Gordon and Becki West KidZ at Heart FoundersThrough multiple sources in 2015, we heard God telling us that he was ready to grow the ministry of KidZ at Heart, but that we were not ready. We saw a number of “infrastructure” items that needed attention before growth could take place. We have worked tirelessly, keeping ministry projects going while also rebuilding the airplane as we flew it!

Though these accomplishments mostly fall behind the scenes and are not nearly as exciting as the forefront of ministry, we wanted to share these steps we made in 2015:

  • Website: We redesigned and relaunched www.kidzatheart.org.
  • Payroll: We outsourced payroll to better serve our growing staff and to obtain expert help on compliance with employment laws in seven states and multiple municipalities.
  • Bookkeeping: We “in-sourced” financial records to allow for better management and stewardship.
  • Database: We migrated 15,000 data records to NeonCRM, a tool lightyears ahead of our previous database and costing less per month to use
  • Communications: We integrated our electronic communications and newsletter tool with our database so that we may communicate better with you in coming years.
  • Shopping cart: We’ve added the capability of a shopping cart that allows for more efficient registration for training events and better customer service for resource and curriculum sales.
  • Staff Structure: We re-aligned our staff to a streamlined four departments that “fit” our work better: Training Content & Certification, U.S. Training & Resources, Operations & (International) Mobilization, Development & Communications.
  • Goal Setting: With this new team structure, we also completely revised our methods for strategic planning and goal setting. After seeking God’s direction, we continue to follow him in efficient and effective ways.
  • Fundraising: We implemented new processes and accountability goals for faith-based staff members and re-structured our general fund campaigns to follow the requests from our generous donors.
  • Chart of Accounts: With the change of departments and bookkeepers came a total restructuring of our accounting records and chart of accounts.
  • Digitized Mobilizing: We took our twelve-month timeline for effectively mobilizing short-term teams and put it online to better facilitate the ministry.
  • Digitized H.R.: We also took our internal new staff-orientation processes online.
  • Video Conferencing: As we outgrew Skype, we “Zoomed” ahead with a new online tool (Zoom!) that better fits the meeting needs of our growing staff and board.
  • Translations: We contracted with Sovee to assist in the growing number of translations we need for the more than 30 countries in which we now serve.
  • Training Units: And…we restructured our international training program to allow nationals a variety of ways to fulfill the requirements of the KidZ Ministry Certification Program for teachers and leaders.

Whew! And what about the other half of that message from God? Yes, he has abundantly grown the ministry in 2015:

  • Staff: Ten new staff members have joined KidZ this year, including two citizens of El Salvador.
  • Budget: Our 2015 budget/income surpassed $500,000 for the first time.
  • National Training: We were invited to several new U.S. venues in 2015, including the incredible D6 (family ministry) and Urbana (see article below) conventions.
  • International Training: In 2015, we saw 40% growth in the quantity of short-term teams train leaders overseas over the teams in 2014. And we now have commitments from participants for another 70% increase in the number of trips in 2016 over the teams in 2015! In addition to KidZ at Heart teams, we have licensed several other churches and organizations to use KidZ at Heart training materials on their trips.
  • Partnerships: In ongoing training events conducted by those living in-country, KidZ missionaries, staff, and partners trained thousands of additional leaders across their home regions of Uganda, South Africa, and El Salvador.

As we enter our 14th year as a registered 501(c)(3) missions agency dedicated to equipping people to reach and teach kids for Christ within their own culture, we are thankful to our Lord who has led and blessed. And we are thankful for you, his people, who have given, prayed, and gotten involved in accomplishing his will for the kingdom. Thanks be to you and God!