children’s ministry


i am blessed for the fourth year to serve with group’s kidmin conference.  not only does this unconventional conference challenge and minister to me as a leader, but i am also refreshed and inspired as i get a peek behind the scenes at what makes this conference tick. here are the top three things that have me cheering for kidmin 2014.

1504175_10153067875255476_4903827789263756318_o1.  the heart of the conference a couple of weeks ago i had the opportunity to attend some brainstorming sessions for kidmin 2014 at group in colorado. our charge from the very beginning was to make this conference Christ-centered and an intentional time of spiritual renewal for kidmin leaders. yes, amazing training is offered. yes, you will leave with many new kidmin friends and even more ministry ideas. yes, the speakers and bands are top notch, but what i love about this conference is that those things are not the ultimate goal. time spent in the presence and word of God is the heart of this conference. the kidmin conference “gets” that those in the trenches of ministry can also be some of the most spiritually worn and weathered believers. they understand that a speaker can’t radically change lives, but Jesus can. He is the center and goal of each session. what a sweet opportunity for all those that attend to spend much needed time with Him. imagine how our ministries will be impacted after a time of spiritual renewal for us leaders.


Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 9.37.06 PM2.  christy nockels not many worship leaders speak so directly to my heart and lead me so humbly to the feet of Jesus.  christy does each time she leads me in worship, whether live or by cd. actually it was her new album and a specific track on it, “already all i need,” that was played countless times in my hotel room last year at kidmin ’13. this song never fails to minister to me. as you watch a lyric video of this song (my favorite of her’s, well at the moment.) just think what a gift a time of worship led by her will be!

3.  kidmin pals the friends i get to spend time with at this conference make me better and my heart leaves full each year. i’m thankful for friends/leaders that serve weekly in their local church and truly “get” the ministry world in which we serve week in and week out. they are brilliant, humble, passionate, and just plain fun. i love that there is no difference between presenter and attender. truth is, we all want to serve our Savior and desperately need Him in our daily lives. i am so grateful we understand that no one has it totally figured out and finding 994342_10152599234615476_1365416645_ncommunity in kidmin is such a gift to help carry us through the tough times. oh how i can’t wait to worship, learn, laugh, grow, pray, and seek with old and new conference friends.  if you are at kidmin ’14, i’d love to meet and talk with you. contact me on twitter at twitter.com/dandibell.

if you are in children’s ministry and you need time at the Savior’s feet as much as you need ministry ideas and instruction, take time to check out the kidmin conference.  the early bird deadline is may 29, so don’t miss this opportunity to save you and your church some money.  you can learn more and register here. personally, i am counting down the days.

Screen Shot 2012-07-07 at 1.07.17 PMin less than a month, thousands of those serving in children’s ministry (and many of my favorite people on earth) will descend on chicago for group’s KidMin conference.  i couldn’t be more excited.  these four short days pack in so much encouragement, inspiration, challenges, laughs and connections for me with my children’s ministry colleges.

this year, i also have the privilege in leading a pre-con and two workshops.  (see below)  as i have prayed and prepared, i have been so humbled to dive into these topics with those whose hearts beat wildly for kids to know Jesus.  i am certain that i will be the one to leave richer for having the opportunity to share and learn from others in the trenches in KidMin.

Branding A Christ-centered KidMin – Pre-Con
Why does your children’s ministry exist? If everyone on your team isn’t sure, it’s time for a new direction.  In this session, discover your ministry’s unique strengths, weaknesses—and opportunities. Dream, plan,and develop your master blueprint for ministry. We’ll help you strategically brand and cast vision for your ministry so you can inspire, recruit, and retain passionate volunteers and parents. Great for your entire team!

Broken, Burned Out, or Bored in Kidmin – Workshop
This is time specifically carved out for you to bring your burdens to Jesus. Together we’ll reflect, release, receive, and rejoice in the midst of our personal/ministry struggles. Through interactive experiences, encouragement from others, and time with our Savior, you’ll leave recharged.

Helping Kids Build a Friendship With Jesus – Workshop
We’ll explore ways to be intentional in facilitating a child’s spiritual formation. Experience and explore REAL (Relational, Experiential, Applicable, and Learner-Based) ways to take kids beyond learning to genuine relationship with Jesus.

if you are coming to KidMIn, i would love to connect and chat with you.  i also encourage you to plug into a connect group.  these meet daily (friday, saturday, and sunday) from 4:45-5:45p.m.  information will be posted on the connect group board.  we have great groups with some amazing leaders.  here are the groups you have to choose from:  large church, first two years in ministry, men in CM, bivocational ministry, student of CM, special needs, small church, urban ministry, women in CM, married to a CM, early childhood, family ministry, burned out in children’s ministry, multi-site ministry, volunteers in children’s ministry, canadian children’s ministers, senior pastors, preteen ministry, rural children’s ministry, children’s ministry veteran, and thriving in transition.

september 28th can’t get here soon enough.  are we there yet?

when entering college i had other plans for my life.  my future included washington d.c., politics, and news cameras.  it is amazing how God knows us better than we know ourselves.  i thought i wanted to deliver news stories to homes across the country, but God knew He designed me to share the life-changing story with children.  He eased me into this ministry path and it all began with princess stories on the playground.

young princesses

as a college student, i took the job as paid childcare coordinator for wednesday nights.  i couldn’t just enlist the workers and watch them have all the fun with the kids.  i wanted to be building relationships with these kids myself.  so, many nights were spent on that old church campus playground pushing swings, playing wall ball, and sharing princess stories.  the girls and i would gather on a patch of grass or in the back of the wooden train and i would begin with “once upon a time.”  the stories always included princesses and fairies, but the main point was that each girl was a princess because their Heavenly Father is the King of Kings.  some nights we would even make princess crowns out of clover flowers and wear them proudly around our playground kingdom.

sweet girls all grown up!

this week as my time here in the ‘boro is coming to an end, i am constantly reminded of these special moments that led me into children’s ministry.  i am so grateful to have had the privilege to get to watch so many princesses and princes grow in their walk with Jesus and follow His path for their life.  they now challenge me with their boldness and authentic faith.  i smile because i know we will live happily ever after because of our precious relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

one of my favorite cards ever from a princess.
college girls, that use to be my youth small group girls, & several that use to be in my preschool and children's ministry.

last month i celebrated 15 years as the minister of children at belle aire. there is really no way i can convey with words my humbled gratitude for all the notes, gifts, cards, drawings (by the kids), hugs and love i received.  i was (and still am) blown away by the way this church family wrapped me with appreciation for the last 15 years i was blessed to serve alongside them.  even after so many years, i am still surprised and a tad bit confused that our great God chooses to use such an imperfect person as myself.   may His glory shine brightly though this cracked vessel.

there is one gift i received in the morning services of january 15th that is simply indescribable.  you must see it for yourself.  they recruited many of my past students (YUCs – youth under construction) to recite Hebrews 11, my favorite passage of scripture.  how can you top the sweet faces and lives i love so much speaking the hall of faith from the Living Word of God? it is my joy to share with with you!


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