group kidmin conference


Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 10.12.29 PMi am thrilled with the opportunity to teach a half-track at group’s kidmin conference this year. i get to spend 4 hours (two 2-hour sessions) with amazing kidmin leaders grappling with truths to discover how to intentionally help kids grow in their faith.

our time together will be exciting, REAL, hands-on, fun and relevant. each creative activity we experience together can be applied back to the kidmin setting of each church represented.

if you are attending kidmin this week, i would love to see you in my session. below is the official half-track description.

helping kids grow in their faith: understanding kids

session 1: planting seeds in kids and nourishing the soil of their faith

session 2: pruning and replanting the fruit of a child’s faith
with growing an authentic faith in Jesus as our goal, come experience R.E.A.L. ways to reach children. learn how to present the gospel so deep roots are planted and encourage the study of God’s Word to cultivate faithful disciples. you’ll discover how to provide opportunities for kids to apply truth so they’re lifelong doers of the Word.

kid’s ministry is hard. it is incredibly rewarding, but equally messy. while i often dream of serving in a world of rainbows and lollipops, most ministry daystrench resemble more of a battlefield. no one knows that better than the kidmin leader in the trenches next to you.

i think that is one of the main reasons i love group’s kidmin conference so much. almost every session/workshop speaker not only has years of kidmin/ministry experience, but they are serving weekly in the kidmin trenches.

  • they get the weariness i carry, because they are also weekly trying to find a balance between serving and being still.
  • they know the hopes that are longing in my heart because they are constantly praying them for their kids and families, too.
  • those hunkered down in the trenches know ministry frustrations because they battle them on the front lines each day. they also know the value of laying down our battle plan and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead.
  • they weekly fight insecurities that remind them of their weakness and in turn are able to experience the strength of the Lord as they serve through imperfection.

so this year at kidmin i can’t wait to connect with many of those i stand shoulder to shoulder with in the ministry trench. whether it is full-time, bi-vocational, or volunteer i am excited to learn from so many that serve so faithfully.

gina mcclaingina mcclain is one of the wisest most humble children’s pastors i know. she can relate to the daily struggles of ministry while always keeping and pointing others to an eternal perspective.



brian haynes

i love the pastor’s heart of brian haynes. he absolutely oozes Jesus. i can’t fathom all the additional pressures that come with the title of senior pastor, but brian leads will a singular focus of the message of Christ and you can’t help but leave encouraged and challenged.



gloria leeas a single gal, i always leave time with gloria lee knowing i have kidmin friend the gets “my world.” we can laugh at the similarities we face serving single and rejoice in the fact that God chooses to use and stretch us right where He has us.



e.c. cunninghame.c. cunningham inspires me with his determination and ability to excel in transition. he truly makes the most of his assignment wherever God has placed him. he has such a positive attitude and sense of adventure.



Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 12.15.44 PMno doubt about it, mary sims is the real deal. she approaches her bi-vocational role with such a fresh wave of enthusiasm. she is transparent and encouraging and the love she has for ministry in evident in the moment you meet her. my only question is just how in the world does she do it all?



Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 8.25.42 PMi am almost certain that when it comes to kidmin you won’t meet a more authentic person than chris yount jones. her many years of experience and vast knowledge make her a wealth of information. but in my opinion, it is her weekly service in a preschool class at her church that makes her such an insightful member of the kidmin trenches.


oh there are countless others i can’t wait to connect with at kidmin ’14. i am just so grateful to know that even when our time in columbus is over and we spread back across the country and world, we are still shoulder to shoulder in the kidmin trenches.

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.


in honor of group’s 3rd annual kidmin conference in just a little over two weeks, i put together a kidmin top ten list of things i am most excited about this year.  this extreme extrovert can’t wait for all the people time and i am sure i will have much to share.  i will be blowing up social media with conference updates throughout the week.  consider yourself warned. (the conference hashtag is #kidmin13.)

the conference app – i am a self-admitted tech nerd, so i have loved playing around with our new kidmin conference app.  even though we are more than two weeks out,  i may have already set up my personal schedule so i will feel a tad bit more organized.  🙂

IMG_3599time with my team – i have to say i work with some of the most amazing and fun people i know. i am constantly learning from them and laughing with them.  i believe there were several “laugh ’til you cry” moments at the kidmin conference last year.  times of learning, growing, and laughing together are just plum good for the soul.  oh the stories we will have from this year’s conference. they really shouldn’t let us loose in a city together.

