4 Reasons Why I Love SuperStart For Preteens


Are the preteens in your church lumped in with the younger elementary students or thrown in with the senior high students? Ministering to a preteen can be difficult as they are one of the most unique age groups in the church. If you put a preteen in with the elementary students they will often disengage out of boredom but if they attend church with licensed teenagers they may hide in fear. CIY realized that this age group needed to be ministered to in a specific way so they created SuperStart. CIY SuperStart is a high-energy weekend event where preteens are challenged to grow in their relationship with God and friends. Here are 4 reasons why I love SuperStart for preteens!


Even before preteens arrive on campus, they are beyond excited because CIY does a great job of promoting the event. They include appealing graphics and videos that can easily be share in your preteen environment and on social media. Upon arrival, SuperStart kicks things off with a program called Amp Up where the students are moving and competing in fun games. The excitement continues throughout the program as the speakers teach creatively, the worship is engaging, and the students are drawn in through high production skits.


Throughout the conference, Patrick Snow and Drew Crisp affirm the students as they bring them into the teaching. I love the way they interview the kids and continue to build them up, even if they give a completely off the wall answer. The SuperStart crew understands the struggles preteens are going through and challenges them to take their next steps in faith. SuperStart also appeals to all students because the teaching team does such a great job of affirming the sports kid as well as the gamer.


While the students are organized in rows of chairs far from the stage, the team continually involves them in the production and teaching making everyone feel as if they are part of the discussion. Each eye is glued to the stage and throughout the weekend you will never hear the word bored. During the worship time, the leader invited the preteens to join in the singing and everyone was involved in singing praise to their Father.


One of the goals for CIY SuperStart is to invite students to become Kingdom Workers. They set big goals for students and then break those goals into manageable steps to make their dreams attainable. The challenge is both personal and for the group and throughout the session, CIY shows how the challenge can be completed. Students walk away from CIY knowing their next step and feel the challenge of God’s call on their lives.

Take a few minutes today to look at the CIY SuperStart webpage. More locations will be opening up next year, so bookmark the page and begin making plans for your preteens to be there!

Uncharted – The FREE Online Kidmin Conference!


Imagine the potential found in over 3,500 ministry leaders gathered together to navigate their ministry into the future! You are invited to attend a free online conference for children’s ministry leaders called Uncharted. You will hear from live speakers that will address critical topics in ministry. Learn how to change with the world around you so that you can be effective in ministry. Plan to join us, and together we will discover how you can navigate your children’s ministry into the future!

Together we will learn:
How Things Have Changed – Ryan Frank
The Motivation to Move Forward (Leaders Are Learners) – Colleen Derr
The Power of Community (The Importance of Networking) – Jim Wideman
Trends Talk – Gloria Lee, Kenny Conley, Corey Jones
Is This Really Happening? (Ryan’s Favorite Things Party) – Ryan Frank
Ministry in a Digital World – Tornado Twins
Teaching Children to Know and Love God – Bruce Ware
The Strength of a Team – Mike Johnson
The Revolution Begins Now – Ryan Frank

Not only is Uncharted a free online conference, but we will also be giving everyone in attendance $250 in free children’s ministry resources! All who attend Uncharted will get an autographed copy of Ryan Frank’s brand new book absolutely free! To receive these free gifts, you must attend the live event! Trust us, you won’t want to miss this. We aren’t going to be giving away cheesy resources, but really solid materials that you can help your ministry move into the future!

Join 3,500+ kidmin leaders for an online conference like none other!
Sign up now at www.KidminNation.com


How to Squeeze Every Drop Out of the Orange Conference



The Orange Conference is a terrific opportunity for big next steps in your ministry, but few consider preparation a fundamental step for a successful experience. Here are five tips to help you squeeze every drop out of the Orange Conference this year!

Prepare Physically 

Registration for The Orange Conference 2017 opens October 13.  If you purchase your ticket opening day, you save money and get Insider First Access to Breakouts. We all love saving money, but what you may not realize is that breakouts fill up fast and with First Access, you get the best deal!

After you purchase your ticket, you’ll want to figure out transportation and which hotel or AirBnB you will use. To continue preparing physically, you may want to consider the purchase of an external battery for your phone, trying on some new orange shoes, and drinking a Crush Soda.

Prepare Mentally  

You will most likely be taking off work to attend this midweek conference, so prepare to be away. Complete your work for the days you’ll be gone as well as get ahead a few days so that once you return you can process what you learned and plan for the future. You need to build in mental margin so that you are ready to both receive and digest new information. If you have a large project you’re working on or a application-heavy book you’re reading, get to a stopping point before you head to Atlanta so your mind can set that aside and focus on why you’re there. Read through the brochures and breakout descriptions now so that you can prepare yourself for the content that will be coming your way.

