Rogue Valley Children's Ministries Network
That was one of the earlier insights by Kevin Geer, keynote speaker at this year's regional Children's Ministries Conference, sponsored by the Rogue Valley Children's Ministries Network. It was a cool, cloudy morning as our group arrived at the absolutely gorgeous Bethel Church in Medford. This conference is a highlight of the year for our team of KidServants...a time of fellowship, music, workshops, and equipping. In years past, we've had speakers from all over the country come with their encouragement, challenge, and inspriration. Kevin Geer was no exception.
Bethel Church, located high on the hill on the outskirts of MedfordMr. Geer, who is the Children's Ministries Director for the Northwest Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God, developed the theme of INVEST-INCLUDE-IMAGINE in three general gatherings. In the first session ("INVEST"), Kevin challenged us to invest in children, but also to invest in our families and in ourselves.
The second session ("INCLUDE") took the form of a panel Q & A with other children's ministry leaders fielding submitted questions. The point was to demonstrate the need to network with other ministers.
The third gathering ("IMAGINE") drove home the idea that, in spite of what we imagine ourselves to be, we are ultimately those made in the image of God.
The general gatherings also featured praise music by the Michael Bahn Band. We were also treated to an outstanding puppet presentation by the Faith Puppeteers! The general sessions were punctuated by the workshops, which presented a variety of topics along different tracks. I managed to pick up some books at the vendor's tables (budget prevented me from buying more, but oooooboy!)
Faith Puppeteers rock out to the B-I-B-L-E
There are dozens of outstanding conferences during the year. As the Lord provides funds, I like to attend the CPC in San Diego. There are other opportunities to learn, fellowship, and network on a huge scale (Kid U, Northwest C.E. Conference, Saddleback, etc.). But I would encourage anyone and everyone to check their local children's ministry associations and networks for smaller, regional conferences which provide a great opportunity to build yourself up with men and women who are in your neighborhood and with whom you can have coffee without having to drive hundreds of miles. It is a blessing and a half (as a friend of mine is fond of saying).