it all began with a puppet...
Carl Lussier is a graduate of Zion Bible Institute in Rhode Island. He was ordained with the Northern New England District of the Assemblies of God, and is now currently with the Potomac District Council. Carl and his wife, Kathy, began their ministry in the late seventies, traveling throughout the north-eastern United States, as well as Canada. Since 1977, Carl has served as Child Evangelist, Christian Education Director. Children's Pastor, Youth Pastor and Senior Pastor, ministering in churches and kids camps.
During the years of 1977 to 1982, their children (Sam, Matt, Rachel and Debbie) were born. By the time the oldest (Sam) was ready to start Kindergarten, Carl took on the position of Youth and Children's Pastor at Caribou Assembly of God in Caribou, Maine.
A year later, he became Senior Pastor at First Assembly of God in Fort Kent, Maine. In 1984, he and his family returned to Caribou, serving once again as Pastor to Children and Youth.
"On the road again..."
The summer of 1991, under the name "Lussier Family Ministries", marked the first tour back on the road. A one "bedroom" 30 foot RV became home, and every week they ministered at different churches and camps. During the winter season, Carl directed the Children's Ministry department at a church in Hampton, Virginia, until it was time to return to the road the following Spring.
There were 4 churches where Lussier Family Ministries ministered during the spring of 1992, one being Hedgesville Assembly of God in Hedgesville, West Virginia.
With many vacant weeks before summer, and no place to go, then Pastor, Lou Whitford, on behalf of the church, generously invited Carl and family to stay whenever needed.
At the end of 1992, Carl took a staff position at a church in Willoughby Hills, Ohio. Instead of returning to travel the following summer, he stayed on until the fall of 1993. With only 4 churches to minister at this season, the Lussier family returned to Hedgesville Assembly of God for the rest of the year and into the spring of 1994. This, now, officially became their home church, handling mail and providing a place to retreat to during the off times.
Four years later, in 1988, God led the Lussier's to Barton, Vermont, where Carl would lead the local Assembly of God Church as Senior Pastor for 3 years. In this time, a stirring had begun to return to Child Evangelism... a bold move for a family of 6, with their own kids in Elementary, Middle and entering High School age. Carl shares: "In August of 1990 the Holy Spirit began to stir our hearts to return to the much needed field of Child Evangelism, to do our part in bringing in the harvest."
Spring of 1994 brought the opportunity to upgrade the RV and Truck. Instead of a 30 foot, 1 bedroom camper, 6 people could now share a 2 bedroom camper, with one room having 4 bunk beds!
...in 1993, a song was written by police officer in Virginia, Mark Mason.
The summer and fall seasons of 1994 and 1995 remained solely in the North East part of the USA: from Maine, down to Virginia, and as far west as Ohio. Contacts made in 1995 opened up new geographic opportunities. The schedule for 1996 would begin in January, first stop: North Carolina, and then on to Florida.
Another change Lussier Family Ministries would see was the absence of the oldest son, Sam, who had recently graduated high school and would be staying behind at their home church to work with their youth and children's departments.
It was at this time when the fore mentioned (now former) police officer shared his song with Sam and KidzTurn.
The vision of using video projection in the events became a reality in 1997. The funds needed to take this step were miraculously provided.
Sam rejoined the team, and 6 members of the family were together again. Matt Lussier's interest in graphic design accelerated, and video imagery accompanied many parts of the service, from the announcements to the puppet shows.
1998 introduced next-level lighting and a prerecorded opening theme song to kick off the night.
Sam had, once again, stayed behind at his home church and began leading worship there. By the time the year was done, the gift set of the Lussier family team members were becoming refined.
1999 would be a great year!
1999, the new theme is Kingdom Come, Sam rejoins the team, and 6 Lussiers headed out in January with a set that was completely different than anything they had previously created. Using spray foam insulation, a cartoon-castle became the interactive backdrop for an exciting year in Lussier Family Ministries.
For the first time, Carl didn't lead the music part of the shows. Instead, Sam took the lead, with Matt on the drums and Debbie singing backup. Another big change was the addition of a new Lussier: Laura married Sam in June of 1999, and as a bonus, she started playing the bass guitar to fill out the sound.
The ball dropped on the new millennium, and since the power stayed on, it was time for the new tour: TimeQuest 2000. It was also the KidzTurn debut of the song written by former police officer, Mark Mason.
The song was JESUS.
Then, 2001 happened.
The month of May added another Lussier to the team: Liz married Matt, which brought the RV count to 3.
"Power Factory" was the first set with so many bright colors. It really looked like a cartoon. Much of the set traveled in a home-made truck cap on the back of Carl's GMC pickup truck, which also pulled his 37 foot camper.
