Grand Rapids, Mich (KFK) — In just a few days I will be celebrating eight months in my current roll as executive director at Keys for Kids Ministries. While that’s not a lot of time when you consider I had spent 20 years at my previous ministry, it’s very little time when you consider all that God is doing at Keys for Kids Ministries.
Each month I write a thank-you note to each donor. This month, I was encouraged by the KFK team to write something more personal — to share my heart. I was told, “Write something that will excite our friends, because we’re excited.” Then I started thinking, wow, God has allowed us to do a lot of things in these short eight months. And we have some amazing opportunities ahead of us if funding, people, and God allow it. So, here are the highlights of the previous eight months.
In January, Uncle Charlie retired from from being on the air on Keys for Kids Radio. We said hello to Zach, who has hosted Down Gilead Lane for years. Who is Zach? He’s a guy all the church kids love. He’s that 20-something young man everyone looks up to. He helps out with youth ministry, he’s the camp counselor at summer camp, and he’s involved in just about every activity where volunteers are needed at church.
That same month, Keys for Kids Ministries launched two new radio programs and relaunched another one. One is called Keys for Kids 60. It’s a radio feature that’s similar to our Keys for Kids 4 1/2-minute broadcast, but much shorter. Radio stations were asking for it. We also retooled the 4 1/2 with new music. Zach hosts both broadcasts. Because of his concern about biblical illiteracy in the church, Zach is passionate about the need for children to know God’s Word. We also launched Parent Minute. I’m the host for that. It’s a different kind of broadcast. I’m an average parent and grandparent who’s succeeded and failed. The goal is to talk about those successes and failures to other parents and grandparents with the prayer that we can learn something from each other. Since it’s focused on Scripture, God is leading our time together.
Keys for Kids Radio (keysforkids.net) also made some programming changes to help make our friends in Europe, Africa, and Australia happy. Our radio coordinator Dylan Kraayenbrink has created 24 hours of quality programming for kids to enjoy. No longer will children in Australia be hearing lullabies in the afternoon when it’s midnight in the US. They’ll get to hear all of their favorite music and programs, too. Already we’re seeing more kids listening in these areas of the world. We just received a story from a mother in New Zealand whose two children gave their hearts to Christ within eight weeks of listening.
This month we’re officially launching our Keys for Camps program. While the launch is a pilot program this summer, the desire is to help thousands of young people develop a devotional life every day. We’re doing that by partnering with Christian camps. When a young person goes to one of these partnering camps, they’ll receive a Keys for Kids devotional. The camp will teach them how to use it each day at camp, then when they go home they’ll finish the devotional. Each quarter thereafter they’ll receive their Keys for Kids devotional at home with a custom cover from their summer camp and a message from their friends encouraging them to stay in God’s Word. We’re starting with just four camps this summer, but we’re hoping that dozens and dozens will join us next summer.
In November, the Keys for Kids Ministries board approved our KFK translation policy. The goal is to encourage ministries in other nations to translate Keys for Kids devotionals into other languages. However, it’s a partnership. While the ministry leaders in that country are doing the translation (text and audio), Keys for Kids is supporting them with graphic design to produce a quality devotional booklet they can use to:
1. Share Christ with kids.
2. Promote their ministry.
3. Provide a revenue stream as they become the distribution hub of children’s ministry material in their country.
Keys for Kids, meanwhile, will print the devotionals here in the US, allowing short-term mission teams to use them as they travel into these nations, or as they reach out to immigrants in North America. The audio produced by these translators will be used on audio Bible devices. Organizations are telling us there is a huge demand for children’s Bible stories in audio. We’re hoping to launch Keys for Kids on the audio devices in Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Greek, and Macedonian before the end of the year.
This month, Keys for Kids will be sending out our first newsletter. It’s called KeyNews. I’m not a fan of the name, but that’s what it’s called for now. At least twice a year you’ll be receiving information about the amazing things God is doing through Keys for Kids Ministries. You’ll hear reports on young people coming to Christ. You’ll read why donors are excited about this ministry. We’ll feature stories about new programs and special opportunities that need prayer and financial support. However, these newsletters are NOT about raising money. They’re about keeping you informed.
So, a lot has happened. We’re also in the middle of what we’re calling the Keys for Kids Growth Initiative. We’re trying to raise a little more than $200,000 to update all of our Keys for Kids technology, which will prepare us for future growth in the mobile app world as well as technology we don’t even know about yet. We’re very close to meeting that goal. If you’d like to invest in the Growth Initiative, please get in touch with me. I’d love to talk to you about it.