Last week was the Children’s Pastors Conference sponsored by the International Network of Children’s Ministry, an empowering organization which serves leaders who champion the discipleship of kids and families. The event was held at a great facility in Orlando. It’s been five years since I attended and was thrilled with the intentionality of so many details, such as…

1. The pace – No standing in lines to pickup registration materials, but rather a welcoming party with tables, music, donuts as we waited to be invited in by groups upon arrival. Most of our group were in the green circle group. I was in the blue star group. Day 1 was all general/plenary sessions and coaching. Days 2 & 3 was general/plenary session and workshops. With 8-10 food trucks and a two-hour lunch time there were lots of opportunities for conversation and sharing. Early nights, not-oh-dark-thirty mornings, and the locations of rooms to meeting spaces could be trekked easily. A detail? Put the schedule inside front cover. Wonderful! A detail? Everything began with a worship & prayer experience with stations throughout the general session area. Fabulous!

2. The diversity – The general/plenary sessions were led by an intentionally diverse group of leaders. By diverse, I mean men and women of different ages and cultures. They were ALL funny and knew their craft. All the messages were based on Hebrews 11 & 12, By Faith. I can’t ever remember attending a conference where the messages were so congruent from the first with Beth Guckenberger to the last with Bob Goff. And the speakers were all easily accessible. These folks are big deals, yet I couldn’t see a pedestal anywhere, if you know what I mean. And by diversity, they shared from scripture about the ‘not so shiny’…Rahab, Gideon, Moses, Saul, and Samson.

3. The accessibility – There were multiple stations led by multiple faces for customer service. Want to change your reserved workshop? Easy-peasy at the customer service desk. I wanted to change my last workshop, but was told it was full. So I hung around outside the meeting room before it started and I was able to enter with a dozen or so empty seats waiting to be filled. The Executive Director, who I’m sure had other things to do, stood anywhere there was a line to chat with attendees. Not only did she chat, but she constantly asked those of us connected to look for those who were not connected and invite him/her into our connection.

4. The connection – There were more than twenty-two attendees from North Georgia. There were nine of us who traveled in a church bus driven by an amazing kidmin champion. Five of us stayed in a suite so there would be a community space to be shared with others. We shared space. We shared resources. We shared meals. We laughed our heads off. We did laundry. We shared table life. A major part of Day 1 was the intentional connection offered by 103 coaches in three different sessions. 309 children’s pastors coached by children’s pastors in the trenches.  It was powerful. I’ll share my experience as a coach next week.

My cup runneth over. My heart is full. My head is full. My cart of resources is full. My favorite resource? The research-based workshop leader kit for parents on the ten greatest influencers of spiritual health for kids. So excited! CPC is every January. It’s worth it. I’m so grateful for my church leadership choosing to invest in me and my colleagues in this powerful and amazing way. We’re making plans for next year. Want to ride?

“Rahab had seconds to choose faith. (Stomp the floor like the soldiers knocked on her door as they were searching for the Hebrew spies). Understanding can wait. Obedience can not.” – Pastor Chaco De Jesus