Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.Psalm 118:1
It has been almost a month since I attended CPC20 and I have had time to reflect on my experience. I had a great time! I would like to thank the INCM team for putting on such a great event and for inviting me as a breakout speaker.
I enjoyed meeting and hanging out with people I hadn’t met face-to-face like Melanie Hester, Karl Bastion, Melissa MacDonald, Ken Huth Baker, Dick Crider, and Mark Steiner. I also met some wonderful new friends!
Some highlights of the conference include the general sessions. It was so wonderful to be in a room with 2000 people who shared the same passion as I do. The speakers were funny, relatable, real, and challenging. Another highlight were the food trucks! It was a hard decision to choose which truck I would visit for lunch – there were so many great options! Another highlight was the resource center – it was jammed packed with booths full of resources and I met some wonderful people!
I was privileged to present three breakout sessions and each one was full of people who were eager to learn and excited about taking what they have learned back to their churches and children’s ministries.
Lessons I Learned
- Bring a big suitcase! There were many freebies and also many resources purchased at the resource center!
- Come prepared to learn and grow – even when you are a speaker! The general session speakers and the breakout speakers all had passion and purpose and provided me with a lot to think about!
- Florida in January is a wonderful break from Regina, Canada in January! I went from -40 temperatures to +30 (+86F). But Florida is also soooo humid compared to Regina!
- The Children’s Ministry community is full of fun, passionate, interesting people who love Jesus and kids! I am so glad to be a part of this community.
It’s happened to all of us. You stifle a yawn, check the time, and sigh. This meeting is taking forever! We have all been in meetings that have been too long and too specialized. Planning meetings are important and happen for a variety of reasons in Children’s Ministry. We need planning meetings for VBS, Fall Kick-off, Christmas Pageants, Sunday School, Community events, etc. Here are 7 tips to help you have the most productive planning meetings ever!
Cast your vision at each meeting
Planning meetings often involve the nitty gritty of Children’s Ministry. They are about dates and times and places and volunteers. It is all too easy to get bogged down in detail And what ends up happening is the team being unable to see the forest for the trees.
Kids who personally know, genuinely love, and passionately obey God.
Remind your team of the bigger picture at every planning meeting. Lift them up out of the bog of detail with your vision for the children in your ministry. It is so encouraging and invigorating to hear how the event they are planning will help to fulfill your vision for the kids they serve.
Kids who love God with all their heart and desire to grow in him more.
A vision statement is a single sentence description of what you want your kids to be like when they leave your children’s ministry. A vision is important because it gives all your children’s ministry volunteers something to work towards. When a volunteer feels mired down in details, your vision statement will help them to see beyond the present frustrations. Knowing that there is a bigger picture will motivate your volunteers.
So, take a few minutes at the beginning of each planning meeting to cast your vision.
Only Call Necessary Meetings
You may, in the past, have had monthly/weekly meetings to prepare for big events like VBS. People expect them and you call them simply because that is how it has always been done. Let me encourage you to rethink how you call planning meetings. Instead of having a weekly meeting just because you always have, only call necessary meetings. Your team will appreciate the fact that you are respecting their time.
Have a clear purpose for each meeting
This tip goes hand in hand with the previous tip. Know what you want to accomplish in the meeting and as a result of the meeting. Make sure everyone at the meeting knows ahead of time or right from the beginning what the purpose of the meeting is. This allows to you stay on track and keep all participants on track as well.
Respect People’s Time
We have all been at meetings that seem to drag on and on. Have a deadline for your meeting and stick to it. Let your team know how long the meeting will be when you schedule it and then do everything you can to keep it to that time period. When your team knows that one hour meetings are actually one hour meetings, they will be more likely to show up prepared and ready to participate.
Only invite those who need to be there
These tips are all interconnected. Once you know the purpose of your meeting, you will know who you need to invite to that meeting. You don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, so let the team know ahead of time that everyone is valuable and important to the team; you also respect everyone ‘s time so there will be meetings that not everyone is invited to. Only invite those people who need to be there.
Every person there should leave the meeting with an action list
The best way to ensure a productive meeting is to give every person a to-do list. This, again, is connected to knowing the purpose of the meeting.and only inviting those who need to be there. Every person at the meeting should leave with an action list as a result of the meeting. They should have at least one item they need to accomplish before the next meeting.
