Tuesday, August 05, 2014


Over the years, I have read many articles about revitalizing your ministry.  And among the principles listed is this one sage piece of advice: attend conferences.

I wholeheartedly affirm this.  If you have an opportunity to attend a local children's ministry conference, by all means go.  If you have an opportunity to attend a larger conference outside your area, do it.  And if you have the chance to go to one of the humongous national conferences (like the Children's Pastors' Conference), you will not regret it. Getting together with people outside your current ministry and learning from experts will only help and challenge you...and maybe even change your whole life and ministry.

That's what happened to me.

It was the late 90's. I didn't know what CPC was.  I was an unpaid children's pastor (the leadership didn't even call it that at first) and I was at the end of my proverbial rope. Although I have had other times in my ministry when I felt like quitting, this particular time was one of the darker times I remember. I didn't sense the leadership had any kind of vision for children's ministries.  I was having a hard time getting volunteers. I was under stress, lonely, and feeling like I had exhausted my internal resources and getting no results.

Every year, we took a group to our local children's ministry network conference. It was a one day session, with workshops and a few vendor tables, and usually a nationally known speaker.  I always got a lot out of these conferences.  But this particular one was different.  After the conference ended, I planned to hand in my resignation.

I don't remember who was leading our worship time.  But one of the songs he delivered was "I Am Child" by Mr. J.  I had never heard of Mr. J, but this song hit me hard.  It talked about something I had always known, but maybe never comprehended; namely, that children have the same power of the King in them as do adults.  I listened....and gulped...and fought back tears. The ministry to children was more than just the children's program at the church...it was vitally, deeply, eternally important!

And then came the keynote speaker. I won't tell you who it was (msg me if you really want to know), but even though I had heard other speakers through the years, this one approached children's ministry like it was not only the most important ministry in the world, but the most fun.  I laughed, I cried, I scribbled notes, and felt I couldn't breathe.  This man was articulating all the reasons I enjoyed children's ministries, plus all the ways that children's ministry could be so much more than a Sunday morning program.

I didn't resign.  Instead, God used that conference to rip into my being and pull out a fire for children's ministry.

I've had other low times.  I've also been to other conferences, including CPC (don't get me started...if you can, you have to go!). I'm no longer the children's pastor (another long post), but the Lord has allowed me to teach some children's ministry workshops.  And to think I almost walked away from one of the greatest adventures of all.

Why do I think you ought to go to conferences?  Because our God can use it to provide the turning point in your ministry. 

That's what happened to me.