders. Every years, we see kids grow in their faith like crazy, we see them connect with peers in a pretty powerful way and we see leaders become...Read More
Last month, I celebrated twenty years of vocational ministry. The first four years consisted of part time ministry while still in college followed by 16 years of full time ministry that took me to Indiana, Texas and now Arizona. It’s amazing to think of how quickly the time has passed. I thought I’d celebrate twenty years of ministry by simply sharing twenty things I’ve learned in the two decades of ministry. It’s impossible to get everything done every week. Don’t kill yourself or you family to “make it happen.” Sometimes things just take a little longer than we’d like....Read More
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