KidMin Conference 2015 – During the Conference FAQs and Tips

KidMin 2015

Yesterday I posted pre-conference FAQs and tips for Group’s upcoming KidMin Conference.  You can find that post here.

Today I thought I’d post a few of the most frequently asked during-the-conference questions along with my own personal tips:


1. What food options are available?  While meals are not included in the registration fee, Chicago has TONS of food options both on site and within a few blocks of the hotel.  

2. Where can I park? Click here for a map that will show you all the parking available around the Hyatt Regency O’Hare.

My Personal During-the-Conference Tips

  • Arrive to the general sessions early.  You’ll find freebies and fun waiting for you.  The worship is also so refreshing for me and a very special part of the conference.
  • Take advantage of the ministry conversations (happening Friday afternoon) and the Connect Groups.  These free opportunities are great ways to network and meet other attendees in an informal, yet personal environment.  I led a Connect Group for the past few years and they’ve been awesome!
  • Make arrangements to meet up for coffee with your fellow kidmin’ers.  Allow some flexibility but it doesn’t hurt to pre-arrange meals or coffee with friends.
  • Reach out to someone new.  Is someone sitting alone during meals, the workshops or general sessions?  Don’t be afraid to say “hello” and make new friends!
  • Check out the book and resource area.  An assortment of books, resources and vendors will be available.  Take time to walk through and pick up a few things.  Many vendors have freebies for you just for stopping by.
  • Relax on an over-sized Xorbee bean bag chair.  They will set up around the conference hotel for you to read, relax or catch up with friends.
  • Be flexible to get what you need: rest, connection/networking, and time to process.  The weekend is jam-packed with activity, so it’s important to move at your own pace and take the time to do what you feel is best for you.  Pray and ask the Lord for guidance.

I hope to see you at the conference!  If you see me around, feel free to come and say hi! :)


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KidMin Conference 2015 – Pre-Conference FAQs and Tips

KidMin 2015

It’s that time of year again – time for Group’s KidMin Conference! If you have read my blog for a while, then you know that i absolutely love this conference, which I have attended in Chicago (2011) and Columbus (2013 & 2014).  I am looking forward to attending again this year!

As the conference nears and momentum begins to build, there are a flurry of questions from veterans and new attendees, especially as this year’s conference has moved back to Chicago.  According to the conference organizers, here are a few of the most frequently asked pre-conference questions along with my own personal tips:


1. Do I need to register for Pre-Conference training options in advance?  Yes.  These seven-hour intensives, which include lunch, are a great way to begin the weekend.  I chose this a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Add this to your conference registration for just $59 per person.  Click here for more details.

2. Do I need to register for the workshops in advance?  No.  Once you browse through the list of workshop options, you simply show up at the workshops you’d like to take.  Beware, however, that some workshops fill up quickly and close.  If that is the case, you will need to make another selection.  Tip:  Choose several workshops for each time slot in advance if you can so that you can quickly join another location.

Options include Deeper Learning Tracks (four 2-hour sessions), Half-Tracks (two 2-hour sessions) or 2-hour workshops.

Be sure to download the Participant’s Booklet here.

My Personal Pre-Conference Tips

  • Have a strategy for attending workshops, especially if you’re coming with a group.  Here’s something to consider:  One person attends one of the deeper learning tracks, while other folks attend workshops that would support the particular learning track. This way, the information gained is not spread across every topic, rather everything their team learns can be applied to an overall concept or particular focus. After KidMin and your team has a chance to regroup, the information from all these workshops and learning tracks compliment and support the desires of the team. They go in with a plan, focus your energies, and leave with tools and concepts that can be applied immediately.
  • You can now download the KidMin 2015 participant book at Simply go to the “Downloads” tab and select “Participant Guide”. You will receive a booklet at the conference but downloading it in advance will help you to mark the workshops you’d like to take early.  **Note: Some of the workshops (like mine!) might have a date/time change.  You will receive an updated list of workshops when you arrive.
  • Confirm your hotel reservations.
  • Confirm your transportation arrangements/reservations.  If you are flying into O’Hare, there is complimentary ground shuttle from the airport to the conference hotel every 15 minutes.  Click here for more details.
  • Download your workshop handouts.  This year, the handouts are in Word format, so they are editable.  Be sure to download the handouts for your alternate workshop choices, too.  Download the handouts
  • Make arrangements to meet up for coffee with your fellow kidmin’ers.  Allow some flexibility but it doesn’t hurt to pre-arrange meals or coffee with friends.

Don’t forget to pack:

  • Money/credit card/checkbook
  • Business cards or pre-printed contact information (this can be printed on address labels) to pass out when networking
  • Comfy clothing and shoes
  • Light sweater or jacket, as rooms might be chilly
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Tote bag (to carry all of your stuff)
  • Portable snacks such as energy/granola bars, trail mix, etc.
  • Electronic devices & chargers
  • Any downloads you’ve printed ahead of time

The official hashtag for KidMin 2015 is: #kidmin15 So be sure to get connected and watch for updates, info, and more on these accounts…

Group KidMin Conference Attendees Facebook Group

Group KidMin Conference Facebook Page

Group KidMin Conference Twitter

Group KidMin Conference Instagram

Come back tomorrow for more tips!

Keep the conversation going!  Will I see you at #kidmin15?  What are you excited about? 


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Online Book Club for KidMin Leaders

Hi Friends!

