If 19 years in ministry has taught me, anything it has taught me that leading is difficult. There are times where you are on top of the world and other times where you feel the world is collapsing around you. The challenge is not to give in the going gets hard and to not blow up when things are going your way.
In life and ministry success is an amazing by-product but a terrible goal and an even worse master. The challenge for each of us especially those in ministry is to measure our lives by the right yardstick. It is very easy to get sucked into the more is better; leadership fixes everything trap. The modern leadership movement has done much to help pastors and churches, but we must also be aware of the damage it has done and continues to do. There has slipped in this idea of a post-modern, secular identity that we can rise from obscurity to be the church everyone in the nation is talking about. If we allow success to be our goal, business strategies to be our mantra and CEO’s to be our heroes we will be swallowed up by the success we think will earn God’s favor and man’s respect. Tim Keller in his book Making Sense of God says the secular identity brings a crushing burden with it.
I remember the day it first dawned on me that being a man in children’s ministry was like being a rainbow unicorn in real life. I was at a Kids ministry conference at Willow Creek 15 years ago and I had to use the bathroom. Every bathroom but one, in the whole church had been converted to a women’s bathroom. It was at that painful moment, the realization came to me. I am not the average kids pastor. I have since found that I am not as rare as I felt in that moment in the halls of Willow Creek Community Church. The past 15 years we have seen more men see the value of ministry to kids, this is very heartening. So as a man what do I appreciate most about Group’s Kidmin conference (other than their very short lines for the men’s room?)
1. Their attention to ministry to whole person. – From opportunities to network to prayer/ministry rooms for pastors who need ministry. Group goes out of their way to minister to minsters. There are plenty of practical breakouts and how to’s but if we are not whole and we are not healthy in our relationship with God and others how we do ministry doesn’t really matter.
2. Humor – I love to laugh. Every year they have “The Skit Guys.” It’s rare that you go to a conference where the artists on stage tap into the inner Jr. High boy in every man. Believe me ladies there is a Jr. High boy in every man. They are hilarious and they are guys. From their Jr. High boy antics to serious vignettes I always leave refreshed and challenged.
3. Options – I don’t know if this is a guy thing but I love lots of options. I love learning in breakouts, in hall ways and after everything is over in restaurants. Group does a fantastic job of connecting people and creating intentional places to meet people like you on purpose (connect groups) or on accident (zorbe chairs).
This will be my third Kidmin Conference. I hope you join me. I would love to hang out talk Family Ministry, baseball or just stare off into space and say nothing because guys like that.
I remember several years ago being part of a conversation about what makes a conference great with Christine Yount-Jones and her team at Group. One of the things that came out of that conversation was the need for authentic conversations. The Kidmin Conference that Group puts on does many things well, what I think they do better than any conference I have been to is create intentional space for conversations to take place. From the affinity groups, to structuring time in breakouts for interaction, to the placement of Xorbee chairs all over to create conversational pit stops.
What I am looking forward to most at the Kidmin conference is using those opportunities to learn from old friends and new friends alike.
This year I was honored to be invited back to help add to the conversation. I am incredibly excited to do that by discussing a couple of things that are important to me. This year my breakouts will center about the why, what and how of communicating the gospel to kids. In years of ministry to kids in the same church I have become more aware of our need to do those things with excellence. If we don’t understand why those gospel matters to kids what we say and how we say it will have less impact. If we know why the gospel matters but don’t know how or what to say about it the impact will never be felt by our kids. I hope to help paint a picture of the power of the gospel how we need it as much as the kids we serve and when we understand that fact it will change everything for us even how we practically communicate to kids.
I really hope to see you there. I am praying that every person that comes is changed for the sake of the kids they are called to serve.
Register Here Register Now!
If you want to come and can’t afford it I have good news I am giving one free registration to Group’s Kidmin Conference. Please enter via the form below.