2014 Group KidMin Conference

There is quite a bit of buzz surrounding next week’s Group 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).  I am looking forward to attending again this year!

I am connected to a few kidmin online groups and have seen a plethora of questions from conference-goers.  According to the conference organizers, here are a few of the most frequently asked pre-conference questions along with my own personal tips:

FAQ’s

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 did this year 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.

Take a look at this year’s offerings on the website or by downloading 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.
  • Download your Participant’s Booklet.  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.
  • Confirm your hotel reservations.
  • Confirm your transportation arrangements/reservations.  If you are flying into Columbus, it is recommended that you make reservations for the ground shuttle from the airport to the conference hotels.  While a reservation is not required, those with reservations will be able to board the shuttle first.  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 here, using “surge2014″ as your log in code.
  • 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 cards/checkbook
  • Business cards or pre-printed contact information (this can be printed on address labels) to pass out when networking
  • Light sweater or jacket, as rooms might be chilly
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Portable snacks such as energy/granola bars, trail mix, etc.
  • Electronic devices & chargers

Come back tomorrow for more tips!

**A special thank-you goes out to Rochelle Dorsey & John Guerra for allowing me the opportunity to post on Group’s behalf.

Keep the conversation going!  Check out what’s being said about the KidMin Conference on Facebook here and here & on Twitter here.   Use hashtag #kidmin14.  

 

I pray often that God will equip me to be the best leader I can be.  I take my role as a leader very seriously and want to honor God through my service.  I would say that, as the oldest child in my family, leadership comes fairly natural to me.  I often quote, “Well, somebody has to be in charge!”

Sometimes, however, I like to take a seat on the ‘back row’ and observe.  I don’t always like to be in charge, especially in casual, non-ministry-related environments.

Case in point…last month, we painted my daughter’s bedroom.  My sweet girl waited so patiently for many months’ worth of filled calendars and family obligations for her bedroom makeover.  We set the date; she selected her color scheme; she purchased accessories with her own money; she and my husband prepped the walls and purchased supplies.

One of the finished walls - she loves her teal and purple color scheme!

One of the finished walls – she loves her teal and purple color scheme!

But we were missing something: a project manager.  No one was in charge of the project!  This became frightfully clear after I watched my husband make three additional trips to the home improvement store when we ran out of supplies.

That recent home improvement experience brought to mind 5 reminders about leaders:

1. Someone has to be in charge.  Why?  Because:

  • It minimizes confusion.  Knowing who is in charge helps keep everyone focused and on task.
  • It saves time and money.  Because no one was in charge, we wasted time going back and forth to the store and spent hundreds of dollars more than we planned.  Some lessons you only learn once!
  • A leader will think through a plan – what needs to be done, who needs to do what, what supplies are needed, etc.

2. A leader is responsible for having a vision and keeping that vision in front of the team.  Remind people what you’re working toward and what it will take to get there.

3. A leader does not need to have all of the answers.  It is not a sin to say, “I don’t know.”  Not only does this keep you human and relatable but it also keeps you learning.  Leaders are learners.

4. A leader does not need to have all of the ideas – or the best ideas.  During our home improvement project, all of us had great ideas to make the project more enjoyable – and most of them did not come from me.  Very refreshing!

5. A leader needs to be their team’s biggest advocate.  As the hours went on and our bodies grew tired, I reminded everyone of how good a job they were doing.  I even sang to my family to keep the mood light!  (I know they appreciated that.)

As a kidmin leader:

  • Do you embrace and own your leadership role?  Do you accept your role as a gift from God?
  • Have you asked God for wisdom and discernment for your ministry?  Do you pray and spend time in His Word regularly? Are you in a position to hear what He’s telling you?
  • Do you have a teachable spirit?  What are you learning?
  • Are you humble?  Do you consider the ideas of others?
  • Are you your ministry’s biggest advocate?  Do those under you feel you fight for them?  Do you share all of the great things happening in your ministry?  Do you ask people to pray for your ministry on a regular basis?

Keep the conversation going!  Which of these points resonated with you the most?  What would you add to the list?