Prepare Emotionally 

To squeeze every drop out of the Orange Conference you need to be fully present. Schedule quality and quantity time with your family before your departure, even if they will be attending with you. If separated from your family, let your spouse know when you will be available to FaceTime and set those appointments into your calendar. If you find yourself going into the conference emotionally drained then you may want to schedule some down time for yourself and quiet time with God. At the conference you will laugh, cry, and worship, so prepare yourself emotionally for these times.

Prepare Socially

Begin today by following #OC17 on your favorite social media. This will be a great way to connect with speakers, bloggers, and the Orange community! Consider updating your profile and snapping a recent photo so that people will recognize you when they bump into you in the coffee line. Schedule a meal or two with your online community and make sure you prepare quality questions to make the most of these opportunities. You will be surprised at how much you can learn and grow when you prepare socially for the conference.

Prepare Spiritually

One of the most important questions you can ask in preparation is, “Father, what do you want to teach me?” Ask the Spirit to guide your breakout selection and for Him to open your heart to what you need to hear. Know that the conference schedule is packed, but this does not mean that you need to be at everything. Even Jesus withdrew from the crowds to be with His Father.

Whether this is your first Orange Conference or if you’ve been there since the beginning, take some time to fully prepare so that you can squeeze every drop from this year’s Orange Conference!


54 Interesting Quotes From the #D62016 Conference


Can you think of a time when God surprised you through opening up certain doors? You were hoping to do something or be somewhere and were delighted to see it come to fruition. A few weeks ago, I was hoping to have the opportunity to attend the D6 Conference with my youth pastor but unfortunately the details did not line up. Then through a random conversation with a friend, we were invited to attend. I am so grateful for this wonderful opportunity and would love to share with you 54 interesting quotes from my last minute #D62016 Conference.

Brian Haynes – @brian_haynes

“The Enemy will work hard to keep you from bearing fruit. His favorite scheme is what I call a stronghold cycle.“

“Identify the lie you are believing and share the truth of God’s Word.”

“What is one event where I was wounded? What is one lie I believe about God, myself, or others? What is one truth that God wants me to receive?”

“But God is faithful and fair. If we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins. He will forgive every wrong thing we have done. He will make us pure.” 1 John 1:9

Ron Hunter – @ronhunter

“Your identity is found in Christ and you are enough.”

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

“People will never change until they are given a reason to change.”

“Slinky Dog is about leadership. Point the way, stretch and let the back catch up.”

“Leaders don’t out lead your organization. Stretch and let them catch up.”

“Set your parents up for success.”

“People will never change until they are given a reason to change.”

Robby Gallaty – @Rgallaty

“How different would the lives of those around us be if we really got serious about making disciples?”

“Do you spend time executing ministry or equipping believers to do ministry?”

“Ministry is the pathway to maturity, not vice versa.”

“KISS Method: Keep, Increase, Start, Stop”

“The greatest gift we can give a child is a mom and dad who love Jesus.”

“If you seek to build a church, you rarely produce disciples, but if you seek to make disciples you always get the church.” – Mike Breen

“You can lose your ministry and still keep your family but if you lose your family you lose them both.”

“The Gospel came to you because it was heading to someone else!”

“Baptism is not the finish line, it’s the starting line.”

Axis Ideas – @axisideas

“Kids would rather lose their sense of taste than their smartphone.”

“What is our 500 year plan? Have we translated the Gospel to the next generation?”

Lisa Harper – @lisadharper

“Perfection is not a prerequisite for a relationship with Jesus Christ.”

“The Bible is not a collection of morality tales.”

Mark 10:49 “And Jesus Stopped” – “Programs are never more important than people.”

“Our God may say wait or stop but he will never say you’re not good enough for the journey he’s called you to.”

Brian and Angela Haynes – @brian_haynes

“Prioritize Home: You need a family table moment, eyeball to eyeball. Shalom in the home!”

“A wise parent relentlessly pursues a heart connection with their child.”

“Prayer is powerful in pursuing your teenagers heart.”

“In parenting, it’s not about strategy, it’s about heart connection.”

“We need to share the gospel with BOLDNESS with our kids! We need to have them walk alongside us!”

Megan Fate Marshman – @meganfate

“Who God was is who God is and who God will forever be.”

“I can’t picture a comfortable way to carry a cross.”

“God is a community in and of Himself; so how important do you think community is to God?”

“Leaders never consider themselves the exception.”

“The story of the Bible is not a story of people seeking God, it’s a story of God wanting to be with His people.”

“If you stand in your career and it shatters, so will you.”

Dr. Richard Ross – @richardaross

“Is Jesus the main conversation in your home?”

