I really do think that Groups Kidmin Conference could be a game changer. In my years of serving as a kids pastor I have seen a gigantic shift in the culture of who, how and why kids ministry is done. I think that we are starting to see those changes speed up due to social media and the changing landscape of our church and societal culture.
Massive changes we have seen in Kidmin the past few years:
1. Social Media – changed how we communicate and collaborate
2. Multi-site – Multi site has effected children’s ministry more than any other ministry in the church.
3. Media driven Curriculum – We have more media tools available than ever before.
4. Kids are more media savvy – We have to adapt because old methods will not reach a new generation of kids.
5. Access – when I started 13 years ago I had no idea where to start, who to call or what to do. Today people fresh in can tweet veterans like @jimwideman and @craigjutila and get a response. That my friends is crazy awesome.
Based on those changes here is how I think the Kidmin Conference is responding with a differnt kind of conference.
1. No vender booths – I never go to vender booths. Everything I buy I get online. I find vender booths a waste of time I would rather talk with other kids pastors who are struggling with what I am struggling with.
2. Affinity groups – I think creating relationships based on something you have in common with a facilitator helping guide the conversation is genius. Another think I dislike about traditional conferences is getting stuck next to Mr. Chatty Kathy Doll kids pastor who doesn’t let anyone else in your icebreaker group talk.
3. Fresh faces – Judging from the website we are going to hear from 1. People in the trenches with us 2. People we don’t always hear from on the “conference circuit” I like that. Looks to me like they have struck a nice balance between fresh faces and veterans. I like the balance.
4. They Get Local church – From talking to @christineyjones and her team you really get that they are passionate about equipping the local church not competing with it.
5. No green room – This is crazy awesome – It continues the intensely relational theme I am sensing so far. All speakers will be available the whole conference to talk, connect and collaborate. How many times to you have a question that you can’t ask because of the line after the breakout or who has ever seen a keynote speaker at a conference. They have special tunnels I think, not at kidmin conference. Think of your pass into the conference as your backstage pass.
If Group can pull off all these things and I think they can they will be a conference to be reckoned with. All of these reasons are why I am attending this conference this year. I may go to a couple others but I have this one locked firmly on my calendar.