KidMin UnConference Sparks New Ideas and Deep Connection


re:Vision

7/8/2018

KidMin UnConference Sparks New Ideas and Deep Connection

This spring a group of Children's Ministry Directors in our Conference organized an un-conference (another way of saying, a loosely structured day together to exchange information and ideas). One Monday morning on May, 18 United Methodist Childen's Ministry leaders gathered around the kitchen table to share ideas about Sunday school, favorite storybooks and how to use them, plus outlines of an activity or event to share. Two of the 18 who attended reflect on the day together.  



Kate Morris Writes

As a Children’s Ministries leader I love to hear the stories of Jesus. There are times when I need to hear someone share their story of Jesus with a different twist. This KidMin Un-Conference was created for just this reason.

The Holy Spirit filled the room as each KidMin leader arrived ready to share, to learn, to pray, to be present where God was and is at work. We began with introductions and quickly realized there were over 150 years of leadership experience represented.

With our favorite storybook, lessons for Sunday school, Children’s Moments, teacher training, dealing with grief and spiritual disciplines emerged.  

Discussions of what is working in Sunday school and the challenges of our current culture led to a renewed emphasis on teaching and some new strategies. We heard how Children's Ministry leaders are creatively splicing the gospel into Messy games, Princess Parties, Winter Ball and Splish Splash events to give kids and families an opportunity to encounter God in play and teaching.

During lunch, we shared in small groups our personal challenges and joy-filled moments.  

Then we zipped through handouts of creative ideas: Fuse, Family Prayer stations, You’ve Been Egged, Tours of Faith, Listening Stones, Promotion Sunday, Sermon notes. Toys to share lessons for Palm, Easter and Ascension Sundays, VBS, and Salvation were demonstrated. A ball of yarn reminded us we are better connected together.  

We left with the challenge to create shared events. We can gather together at the Children’s Retreats in September and January at Glisson. Plus, we can connect within our district more often using the gifts unique to our facility.  

Faith UMC has a huge field so they can host disgustingly Messy Games with scripture that ties us together. McEachern UMC has a gym for Winter Ball Night with a lesson on communion. Sam Jones UMC hosts a Princess Party with a gifted art teacher leading a project. Acworth UMC has access to Lake Acworth where we can host Splash and Splash learning lessons on Baptism. 

MiMi Sanders Writes

The most meaningful parts of this "Think Tank" for me were the prayer, fellowship, and conversation about how we are intentionally making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  

Among our group, we recognized that we each have unique gifts and talents. So what if I have a child I just can’t reach? Or a child that needs something I cannot offer? That is where we draw on our connections.

Out of this experience, I am working with another church to offer a “Created by God” workshop for my 5th graders. We don't have enough children to make this program worthwhile separately, but together, we have a great group! I am saving money on my VBS by sharing materials and decorations with another church offering the same program. By working together we have more resources available to reach these children.  

We aren't in competition with each other, we are in cooperation with each other.  

If you are not spending time with other leaders in your area of ministry, you are missing out. I encourage you to connect with others in your district and around the conference. Together we can do so much more!  

Kate Morris is Director of Children's and Family Ministry at Acworth UMC. Contact her at kate@acworthumc.orgMimi Sanders is director of Family and Children's Ministries at Tucker First UMC. Contact her at mimi_sanders@tfumc.org. For more about Children's Ministry in North Georgia (including the upcoming Fall Retreat), check out https://www.ngumc.org/childrensministries.  


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