This morning, I unveiled (on Periscope – gasp!) that I will be launching an online book club for kidmin leaders!  This is something that I have been feeling God nudging me to do for the past year or so but I have put it aside until now.  Stepping out in faith is hard sometimes, right?

I love being with other kidmin leaders and as I’ve had conversations with leaders and have participated in online forums, I have noticed that there are two things that kidmin leaders crave: (1) connection and support with other leaders and (2) great resources.  It’s my prayer that this book club will marry the two!

KidMin book club graphic

Here are a few logistics:

  • The book club will be moderated online (through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – and maybe Periscope).
  • I’ll select a book for us to read together – our first two books are AWESOME!
  • On the first Thursday of the month following the book reveal, I’ll host a Twitter and Facebook chat at 9pm EST.  We’ll use #kidminbookclub.

The first book I’ve selected is written by my friend, Ryan Frank.  Give Me Jesus: Gospel-Centered Children’s Ministry That Changes Lives brings together children’s ministry veterans from across the country to share what they’ve learned about gospel-centered ministry to kids, youth and families.  You’ll find practical, flexible strategies to make the good news of Christ accessible to children of all ages and abilities, train volunteers to effectively disciple kids as followers of Jesus, and weave the gospel into every lesson and activity.

Earlier this year, I interviewed Ryan about the book.  Here are highlights from our conversation:

Kathie Phillips: What was the inspiration behind your book, Give Me Jesus? 

Ryan Frank: Conversations are happening in kidmin about the newest products for ministry, but there is no power in the shiny, flashy things.  The power is in the Gospel.  It’s the driving force behind programs and volunteers.

KP: You invited friends to write portions of the book.  Why did you feel that having different viewpoints about this topic was important?

RF: It’s important to get different perspectives from different people: Children’s Ministry pastors, para-church leaders, bloggers, all from different denominations and different size churches.

KP: How does a Children’s Ministry leader make ministry fun and engaging while keeping the Gospel front and center?

RF: Start by making it memorable.  That can be achieved through (1) solid curriculum that is Gospel-centered; (2) creative new ways to present the Gospel (through story, object lessons, visual aids and personal testimonies); and (3) engaging parents to have Gospel conversations at home.  Provide them with tools and resources to help make this happen.

One of the things that Ryan said that stood out to me was this:

When the Gospel is the focus of my ministry, the Gospel becomes more important than the methods.

I’m so excited about this book club and I hope you’ll join me!  I’ll host our first Twitter chat on Thursday, November 5th at 9pm EST.  (I’ll give you a little more time since we’re nearing the end of September).  Find me here or by searching #kidminbookclub.

Pick up a copy of Give Me Jesus here or enter to win an autographed copy of the book by emailing me by 11:59pm on Sunday, September 20th!  I want you to have this book as soon as possible!

Happy reading – and spread the word!

Let me know that you’ll be part of this book club by leaving me a comment below!

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{Book Review}: “The Biggest Story”

Recently, I received a copy of a new bible story book for children.  I love taking a look a those types of story books, particularly ones that take a different approach to traditional ones.  However, this one, in my opinion, just didn’t sit well with me.

the biggest story - cover
 About the book:
Hardcover: 132 pages
Publisher: Crossway (August 31, 2015)
In The Biggest Story, Kevin DeYoung – a best-selling author and father of six – leads kids and parents alike on an exciting journey through the Bible, connecting the dots from the garden of Eden to Christ’s death on the cross to the new heaven and new earth.  With powerful illustrations by award-winning artist Don Clark, this imaginative retelling of the Bible’s core message-how the Snake Crusher brings us back to the garden-will draw children into the biblical story, teaching them that God’s promises are even bigger and better than we think.
the biggest story - inside1
About Kevin DeYoung:
Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan.  He blogs at the Gospel Coalition and has authored or coauthored numerous well-known books, including Just Do SomethingThe Hole in Our HolinessCrazy Busy, and Taking God At His Word.  He lives with his wife and their 6 children in Central Michigan.
About Don Clark:
Don Clark is an artist and the cofounder of Invisible Creature, a widely respected and award-winning design studio in Seattle that has worked with clients such as Target, Nike, LEGO, and WIRED magazine.  He lives with his wife and their 3 children, 4 goats, 12 chickens, and 1 crazy dog on a farm just outside the city limits.
S O C I A L • C O R N E R


What I Didn’t Like:

In the beginning of the book, I was surprised to see that the word ‘snake’ had an uppercase “S”.  That was too close to making the evil one equal to God in my opinion.  Unfortunately, the book didn’t get any better.  I didn’t like some of the wording used.  Maybe it was used to be more relevant?  I’m not sure.  Some examples that stood out include:

  • “Noah was ‘just as foul’ as everybody else.”
  • “Abraham was ‘a bit of a scaredy-cat’.”
  • “God is God, so he gets to pick.”

The images were also a bit scary, so it’s definitely designed for older children.  One of the most disturbing things (and one that I showed my husband to make sure that I wasn’t seeing things) was a depiction of a skull and crossbones.  I’m not sure where that fit in to anything mentioned in the book.

I was also disappointed that there was not one reference to scripture anywhere in the book, which was a bit odd and puzzling.  It made no reference that these events took place in the bible.  It read more like fiction than a bible storybook, which was also disappointing.

My Recommendation:

This book had so much wrong with it that I cannot recommend it.

Have you seen this book?  If so, what are your thoughts?

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