The Engage Conference Did Not Disappoint!

November 13, 2012 — Leave a comment

I love being with fellow kidmin leaders.  I always seem to walk away feeling more energized and more convinced that this is indeed what God as called me to do.  This past weekend, I attended the Engage Conference in Mechanicsburg, PA.  While this was my first time attending the conference, I looked forward to all that I would learn and experience.  I was not disappointed.

The conference’s main speaker was Sue Miller, formerly of Willow Creek Community Church and currently on staff at ReThink (who publishes First Look and 252 Basics curriculum).  Sue led three main sessions, highlighting (1) what’s new in children’s ministry, (2) having difficult conversations, and (3) sustaining yourself health as a leader.  Here are some highlights of each session:

Session 1:  What’s New Now

  • 25% of people think Sundays are for church, while 75% think Sundays are for other things.
  • We need to think differently in how we plan to reach these families.  How will we reach them if they’re not in church?  1 Peter 3:15 calls us to show love first.  Consider doing a focus group from the non-traditional families at your church to find out how we can better reach them and serve them.
  • Kids today are growing up in a smart phone world.  Smart phones have made it possible for us to take the world with us everywhere we go.  How are we using social media?  How can high school and/or college students help us think of new ways to use social media?
  • We should brainstorm how we can use social media to (1) cue parents–help them disciple their kids; (2) inspire kids; and (3) rally volunteers.

Session 2:  Difficult Conversations

  • People want to be led by a new breed of leaders, leaders who are caring, authentic, willing to respect others’ ideas, able to lead change and able to navigate conflict.
  • We are called to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
  • Speak–Don’t avoid difficult conversations.  Decide to resolve the problem, remembering to attack the problem, not the person.  Confront the problem.  Take the time to do the process right.
  • The Truth–Remember HOW you communicate makes all the difference.  Lose the defensiveness.  Say what you need to say and own what you need to own.  The most loving thing you can do for your volunteers is to help them be equipped for what God has called them to.
  • In Love–Go to the right person.  Keep in mind that reconciliation is the goal–it’s not about winning.  Honor the process.

Session 3:  In It For the Long Haul

Say “no” to things graciously so that you can say “yes” to things purposefully.

Non-negotiables for you and your team:

  • Rest (allow an emotional margin to decompress).
  • Recreation
  • Friends who are life-giving
  • Refill your spiritual tank

The biggest challenge comes in leading yourself.

In addition to the main sessions, the conference offers an assortment of workshops that you can take advantage of.  I’ll share highlights from the ones I attended tomorrow.

If you live in the mid-Atlantic region, this is a conference that you and your team should attend together next year.  You won’t regret it!

Did you attend the Engage Conference?  What did you take away from it?

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