“Let your kids watch you have an awakening to Jesus Christ.”

“The most powerful spiritual development experience a teenager has is doing ministry with their parents.”

Yancey Arrington – @YanceyArrington

“Parents are the primary disciple maker. Equally true is what are you going to disciple them in.”

“The gospel is not just the A-B-C’s but the A-Z of Christianity.” Tim Keller

“The gospel is God doing for us in Christ, what we cannot do for ourselves!”

“The aim is not good kids, it’s gospel kids.”

“When the dust settles, do we say, ‘Wow, what a great service that was’ or, ‘Wow, what a great Savior Jesus is’”?

Pat Cimo

“After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the LORD or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10

“God wants us to drive real change from out kidmin seats.”

“Am I misusing my influence? Am I stewarding the influence to the extent that God wants me to?”

Skit Guys – @skitguys

“Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17

“Do not shove away your hurts and hangups because you’re focused on discipling other people.”

“Jesus can handle whatever it is that has a hold of you.”

Eric Metaxas – @ericmetaxas

“I love to have the freedom to say, ‘Thank you Jesus!’”

“Everyone is influenced by you and you are leading them to Jesus or away from Jesus every second.”

“Kids don’t need to get the idea that there is “devil good” and “Jesus good”. All good is of Jesus.”


“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7

The Fascinating Truth About Investing In Yourself


When was the last time you picked up a Dr. Seuss book and just began reading? In his book, Happy Birthday to You! Seuss wrote, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” If God created you and created you for a specific purpose, are you on the path of reaching that goal? Are you stewarding your life to your full potential so that in the end you will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Today, I want you to ask yourself three questions to help you discover the fascinating truth about investing in yourself.

1. How are you taking care of yourself? You are the only you there is, so are you taking care of yourself? If God has gifted you with a long life, are you stewarding that gift well or are you living in such a way that will cut that gift short? Maybe today, you need to invest in yourself through the purchase of exercise equipment. Maybe today you visit the eye doctor or consider the quality of food you are ingesting. And maybe today you need to take a serious spiritual health assessment. Taking a few steps in the right direction in self-care today can put you on a completely different path tomorrow.

2. When are you investing in your marriage? Second to your relationship with God is the relationship you have with your spouse. If you asked your spouse today when was the last time you invested in the marriage, would it take them an awkwardly long minute to answer? How about pulling out your calendar and marking off a night for a special date? Consider buying something special to simply say, “I love you.” Or maybe come up with a silly holiday like “happy wife day” to invest in your marriage. Help your spouse not just know that you love them but feel that love.

3. How are you taking your next step in personal development? What was the last book you invested your money and time into reading? Do you have a coach or mentor helping you reach your full potential? Have you sought out more education or training? There are numerous free and paid resources available to help you grow in personal development. Are you taking personal development seriously?

Take time today to invest in yourself. The investment you make today can pay off dividend in your future self. You have one life to live, steward it well.

How To Host A Simple Turf War For Your KidMin 


This past week our preteens made lasting memories as they enjoyed pizza, funnoodles, and small group shenanigans during our Turf War. This annual event draws a crowd as each small group is battling to get the first pick on their small group rooms. While the activity itself is different each year, the Turf War promotes small group ministry, builds strong teams, and involves a lot of friendly competition. Here are a few steps to help you host a simple Turf War for your kids ministry.


You don’t need to have all the details outlined to begin planning but a great place to start is by simply marking the date on your calendar. This gives you a goal to aim for and the deadline to make it happen. If you’re like me, great ideas don’t happen until you write them down.


Explain to your small group leaders why you are hosting this event. Is your goal to grow numerically? Do you want to build camaraderie on your existing teams? Are you looking for something fun for small groups to do together? Determine why you would like to host this event and make sure your team understands the purpose.


After you have your small group leaders on board you need to get the kids excited. For our Turf War, the preteens were excited to compete for their rooms. Those who earned great rooms the previous year wanted to defend their turf while new small groups wanted to get in on the action. We assigned team colors and asked the kids to represent their teams well. By the time the week arrived the students were boldly wearing the color’s and bringing friends to build their team’s depth.


Now is the hard part that may require a lot of work your first year. Create your plan and your backup plan because let’s be honest, it never goes exactly how we think it should. Schedule out how much time it will take to eat, what your transitions will look like, who needs to be where and when, and how much food these preteens are going to devour! Think through details like how you will determine a winner, what to do if there is a tie, and who will treat injuries.


Each of our Turf War events has a different game and competition. Last year we hosted a multiple team capture the flag type battle where each team was protecting their turf while also trying to get materials from their opponents. This year, we hosted olympic type competitions that revolved around funnoodles. I will attach a PDF with more info to this post if you want to read more about this year’s battle.


