“I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own.
We are not able to plan our own course” (Jer 10:23, NLT).

“We can make our plans,
but the Lord determines our steps” (Prov 16:9, NLT).

Those verses come to life as we look back over the past 15 years. KidZ at Heart became a reality on January 1, 2003, but we truly did not know what God had planned for us and the ministry.

International Training Events:

  • In 2002 and 2003 combined (our first exploratory trip was in late 2002 before our “launch”), KidZ sent 3 trainers on 2 trips (to a total of 3 countries) to train approximately 65 local leaders.
  • In our 15th year, we conducted training in our 40th  country. In 2018, 15 trips are already scheduled, to take place on 4 continents. These will include 80 to 100 team members and will train an expected 1500 to 2000 local leaders. We continue to work to offer short-term trips that are both safe and excellent, for both goers and receivers, and maintain membership in SOE (Standards of Excellence in Christian Missions).

National Training Events:

  • In our first years, KidZ at Heart’s training in the U.S. was entirely through the two of us at national events that other ministries or publishers invited us to attend.
  • Today, while we still train at both national and regional events, KidZ at Heart has 10 North American trainers offering our unique materials across the U.S. through our own training events: KidZ Ministry Team TrainingKidZ Leadership Summit, Cross-Cultural KidMin Conference and Corazón de Niño (our Spanish-language training for the U.S.).

Training Content:

  • When we started, we were quickly re-working 10 workshops developed for the U.S. market to attempt to meet the needs of cross-cultural ministry to children.
  • Today, we have a team of writers, editors, and translators, and our materials have been field-tested in more than 40 cultures around the world. Our KidZ Ministry Certification Program’s Teacher Certificate consisting of eight 4-6 hour modules is on its way to the copyright office today. More importantly, in 15 years we have grown from simple teacher training to nurturing the spiritual formation of adult leaders in preparing them to holistically transform children for Jesus.

Partnerships:

  • In 2003, KidZ at Heart was a concept, we were alone, and there were no models to follow and no one moving forward with us.
  • Today, we serve alongside incredible ministry partners and have signed MOUs (memos of understanding, a contract in the missions world) with KEST (Kampala Evangelical School of Theology, Uganda), Walk Thru the Bible (South Africa), UEES (Evangelical University of El Salvador), Hope International University (Fullerton, CA), and Equipping Kids (training partner in the U.S.).

Board of Directors:

  • In 2003, we had three board members from Mesa, AZ (the two of us and our friend, Larry Tiffan).
  • Today, we have a group of 10 incredible leaders from across the U.S. who bring their expertise in missions, accounting, business, non-profit leadership, children’s ministry, and spiritual formation.

Staff:

  • In 2003, we had one employee who didn’t always get paid (the downside of an entrepreneurial spirit).
  • Today, we have 28 staff members ministering from their home offices in 7 states and 6 countries.

Budget:

  • In our first year, the total ministry was funded by about $88,000 in gifts.
  • In our 15th year, more than 85% of our $678,000 in charitable gifts went directly to the ministry of equipping people to reach and teach kids for Christ. We have worked hard to maintain full membership in good standing with ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability).

Regional Future: Perhaps most exciting of all, where we started as a small sender of short-term teams in 2003, today we have staff members and dozens of trained leaders training others in their own countries and sending teams from their homeland to neighboring countries. Regional ministry centers are forming in India, Eastern Europe, East Africa, Southern Africa, and Latin America.

While God has taken KidZ at Heart to places we never imagined, he has also shown his plans for growing us personally. We are deeply thankful that he has included us in the plan and that you, too, have journeyed with us – many of you for the full 15 years.

Wonder what 2032 will bring? We invite you to come along with us to see!

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