Make it fun
Finally, make your meetings fun! Plan a brief ice-breaker game if it’s the first time a team is meeting together. Play fun get-to-know-each-other games. Serve coffee or cold beverages. Encourage a fun, relaxed atmosphere. People will be more productive.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.John 3:16
That is the glorious gospel! That is the message that we need to be sharing with children. The message never changes. The methods we use to tell that message are numerous. I think that it’s important to use a variety of tools as we share the gospel with children.
Halloween is a great opportunity for evangelism. It is one of the rare moments when neighborhood kids are coming to our door!
So I was excited when Steven Knight from KidminTools.com reached out with a new Halloween evangelistic tool and asked me to review it. He sent a package to me in the mail and what follows is my review of the “Is There Anything Better Than Candy?” box tract.
“Is There Anything Better Than Candy” is a 3D pumpkin that contains candy that you put together and give to kids on Halloween.
Here’s How to Put It Together
The box tract comes on a perforated sheet. of cardstock. Punch out the pumpkin. It will look like this:
Pull each pumpkin stem towards the center and hold together with your fingers. Grab one of the other “petals” and pull it to the center. “Petals” 2,3,5 & 6 have a small cut at the outer edge. Slide the two green stems through the slit. Then continue with the rest of the “petals”. (Don’t forget to put one or two Halloween candies in the center before you start assembling!)
Thoughts and Feedback
I thought this was a really fun way of sharing the gospel with children at Halloween. The box tract is colorful and unique. More importantly, the gospel message inside is written in child-friendly language without losing any of the truth of the gospel.
I like that this tract is different from booklet tracts. It’s 3D. It will grab kids attention. It’s a cool shape and very eye-catching. I also like that it contains candy. I think it’s important to include candy with evangelistic tools at Halloween and this is a really fun way to do it.
I am not a crafty person! This box tract proved easy to put together. (The fact that the numbers inside did not match the instructions for building the pumpkin threw me for a minute, but then I realized that the numbers inside were related only to the order to read the gospel message and that as long as you put together the pumpkin stems first, the rest of the “petals” could be done in any order.) This would be a fun activity to do with your children (or your Sunday School class or club kids, or whatever). The kids can be involved and have fun adding the candy and assembling the pumpkins. You can discuss what the message is and how you hope the children who receive them will respond. You can also pray together for each child who will receive this box tract.
Most tracts are designed for adults to read along with children. They can discuss what they are reading and make sure the child understands as they go along. This tract has been designed for kids to read themselves. I found a surprising amount of text on each “petal” Especially “petals” 3-6. The first “petal” has four lines of text and I think that is the limit that kids will realistically read. I think two lines of text with a cartoon would be a great solution.
This tract seems to be focused on getting the child to pray a prayer of commitment. However, it just ends there. While we want kids to come to faith, there needs to be a step beyond; some follow-up that gets a child involved in a church community. One idea, possibly, is to put a sticker in the center portion with the church website or address.
I love the creativity of this evangelistic tool. It’s a great opportunity for people to have an impact in their community for Christ.
I’m heading to Florida!
I’m excited to participate in CPC20!
International Network of Children’s Ministry (INCM) reached out recently about teaching some breakouts at their upcoming Children’s Pastor Conference (CPC20) in January.
CPC20 will be held from January 14-16 in Orlando, Florida.
I’ve chosen three breakouts that I”m excited about:
Nursery as Ministry: – Forget Babysitting! You’re Kingdom Building!
Too many people think nursery ministry is just babysitting. But it’s not! You have the opportunity to lay a strong foundation of Biblical truth. Learn how to include short prayers and key foundational Bible truths in your routine; discover how to have a Biblical conversation with babies; and inspire your nursery staff to rethink nursery.”
Sticky Students: Tips for Application Time to Make Scripture Stick
Will the lesson you taught on Sunday be remembered on the playground on Monday? Application time connects the Bible to your students’ lives. Discover effective techniques to keep application time on track, learn to include all the kids (whatever their personality), and find out how to make the Bible real for today’s kids.
Steps To Building An Amazing Bible Memory Program In Your Children’s Ministry
Is Bible memory still a relevant spiritual discipline in today’s fast-paced world? It is! And in this breakout you’ll discover the 5 simple steps that you can implement immediately to create an engaging, effective Bible memory program that will help kids grow as disciples.
:I’m excited to be at CPC20 and I’m rolling up my sleeves to create amazing breakouts that will enable the attendees to serve Jesus and kids.
I hope to see you there!