King’s Kids International began through a Scripture passage, Deuteronomy 6.6-8, and the application of that truth with a small group of families and children.
In 1976, Dale and Carol Kauffman were taking a Discipleship Training School with Youth with a Mission in Kona, HI, and the Lord spoke to them, as a young family, to stay on the base for the outreach phase and do something with the children of the YWAMers. As they were learning to involve the children with them in listening to God’s voice so that they could step out and experience Him, God spoke clearly, and during their prayer time, one of the little boys had an impression of a green frog, another saw a rainbow, and still another got a word from Isaiah 43 about gathering and being a witness to the Lord.
They prepared a little program, and as they went that day to present it, it was pouring rain. One of the little guys in the van turned to Dale and asked: “What is the name of our group?” He answered: “Well, why don’t you ask the Lord?” They had been studying about what it means to be the children of the King, and he came back with the name King’s Kids. Dale had no idea that day that it would be the launching of this ministry.
As they arrived, they encountered many problems: the rain became stronger, all the props were destroyed… But the children had heard from God, and they stepped out with the faith that many people there would actually hear the good news and that there would be people opening their hearts to Jesus. Dale was not so sure. As the program ended, there was a very disturbed person who came up to him in a very aggressive way, and he expected her to actually hit him, because she looked like she was angry. Instead, the person told him words that really changed his life. She said: “The children are so pure, I’m so dirty. Please help me!” And she just went down on her knees before Dale. The little boy who had had the impression of the green frog (that was one of the props) came alongside and said: “Dale, this is the first one.” And then they saw a number of people open their hearts to the Lord. Dale gathered the children together and asked them the question: “What just happened here?” It was a teachable moment. It was where God’s word to their hearts had been confirmed through signs following, and now these children had seen the reality of God; Dale watched them from their hearts come to recognize who He was and their choice to love Him and obey Him.
From this original experience and outreach, Dale and Carol went on obeying the Lord. In the beginning, they didn’t felt like having a specific calling to the younger generation, and they didn’t plan to launch a ministry. KKI was first mainly a summer activity where kids, teenagers and families went on outreach to pray, serve and worship the Lord. The first mandate was mainly levitical and prophetic. They taught the children to do everything for the Lord as their first ministry – before any kind of service or evangelism. Everything was flowing out of worship and a desire to bring joy to God’s heart. Singing and dancing became the main tool they used, and they saw tremendous doors opening in Japan, Europe, former USSR and in the Americas. KKI began to multiply through the YWAM network.
This ministry was original in its approach – trusting the children and teenagers in their spiritual capacity, not just alone, but taking them alongside the adults and young people, so the generations love and serve the Lord together. Families were involved as a team, and parents were part of what was happening – based on the Scripture of Deuteronomy 6. It was not a ministry bypassing the responsibility of parents or a drop-off place and time for parents to subcontract their responsibility to specialists. Parents were trained, involved and active.
With the time, KKI developed year-round teams with regular discipleship meetings. In our setting, discipleship is something that happens in daily life, not just in meetings. It started to develop outside of YWAM in local churches and ministries, so developing a network of partners and influence. It also developed a strategy going from mobilization to discipleship, then to children evangelism and mercy ministries. It was not designed only for Church kids, even if this was the way it started. And KKI went on to develop other expressions and tools apart from performing arts: sports, creative prayer (Daniel Prayer Groups), family camps and training, NIKO (a character-building camp in the wilderness for teenagers to prepare them for mission), training strategies based on rites of passage (like a pre-teen training), children evangelism tools and strategies (in Switzerland and France, for instance, many churches are being trained by King’s Kids to reach out to children in their neighborhood, building so friendships and influence around them. Thousands of kids are reached this way through what we call Quartier Libre and MK4), school ministry, See & Know for toddlers and pre-schoolers, educational and youth activity centers, care for orphans and street children… The creativity of KKI seems limitless, and because of the emphasis on worship and listening to the Lord, they get new ideas and serve as laboratories to test new things in the way to work with the younger generations and their families.
They offer regular training in different places of the world, in the context of a YWAM school called PCYM (Principles in Child and Youth Ministry), where people interested to join or learn from KKI principles and experience can participate.
KKI is now active and present in about seventy-five nations. The form and type of ministry can vary as this depends on the leader’s giftings and calling, but it all revolves around relationships and sharing the same vision and seven values.
Ron Boehme, an American YWAM leader wrote:
King’s Kids now includes thousands of parents, teens, and children going out on summer mission teams and serving in long-term works all over the world. My own family of eight grew up in a King’s Kids ministry … Our kids were blessed to be born in the first era of history where youth and children could take a role in completing the Great Commission.
Dr. Dan Brewster writes,
“Let us not leave the impression that our missiological interest in children is only because they are the most receptive of ‘people groups.’ They are also very effective instruments and agents for mission. How important it is for mission leaders to grasp the reality and significance of the agency of children in their strategies and plans for effective mission!”This is exactly what KKI is focusing on.
 Ron Boehme, The fourth wave: Taking your place in the new era of missions (Seattle, WA: YWAM Publishing, 2011), 134-135.
 Dan Brewster. It’s time to take children and youth seriously.