 

Kickoff Sunday

September 12, 2014 — 2 Comments

This past Sunday, we launched our new ministry year.  Children were moved up to their new classrooms, new leaders made their way to their classrooms and an air of excitement was in the air.

We made a few adjustments to our programming and ministry spaces this year.  These changes were made based on feedback from leaders and parents as well as logistical needs.

Nursery (Birth – 23 months):  We were extremely blessed to have our 4 nursery classrooms repainted over the summer.  We chose softer, child-friendly colors that refreshed our space and make it feel more cozy.  We’ll add some wall decor and other decorative elements in the coming weeks, but it’s amazing what a coat (or three) of paint can do to a room!  We’ll also have our nursery hallway painted in the coming weeks.

Preschool (Age 2 – Kindergarten):  This summer, we consolidated our preschool classrooms from 4 classes to 2.  This was not only done because of summer attendance but because I also think that summer is a great time to experiment and change things up.  During the school year, we had a 2’s class, a 3’s class, a Pre-K/4’s class, and a K/5’s class.  In June (and continuing through August), we kept our 2’s class but provided a mixed-age class for 3’s – 5’s.  This format change was well-received from both leaders AND parents, so we wanted to give it a try for this school year.

We decided upon separate classes for 2’s and 3’s and a mixed-age class for 4’s & 5’s.  So far, feedback has remained positive and the new format has allowed us to bring in additional student leaders to take more responsibility as worship, games and small group leaders.

Elementary (Grades 1-3):  Changes made in this area were more logistical.  We wanted to be more intentional about encouraging relationship-building between students and leaders & students to each other.  Instead of setting up activity stations around the room (our 1st-3rd Graders meet in a large room that has dividers we pull after our large group time), we now have students go directly to their small group after they are checked in.  Our leaders will now prepare arrival & session starter activities for their group to encourage friendships within the group.  Each small group area is marked with a posted sign that will help children easily find their group.

We were also extremely blessed to have more college students join this age group this year.  Their passion and energy will bring a new level of excitement to our elementary area!

Making Kickoff Sunday Fun!

With all of these changes in place, we also wanted to be more intentional about welcoming families, thanking volunteers for serving and thanking children for coming.

Welcoming Families

Four dozen (that’s right, 48!) balloons were placed strategically throughout the church (upstairs and on the lower level where our classrooms are) to say “Welcome!”  These balloons made our morning look like one, big party!  And because children were moving to new classrooms, we asked a few moms to come in to greet families and help direct them to their new classrooms.

Thanking Volunteers

It has been a desire of mine to have a cozy space of their own to gather and grab refreshments on Sunday mornings.  My Associate Director has done a fabulous job of making sure we have treats each week but this past Sunday we opened up The Hammock.  Since 3 of our ministry areas have a backyard/nature related name, The Hammock is a good fit to describe our volunteer space.  My supervisor and our summer intern did a nice job making my vision come to life.  During the week, we’ll have our kidmin staff meetings in this space.  Check it out for yourself:

The Hammock - our new volunteer lounge

The Hammock – our new volunteer lounge

 

The food table

The food table

 

Water & handouts for volunteers to pick up

Water & handouts for volunteers to pick up

 

Thanking Volunteers

Our summer intern, Erin, had a great idea – let’s give our volunteers a small gift on Kickoff Sunday.  I loved it!  In yesterday’s post, I talked about our theme for the year, and Erin put together a lovely gift that tied in to it.

I'll never look at M & M's the same!

I’ll never look at M & M’s the same!

 

Thanking Children for Coming

We also thought that it would be a nice touch to give children a small gift for coming on Kickoff Sunday.  Erin put together small gift bags that were distributed to children ages 2 – Grade 5.  We will keep leftovers and give them out to children who are visiting us for the first time.  Such a cute idea!

Children's gift bag

Children’s gift bag

 

Children's gift bag tag

Children’s gift bag card

 

Keep the conversation going!  Leave a comment below, telling me how you celebrated Kickoff Sunday in your kidmin.