“Thank you for investing in me as a professional Christian educator and as a sister in Christ. Thank you for providing the means and support for continuing education so that we are always serving at our best.” This is the text I sent to some members of our church’s Staff Parish Relations Committee and my supervisor the week I gathered with other professional Christian educators for an online conference I shared with other kidmin leaders.
If ever there was a time to model Christian community and deep dive into learning the best practices for reaching our community for Jesus, this is it. Travel days at the beginning and end of a conference invite us to share how and what we offer the families we serve. We talk about curriculum, special events, and tell stories of God’s faithfulness among our families and our community. We laugh, we snack, we get caught up in one another’s lives in faithful Christian community. We visit sacred spaces along the way. We laugh our heads off. (The picture above is of the Augusta Wesley Foundation’s worship space in downtown Augusta)
We work together to prepare and share meals, we chat about books we’ve read, people we’ve met, and which blogs/podcasts we are gleaning from to be catalysts for organizational health, to be better teachers and team members. We talk ministry in the local church 24/7. Really. 24/7. If we’re awake, we talk about Jesus and how we’re living a disciple’s life. We share struggles. We pray.
The online conference provides the content and direction of conversations and ideas for how to roll out the best information in our contexts. We push back and wrestle some stuff to the ground. We stay at the table.
When the conference content is finished for the day, it’s time to process what we heard. We take care of our bodies (bike rides and coffee…more table life) and talk through the best of what we can take home to steward the ministry and families to the next level which may prove effective, relevant, developmentally appropriate in partnership with the families and staff team we serve.
So many holy habits practiced (prayer, Bible reading, serving, worship, learning, giving testimony, Christian community) as we model and live a disciple’s life in Christian community alongside other faithful disciples.
At the 2022 Children’s Pastors Conference we chose the online platform offered. CPC+ is presented by the amazing disciples at INCM, International Network of Children’s Ministry. The online platform was less expensive for registration, housing, and transportation in good budget stewardship this year for several of us in February while other colleagues were able to participate at the in-person event in January.
We’ve planned a CPC Recap event to share with our family ministry colleagues this week about bummer lambs, evangelism in any environment, tools to invite, incite, and equip families, as well as toolbelt tools to fight spiritual warfare and the differences in offering Bible knowledge and Bible wisdom for littles today. That was just the first day! In-person and online participants will be sharing at the recap hosted by an Alpharetta local church kidmin team for we are better together.
At the Child Discipleship Summit in Charleston two weeks later, we worked in small groups on how and why we must advance our maps for church growth of edu-tainment to the ‘twin cities’ of faithfulness and lasting faith as we fight secularism and teach our kids their truest identity is as a child of God. This room of leaders are pushing the doors and windows to lead littles into a radical pursuit of God, the total annihilation of idols, the resetting of altars in the home, at church, and in the community, wholehearted obedience to God’s Word, and the restoration of redemptive practices. We are missionaries in a land hostile to the things of God! Let’s draw new maps together.
The more I’ve chatted with others about what I’ve learned, the easier it is to bring a lot of great content into chewable pieces to implement and filter in my context. The Lord is setting the table today for what effective discipleship looks like, sounds like, smells like, and feels like in 2030 and beyond. I’ll bring a folding chair to the table the Lord is setting if I have to.
What are you learning? How are you processing what’s coming into your brain and getting lit up by the fire of your Holy Spirit? What’s the barrier for family discipleship in your context? What could be the greatest accelerator for family discipleship?
“You can hold confetti and kleenex at the same time.” – Michayla White, CEO, INCM, CPC+2022
“Our children will look back on their childhood and find we created a lukewarm church. We’ve been asleep at the wheel.” – Rev. Jon Tyson, Child Discipleship Summit 2022