At the beginning of a week off in June, the GMC engine caught fire at the end of a trip, putting much of the set in danger, as well as the camper.
By the time the fire was put out, much of the set had been damaged, and equipment destroyed. The camper was spared, but the truck was finished.
With a week until Kids Camp, work began on set reconstruction and equipment replacement.
Travel day happened with a rental box truck to transport the set.
A couple weeks later, we had a new 18 foot box truck, outfitted with a hitch to tow Carl's camper.
8 Lussiers set out on the road for the 2002 theme, "Spy Force". But, on June 4th, the team member count increased by 1: Jaron Seth Lussier was born to Sam and Laura. Three generations of family were on the road, ministering to families.
Not too much to report for 2003. A terrific theme, with a more guitar-driven sound for the KidzTurn music.
The thematic elements continued to excel, the lighting improved... it was another year of great events.
Some more changes came about in 2004, when Sam and Laura were called to lead the Music and Media departments of Light House Worship Center in Gloucester, Virginia.
Debbie stepped up as the leader of music, using music tracks recorded by KidzTurn.
With the quality, complexity and expense of the sets increasing, a decision was made in 2005 to keep the same set for 2 years, instead of 1. Although the Theme wouldn't be changing, the Lessons would be different every year.
New contacts in the western part of America contributed to a new 2 year touring schedule, which would allow us to minister to more people in other areas of the country.
2006 was the second year to use the "H2O" set, and the first time Kidzturn would minister west of the Mississippi River.
After a great season away, Sam and Laura returned to the road, this time with 2 kids... Kaden Joel Lussier was 1 year old, and Jaron was now 3.
An 80's toy was coming to the big screen...Transformers...Nostalgia being a powerful influence, we Just had to tag along!
Just like the name of our 2007-08 theme, the team member count also "Transformed" from 10 to 11: Parker James Lussier was born in April... which helped the boy-to-girl ratio of KidzTurn to increase in the boy's favor. ;)
Year two of "Transformed" brought the team to the West Coast, making 2008 our first "coast-to-coast" tour.
2009 is "Power Up" time!
To prepare for this video-game theme, they needed to do some... research. And, so, the Wii and PS3 became the toys... er... TOOLS for research.
This theme continued to the end of 2010, until the set was transported to a kids church near St. Louis, Missouri, to continue to be used to bring kids to Jesus!
American Idol... Hannah Montana... The Jonas Brothers... Rock Band... Guitar Hero... yeah, it was time to kick up the volume with our audio-amped theme, SUPERSONIC! 2011-2012 introduced some new KidzTurn songs to the mix, and one of the most spectacular sets Matt had created to date.
In no time, Jaron and Kaden moved into the operation of audio tech, and along with Parker they all "stepped up to the mics" for each week's final performance of the theme song. Jaron, then 9 years old, became the official KidzTurn bass guitarist of the group!
The summer of 2011 also marked the 20th consecutive year of traveling kids ministry for the family, bringing with it testimonies of several young adults who shared how KidzTurn had impacted their life at an early age.
It's a humbling and surreal experience to be able to look back and begin to see that some of the apple seeds have now become strong, productive apple trees!
We count it an honor to be part of that process for so many.
2013 - aliens have landed
In a theme that may be long overdue...(considering KidzTurn's tendendency to "invade" church sanctuaries) Our 2013-14 tour: Aliens Have Landed, is underway.
We again had to say goodbye to Sam, Laura and the boys. While Sam has moved off the road and taken another music pastor position; they still contribute to the music elements of the theme via song writing and soundtrack creation.
Debbie is leading worship again, Rachel is learning bass and the 6 of us (and Elmer, of course) keeping truckin along, now in our 23rd year of touring kids ministring...see ya around!
"My wife Kathy and our son Sam, his wife Laura and their boys, Jaron, Kaden and Parker, our son Matthew, his wife Elizabeth, our daughter Rachel, and our daughter Deborah, are an integral part of this ministry as we labor together as a family.
Each one ministers from start to finish, filling in with their musical talent, puppetry skills, and other behind the scenes work to make it all possible."
- Carl Lussier
The Lussier's use a variety of teaching methods including: high energy music, puppetry, computer quiz game, storytelling, object lessons, energetic graphics, video projection and lighting effects. Some have called it a “Christian Nickelodeon”. Carl states, “It is our desire to present the Gospel in a clear and relevant manner to win, teach, and train young people. To help families, and the local church build the lives of children in such a way as to give them a foundation for life, by knowing Christ.”