When attending a children’s ministry conference, some of the best and most helpful information comes in the carpool to the conference. I don’t drive because I am an awful navigator. So armed with a yellow legal pad and a cellphone (to make online inquiries along the way), I ask questions and take notes of the multiple conversations that follow.  In response to a conversation at our monthly, district networking group, several of us gathered together for a day. The goal was to share a few things and take home a few things to help us in our local church ministries. Think: Carpool to a conference without the conference.

Instructions went out in an email like this:

Hello!

We are moving the planning day to Wednesday, Feb 22 to make sure L and C can participate.  S, hoping that is good for you, too.
We will meet at Wesley Chapel UMC from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to brain storm together how we can use ministries and programs to reach out into the community and/or nurture the faith of our kids and adults.
Bring 8 copies of what you have already done with LOTS of details AND ideas that have been simmering.   If you have supplies to share, then bring them too.  Got something you don’t know what to do with? Bring it!  Got a picture of something you’ve seen? Bring it.
Bring your lap top AND what ever you like to brain storm with (chart paper, marker board, jump rope, endless diet coke).
Bring your calendar.  Hard copy might be easiest to pencil things here and there.  If we all like the idea it would be great to create a bin of reusable supplies to pass from church to church as the events are scheduled.
We will have chili and baked potatoes for lunch.  D is baking the potatoes. K is bringing the chili.  Respond with what you’re bringing: salad, corn bread, toppings, etc.
Bring your own beverage and cup.  There is ice available on site as well as a tea pot for hot water. (Of course there is!)

We set up our computers, opened in prayer, then each champion answered the question: What do you HAVE to get out of today? What is your “If I don’t get anything else, I’ve GOT to get this”?

We put up big post-it notes with areas of interest and focus, then added what we’re already doing under each area with little post-it notes. We each offered a couple of ‘already doings’ with the prep paperwork and even emailed info to everyone if all we had were electronic copies.

We each walked out filled with at least two new ideas and the prep paperwork to tweak to best fit our contexts. We also walked out with encouragement, fuel for the journey, and memories of laughter and good food. Fruitful table life! These folks are ninja warrior champions when it comes to ministry with children. Some have been doing kidmin for more than 20 years, others just 3 years.  Oh how I love the connection!

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

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