traveling – call me crazy, but i love almost everything about it: plane trips, hotel rooms, new cities, taxis, shuttle buses, airport people watching, the luggage carousel, and more. for me it is just one big adventure.

it team

the IT (inside track) team – this group of 100+ kidmin leaders from around the country is a constant source of support and encouragement throughout the year.  not only do they speak into the kidmin conference and share ideas, they also share successes and failures with each other all year long.  several times a day our group connects through facebook, tweets, or emails but it will be so sweet to connect face-to-face at kidmin.


xorbee sack chair conversations – you just can’t beat comfy chairs, dear friends, spontaneous conversations, and honest sharing.  these casual times in the hallways of the conference center are some of my favorites.  i have yet to be able to take a nap in one of these chairs, but i have never found it hard to strike up a conversation in one.

the unexpected – i like control, but there is nothing quite as uplifting and personal as the unexpected ways God speaks to me through an uninterrupted time of worship, an authentic conversation about ministry struggles, a message from a speaker, a comment from a friend, time in the prayer room, being still in His Word, and time just hanging with people who “get me” and ministry.  you simply can’t schedule how He will show up, but how i look forward to seeing how He does. 🙂


R.E.A.L.. learning – don’t talk at me, teach me.  don’t just speak of creative classrooms, allow me to encounter one. this is yet another reason i love this conference. not only the workshops, but the general sessions engage and stretch each participant using group’s R.E.A.L. learning method. (relational, experiential, applicable, learner-based)  i get to learn through hands-on experience and then debrief what we discovered. i also leave with practical activities i can easily apply to my ministry back home. not to mention that R.E.A.L. learning is just plain fun!

my workshop – i am super excited to get to share my heart about “helping kids have a friendship with Jesus.”  this is one of my favorite topics to discuss and i look forward to learning alongside participants as i lead this session.  here is my workshop description: “we’ll explore ways to be intentional in facilitating a child’s spiritual formation. experience and explore R.E.A.L. Learning (relational, experiential, applicable, learner-based) ways to take kids beyond learning to genuine relationship with Jesus.”

connect groups – conversation is such a key component of kidmin and i love working with the connect groups.  this IMG_3618year we have connect groups for: children’s ministry veterans, first 2 years in children’s ministry, large-church children’s ministry, small-church children’s ministry, rural children’s ministry, urban children’s ministry, early childhood ministry, preteen ministry, family ministry, multi-site ministry, burned out in children’s ministry, special needs ministry, thriving in transition, volunteers in children’s ministry, bivocational children’s ministry, married to a children’s minister,  canadian children’s ministers, international children’s ministers, men in children’s ministry, women in children’s ministry, and senior pastors.  


once a year face time – my kidmin friends are just too spread out across the u.s.  so, when you put so many people i admire in one place, i cherish face to face talks and any insight they can share.  i love that chris yount jones and i can pick up right where we left off and weave ministry and personal topics in and out of easy conversation.  i always love a few moments to sit and glean wisdom from denise muir kjesbo. i have loved gordan and becki west for many years and i am always thrilled when our ministry paths cross.  the group staff could not be more fun and i can’t wait to see karen, laycie, celia, donna, sherri, roseanne, david, shannon, tim and sharon. i’ll have to catch time to giggle with brook, chat with mary, hang with kimberly, and oh the list goes on and on.  so many great people to connect with, so little time!

i would love to hear from any of you who are attending kidmin ’13. i would also love to grab a cup of coffee, a quick meal, or a sack chair convo with you!  can’t wait, see you there.

group’s kidmin conference flair meets disney world trading pins to create dawson’s dawson kids kidlife (vbs) bling.  after a recent trip to disney world and my obsession for the celebration buttons and trading pins, i wondered how could we incorporate this idea at our vacation Bible school this summer.

each 1st-5th grade child will have the chance to collect kidlife bling from one of our high-five guy volunteers as they learn and grow in our theme for the week.  these high-five guys will be available throughout the day to greet, encourage, and share bling with the children.

 we also have a button for each day’s main point.  these buttons lay out the Gospel and we hope they will be reviewed many times at home after kidlife week ends.  we can’t wait to see how these buttons promote outreach to visitors, scripture memorization, and lesson follow-up.

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