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! 🙂


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? 


“LET IT BE JESUS” Review & Giveaway

The first time I heard of Christy Nockels was during the weeks and months leading up to the 2014 KidMin Conference.  Christy was slated to lead worship during portions of the conference, so I was definitely looking forward to hearing her.
I was not disappointed!  Christy’s voice was phenomenal.  Her stage presence spoke confidence.  Her personal stories in between songs were ones I connected to.  She was able to usher thousands of kidmin leaders into worship in a very special, personal way.
When I was presented the opportunity to review Christy’s new CD, “Let It Be Jesus”, I jumped at the opportunity and once again she didn’t disappoint.
The CD has a mix of slow and upbeat songs, all of which are worshipful.  I envision that many of the songs will become favorites of church worship leaders and contemporary Christian music lovers everywhere.  My absolute favorites are tracks 2, 5 and 6.
You will love this CD in church, in the car, at home, and everywhere.  Be sure to grab it when it releases on April 28th…OR…you could enter to win a digital copy!
About Christy:
As a worship leader for many years, she has been an integral part of Passion Conferences from its inception in 1997.  She’s seen first hand music sweep people into the presence of God in a powerful way. A pastor’s kid, who was born in Fort Worth and raised in Oklahoma, she grew up singing in church. She met her husband, Nathan, in 1993 at the Christian Artists Seminar in Estes Park, Co. They recorded an independent record with fellow worship leader Charlie Hall under the name Sons & Daughters that led to an invitation from Louie Giglio to participate in the first Passion conference in Austin. Christy’s voice gained a national platform when she and Nathan formed the duo Watermark, recording four acclaimed albums before that musical season ended, paving the way for Christy’s solo career. In 2008, the couple moved to Atlanta to become part of Passion City Church where she serves on the worship team with sixstepsrecords labelmates Chris Tomlin and Kristian Stanfill. The following year, Nockels released her acclaimed solo debut, Life Light Up and spent much of the next two years touring with Tomlin and Passion.
S O C I A L • C O R N E R
 Enter to win a digital copy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

A Twist on Volunteer Training: “Leader Lunch & Learn”


Training and equipping our kidmin leaders is of utmost importance if we want them to lead well in their ministry area and to have longevity in serving with us.

There are many challenges when it comes to volunteer training, however.

How can we make it beneficial to rookies and veterans alike?

How can we make it appealing so that they’ll actually come out for the event?

Are there some creative elements we can incorporate to make it fun and memorable?

What can we call it other than ‘training’?

How do we make it both informative and engaging?

There are so many resources available for kidmin leaders to take advantage of to train and equip volunteers.  One of the best resources, in my opinion, are workshops that I attend.  Many times when I travel to national workshops I am unable to take staffers or volunteers with me, so I try to find ways to share what I’ve learned in various contexts.  Usually, I purchase audio recordings from the places I attend and pass them along to others.  However, I felt compelled recently to try something different.

I attended Group’s KidMin Conference back in September and one of the workshops I took there was called “50 Ways to Bring the Bible to Life”.  (You can pick up my notes here).  I loved the premise and content provided, so I thought that it would be cool to teach my version to our elementary and preteen leaders.  I absolutely THRIVE on preparing for events like this, so I was very excited about how it would come together.

When I began thinking about a catchy name for this event, I knew that it wouldn’t be called “training”.  I mean, that screams excitement, right? NOT!!  So after some careful thought, I landed upon Leader Lunch & Learn.  This past Sunday, I hosted our very first Leader Lunch & Learn and it was great!  Here are some details about the event:

I wanted this event to be (1) a time of fellowship (over a delicious lunch that we provided, of course!), for the leaders to get to know each other better in an informal, casual setting; (2) informative – leading a group of children requires our leaders to know what they’re doing; (3) practical – I wanted the information presented to be something that they could use right away; and (4) engaging – I wanted attendees to get share ideas (it’s always a good idea to have team members learn from each other) and practice what they’ve learned.

Keeping those four things in mind, the event began to take shape.  I designed an invitation that was sent to adult and student leaders via email (I used Mail Chimp).  I set up responses to go to a form I created on Google Forms – very easy to do.  Then I used the workshop notes to come up with a time flow/outline for the 90 minutes that we’d have together:


Welcome & Overview (5 minutes)

I welcomed everyone, thanked them for coming and gave them an overview of what our time together would look like.

Lunch & Fellowship (20 minutes)

Since we held this event immediately following our 2nd service hour, serving lunch was not an option.  I landed on a simple, delicious lunch that was very affordable and easy to set up:  I ordered a deli sandwich wrap platter and provided potato chips, fresh fruit, cookies, brownies, iced tea, lemonade and bottled water.

Introductions, Introduce the “Smarts”, Have team take “Smarts” Inventory (7 minutes)

Our elementary and preteen ministries are run separately, so many of the attendees had never met each other.  We took a few minutes to introduce ourselves and then I had them quickly fill out the “Got Smarts” inventory (that was included in the workshop notes) so that they could discover their primary “smart”.

Review responses from “Got Smarts” Inventory, Talk about “Smart Chart”, and Ways to Incorporate these ideas into their large group & small group times (25 minutes)

After reviewing the responses from the “Got Smarts” inventory, we discussed what each ‘smart’ looked like and ways to incorporate each ‘smart’ into our lessons. Since each of our volunteers is very gifted and creative, I wanted them to learn from each other, too, so they tossed out additional ideas that were not included in the original notes.  They had some great suggestions!

Group Assignment & Sharing

I wanted everyone to get some practice incorporating what they had learned, so I broke the group up into 3 smaller groups and assigned each group a Bible story: The Good Samaritan (Luke 10;30-37); Jonah and the Whale (Jonah 1); and Feeding of the 5000 (Matthew 14:13-21).  Their task was to brainstorm ideas to bring the Bible to life by incorporating each ‘smart’ into that particular Bible story.  Boy did they do an awesome job with that.  When they shared their ideas, I was blown away!  You can read their ideas here.

Wrap Up/Thank You’s

I closed our time together by reminding them to not be afraid to think outside of the box and infuse creativity into their lessons to help the Bible come to life for every student in their group.  I affirmed them, thanked everyone for coming and reminded them to take home a special treat I had prepared for them.  Since we were talking about ‘smarts’, it was only fitting to use “Smarties” in the treat bags.

Take-Home Treat (the front)
Take-Home Treat (the front)


Take-Home Treat (the back)
Take-Home Treat (the back)

As a result of preparing for this training event, feedback was so positive that we will offer a new topic every other month.  I asked volunteers for suggestions on future topics and so we’re set for our next event, which will be held in January.  I can’t wait!

Now it’s your turn – what does your volunteer training/equipping opportunities look like?  Share what works for you below!