Children’s ministry conferences can be fundamental assets to anyone working with children in the church. Knowing how to get the most out of the trip is important, however, not only to maximize a ministry budget, but for the leader and their ministry as a whole. Here are some thoughts on how to get the most out of a children’s ministry conference, while you’re there.
While You’re There.
Learn new concepts.
One of the main reasons you attend a conference is to learn more about how to do effective ministry. When selecting which of the breakout sessions you would like to attend, you may have the temptation to choose what interests you most. While this can be helpful, it’s likely that what interests you most are topics that you already know the most about. Try to attend at least one breakout session that you would consider to be out of the box or out of your comfort zone. Doing so can broaden your focus in ministry and allow you to pursue aspects of ministry that you haven’t given much thought.
Ministry can be a lonely profession. Children’s ministry can be even worse, because there probably aren’t very many children’s ministry leaders in your area, especially if you live in a small community. Attending a conference can change this. Be intentional about connecting with others who may be in positions similar to yours (same church size, same denomination, same region, etc.). Exchanging business cards and other contact information can help you connect after the conference. Utilizing social networks, such as Twitter and Instagram, is important as well. Most conference will even have a certain promoted hashtag for attendees to use when posting status updates. Posting and searching for this hashtag on various social networks can help you meet others who are attending the same conference.
The ideas you receive while at a conference can be like drinking from a fire hydrant. Everything comes at you at once, and it can often be difficult to take it all in. Each evening, you should brainstorm about what you learned and how those ideas can be used in your particular ministry. This will help you as you consider what is most important from the day’s activities.
If you haven’t already begun stockpiling a “database” of resources, you will want to as soon as you leave your conference. Keeping and storing information about the ministry resources that are available will allow you to revisit them once you have a need in your church for something in particular. Your instinct at a conference may be to pass on something, because you have no use for it currently, but your ministry could have different needs in the future.
Renew your spirit.
Spiritual renewal can be difficult for those working in children’s ministry, because you are often so busy putting details together for events and coming up with crafts for lesson plans. A conference can be a great opportunity to relax and spend time renewing yourself and your relationship with God. The times of worship are very meaningful and will help recharge you spiritually. Down time spent enjoying the pool or shopping can also add some much needed relaxation.
Tomorrow, I will be completing the Children’s Ministry Conference Tips series with, “When You Return.” Have any other tips for conference goers to know while they’re there? Leave them in the comments or add to the discussion on social media.