When the event comes, it will make things run smoother if your team can look to the leader. If this is you, practice what you need to say, and know the rules. If you are assigning leaders, make sure they have clear job descriptions and expectations. Nothing frustrates kids more than when games fall apart or are perceived as unfair. Know how you are going to handle situations when they arrive and be prepared to take on the responsibility.

Hosting a Turf War type event can be a great opportunity to connect your students and their small group leaders. If you have an idea for the game we could do next year leave it in the comments. If you have any questions about hosting a Turf War, just let me know!

Link for Funnoodles Activities

Orange Tour Final Session Notes with Reggie Joiner and Kristen Ivy

Processed with Snapseed.

Processed with Snapseed.

Did a parent say this to a toddler or middle schooler game?

Every family matters regardless.
40 hours for the church.
400 playing video games.
3000 parents.

40 hours matter. If you see those 40 hours as a catalyst for the rest of the week, those hours matter even more.

Every family matters regardless of what they look like. 75% of families do not consistent of a husband and wife who live with their biological kids. Divorce, adopted, foster, single…

I don’t go to this church, I live with my mom and she goes to this church. Husband left me when I became pregnant. I just need to know that she’s going to be okay because this is t what I thought my family was going to look like.

A picture mindset as a church forces people to question. How do I measure up or how do I get there?

Marriage: Thought or pictured what marriage would look like. Tried to get someone else to measure up to your picture. Expectation vs reality makes the degree of dissolution-meant.

Another concept that is more powerful. Not picture mindset. A story mindset:
God wants to tell regardless of the picture. Restoration. Redemption. God uses broken people. No picture perfect model families in the Bible. When I read about the families in the Bible I feel better about mine.

You will get frustrated if you have a picture perspective. If you have a story perspective it changes. Never measure up or live up to the picture perfect family. Hope vs. dissolutions.

Every family matters to me regardless of what you believe.

Every family matters regardless of what they believe. Even families who aren’t Christians still make a difference, positive or negative, in their kids.

Your church is strategically positions in culture to remind everyone that ever family matters.
Help parents win at parenting. A lot of parents don’t think the church is set up to let them win.

Believe 2 things: Every church needs do to act like…
Every parent wants to be a better parent!
Every parent will do som thing more.

What does it look like to help parents win or to partner with parents.

The church should be making it as easy as possible for parents to win in the relationship with their kids.

Dad might not be a great communicator. Do everything possible to help the dad win relationally with their daughter.

What does a win look likes?
1. Help them be more present with their family. Connect in a better way. Relationship goes deeper because they are more present.
2. Be more connected with to a faith community. Those outside connect. Those inside become more connected. 100% won’t be invested but all can take a step.

Leverage fancily times. Meal, bed, drive,
Initiate critical conversations
Connect with mentors and peers.
Engaging in faith activities.
Reinforcing what their kids learn at church
Expanding adult influences in their kids life.

Pro Tip: Invite other adults into the life of your kid besides you.

If you really build a relational model then the shortest distance between your church and the parent is a small group leader. With a little tweak you can make a gigantic connection.

Kristen Ivey: @Kristen_Ivy
How do your small group leaders view the kids parents?

Long after a sgl is out of the life, mom and dad are still there. It’s easy to judge the parents and your role is to build a bridge to that family. Help their heart become more connected to their parents.

How small group leaders can connect with parents.

Make an initial connection. Introduce yourself.
At the beginning of the year introduce yourself and ask for a story of your kid that communicates who they are.

Give them access to you. Parents will stalk you after you connect with their kid. Be upfront and give them your contact. And look at your media through the eyes of the parents.

Leverage technology to connect regularly. Text messages. Stay in front of them regularly. They will remember who you are and that you care.

Show up where parents show up. Ball games etc.

Help them find an answer. If you haven’t parented a teenager in your own home don’t assume that you know how to parent a teenager. Connect them with other parents. Who are those that can be connected with.

Say something positive. 1 positive for every 7 negative. You have opportunity to encourage a parent. Lean in and tell parents the wonderful things you see in their kids. Give the parents credit.

Rediscover what you can do when it comes to engaging parents.
You don’t parent a 5 year old the same way you do a 6 year old or 16 year old.

How can a Church connect with parents?
Establish an annual orientation
Offer periodic small group studies
Develop a weekly cueing strategy
Celebrate critical milestones -6 unique times
Create opportunities for share experiences

When 50% don’t show up?
Small group leaders giving parents their content.

What would happen if you tried to…
Engage every parent to do something more.

Every parent is made in the image God, that’s the reason why some nonchristian parents are better than Christian parents.

Do something!
Raise the tide.