NICHOLASVILLE — Roger Fields did not start out in the ministry planning to illustrate biblical principles through projectile-launching of toilet paper.
He didn't start out to be in children's ministry, period.
But in a Florida church where the Nicholasville entrepreneur was serving, there was a children's ministry vacancy. Fields stepped into the role.
He thought it would be temporary. It wasn't.
That led to Kidz Blitz, Fields' interactive kids' show. He not only travels most weekends in connection with the show, but Kidz Blitz has offices in Little Rock, Ark., and San Diego, and employs eight people.
"The idea was to engage parents and kids together ... where the event itself could convey some messages," Fields said. "Kids are wired to participate. They would rather play.
"We realized there ought to be a way to harness that."
Kidz Blitz stages 125 to 150 events a year at churches around the country, bringing its messages of challenge, participation and life lessons, with a little bit of gross-out humor. In June, Fields will conduct nine events in nine days: "The summer is packed," he said. "Halloween can back up two or three years in advance."
Fields, who grew up attending Southland Christian Church, said his organization has two shows on its menu: one for kids only, and one for kids and families.
While the presentation has evolved, Fields said it always contains the same elements: a high-energy presentation, a game and a tie-in to a Bible verse or principle.
Although the set looks vast, the framing tubes are in fact light, as are the harnesses and the toilet paper "bazookas." Lightweight toilet paper can be cleaned up quickly afterward.
"It's visual," Fields said. "It's high-energy. It's easy cleanup. It just meets every test."
That includes, he said, "the message of God's grace and God's power."
A release for one of the shows, FX Live, said the event features "Mama's Pajama Jump, Grandpa's Rubber Face, the Ultimate FX Live Chicken and Bone Challenge, the Gator Snot Drop and The Flying TP Blast."
Part of the event's challenge, Fields said, is getting kids excited after they've found their seats but before the event starts.
"I want a kid's eyes to be as big as silver dollars before it starts," he said.
Who is the ideal customer for a Kidz Blitz presentation?
A 12-year-old boy.
"If he thinks it's cool, the younger ones will think it's cool — and the parents will think it's cool," Fields said.
And what's not cool, to a 12-year-old boy, about going onstage to be suspended from a chain and blasted with toilet paper?
First Baptist Church in Vincennes, Ind., has hosted a Kidz Blitz and the more whole family-oriented FX event.
During the games, an event leader might associate a game requiring extra strength with a Bible verse about how God gives you strength to soldier through difficult times, said Dedra Lewis, the church's director of children.
"Sometimes I don't think kids even realize that Scripture is coming through as they're playing the game," she said. "It's fun in a competitive way. They do such a neat job of bringing in Scripture."
An excerpt from Jumping The Track by Roger Fields of Kids Blitz:
I gave up trying to put on a show for kids to watch as I began to realize it was not about my performance, but about their participation. Instead, I committed to finding ways to get kids involved.
A variation on this old saying became my standard.
Tell me and I will forget.
Show me and I might remember.
Involve me and I will get it.
I get criticized for downplaying the impact of multimedia in children's ministry. It is tragic when churches repeatedly sit kids in front of a video, turning them into spectators and using it as a primary teaching tool. No curriculum publisher will ever be able to produce videos that compare with what comes out of Hollywood. We will never keep up with secular video production. ... Only participation can make a kid light up on the inside. Kids are wired for action.
My never-ending quest became finding ways to do things that would create a learning experience. I used everything imaginable to teach, but games became my method of choice.
To learn more about the traveling Christian children's show Kidz Blitz, which is led by Nicholasville's Roger Fields, visit Kidzblitz.com.