by KidMin Staff/ May 12, 2017
Editor’s Note: The national KidMin17 conference was held April 19-21 at First Assembly in Ft. Wayne, Ind., with over 1,000 kids’ pastors and children’s leaders attending. The following is an overview provided by Danielle Christy, one of the conference attendees.
If you were not able to come to KidMin17, please know that you were greatly missed! This week was incredible, so I wanted to share some of the nuggets we received at the conference.
Wednesday morning kicked off with preconference workshops. As the day went on, the crowds became larger, the volume in the hallways became louder, and the excitement continued to grow. In the opening general session, Mark Entzminger, senior director of the Assemblies of God Children’s Ministries Agency, welcomed us, and set the tone for the conference by recognizing two amazing children’s pastors. Patsy Dennis and Dick Gruber were presented the “Lifetime Achievement Award.” Patsy serves as the children’s ministries director for the Kentucky District. Dick is a professor with the University of Valley Forge. Mark also introduced us to the new Director of Leadership, Kelly Presson.
Rod Loy, lead pastor at First Assembly in Little Rock, Ark., served as the keynote speaker for general session 1. Rod reminded us that, “We will never accomplish God’s purpose with man’s effort,” and that, “Jesus must increase and I must decrease.” Rod closed by reminding us that we have the authority of the Lord, citing John 14:12-14. At the conclusion, Rod presented each of us with our own “General’s Coin” to remind us that “though we may be a nobody, we represent the Great Somebody.” On each coin the “8 Goals for Kids” is inscribed: “Powerful in Prayer, Responsive in Worship, Biblically Fluent, Spirit Empowered, Actively Serving, Bold in Faith, Giving Selflessly, and Living like Christ.”
After the general session, over 600 conference participants attended the Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge banquet. The gym was beautifully decorated, the food was wonderful, and next to the stage was a giant inflatable Buddy Barrel. David and Mary Boyd, director and coordinator of BGMC, recognized churches who had given substantial amounts to BGMC in 2016. Throughout the evening several missionaries were welcomed to the stage to highlight their ministries. A highly favored guest that Mary Boyd recognized on stage was Carson Rudy, for having raised over $100,000 for BGMC in his short lifetime. At the banquet conclusion, David Boyd asked each missionary in attendance to stand, and they were given a rod to hold above their heads. As the missionaries held their rods, David reminded us of the story of Moses and how Aaron and Hur held his arms up during battle. He then asked us to gather around the missionaries to pray for them. As children’s pastors and leaders, we are put in a unique position to be able to uphold the arms of missionaries around the world through our prayers and financial blessings, as well as teaching the kids in our churches about BGMC and missions.
The day started with high energy, excitement, and anticipation as over 1,000 children’s leaders came together from all areas of the country. The day ended with each of us praying for one another and remembering that Jesus needs to be the focal point of our lives and ministry.
Thursday morning started with general session 1, more workshops, and then concluded with general session 2.
The buzz for KidMin17 was continuing to grow. Hallways were filled with helpful volunteers, old friends catching up, new friends sharing ideas, and lots of amazing resources and booths. Thursday brought a packed schedule and the beginning of 120 insightful workshops. Each attendee had a chance to participate in six workshops and two super sessions, and to glean from speakers across the country. Some speakers were veterans we all know and love, while other speakers were teaching their first workshops.
Here are just a few of the amazing things taught in Thursdays workshops:
Highlighted each day was the prayer room, which was set up with eight different stations. These stations were modeled after the prayer stations demonstrated in the Tru Fire curriculum. Each offered an opportunity to connect with God in a unique and tangible way—such as reading a story from Royal Rangers in Africa and writing a blessing back to those kids, or using scrabble tiles on magnets to describe God, or finding a country on a giant globe that we wanted to pray for, and adding a sticker with our initials to that country. It was a sacred space to creatively connect with God.
During general session 2, Josh Dryer, a children’s pastor in Alaska, received the “Young Leader” award. Keynote speaker for that session was Steve Adamson, children’s pastor with Saddleback Church. Steve compared ministry to climbing Mount Everest: It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves. Steve even placed a cell phone call to Bill Burke, who has climbed Mount Everest six times and summited it twice. Steve held a mic to his mobile phone speaker as Bill explained that climbing Mount Everest is a team effort—one cannot do the climb alone. He explained this analogy to ministry: In ministry, we need to be a part of the “brotherhood of the rope.” We need to be connected tightly to Jesus and to each other.
This analogy rang true throughout the conference. We need each other. When we’re in ministry, we each must surround ourselves with kindred spirits, people of like mind who invest in ministry. We need each other. If you were at the conference, follow up with someone you met there. If you weren’t at the conference, find someone in your local area to connect with who can be on the rope of ministry with you.
Throughout the conference, the worship band, We Are One, from Gateway Assembly in Michigan, led us in powerful worship.
Day 3, Friday, included general session 3, more workshops, super session B, and a closing celebration session.
General session 3 started with Mark Entzminger being recognized, and with honoring Abby Anderson with the “Big Impact” award. Abby had an amazing story of continuing to serve God right where she was, to the point of her church regularly having more kids in attendance then adults. Mark had invited several others to be a part of blessing Abby. By the end of that session Abby was receiving: a stop at her home from Convoy of Hope’s food truck, a consultation from Plain Joe Studios for her kids church room, RV’ers from US Maps to provide the work to remodel both their church’s kitchen and the kids’ area, the first $5,000 toward materials for the remodel, and $5,000 toward her college debt from AG Trust. What an amazing blessing for Abby and her church!
Mark Entzminger was the keynote speaker for general session 3. He made mention of how this conference was different from previous ones, because this time the AG KidMin Department was unified, and each played a role in the conference as a team. As a local children’s pastor, it was encouraging to hear and to visualize all the different aspects of children’s ministry within the Assemblies of God, together in one accord.
Throughout the hallways I could hear the tone start to shift to people saying goodbye, praying for each other’s ministries, and reminding each other to hold on to all they had learned and gained while here. The rest of Friday was packed with three more workshops and one final super session.
Here are just a few of the amazing things taught on some of Friday’s workshops:
During the closing celebration, the Superfans, Josh and Jess, performed one last magic trick. We also had an opportunity to see Fred Pettet do ventriloquism, Kyle Joris use his unicycle to jump over Mark on stage, and Chris Pruett write some thank you notes to the music of Sam Saint Super Sleuth (aka Dick Gruber). Mark also announced that the workshops from this week would be put online, and that indeed there would be another KidMin conference in 2018, a week or two following Easter.
Alycia Horn called us to take the time to stop and reflect on what God had done this week, to be able to finish the sentence, “God has….” Throughout the audience, children’s leaders began to stand to thank God aloud for what He has done for them—an emotionally charged attribution to God’s mercy and grace, to say the least.
Some of the “God has …” comments were:
What has God done for you this past week? What has He done in your ministry? May we all heed Mark’s advice to: “Keep our eyes on Him and reflect His glory to the world around us.” I’m already looking forward to AGKidMin18!