a week ago today i had the honor of sharing in the closing general session of group’s 2013 kidmin conference. our theme for the day was “celebrate Jesus” and i was about to burst with excitement to share what i know God placed on my heart. we looked at john the baptist in the first chapter of john. wow, did he ever get celebrating Jesus. john the baptist truly knew who he wasn’t (“i am not the Messiah.” verse 20), knew it wasn’t about him (“i am the ‘voice’ calling in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord.” verse 23) and he knew the true worth of the One he was privilege to serve. (“the straps of whose sandal i am not worthy to unite.” verse 27)
through looking closely at john the baptist’s example, God showed me how we can so easily make ministry about us when we are simply the lamp stand for the Light of the world – Jesus. i was convicted about how the praise of man and innocent encouragement can quickly lead me to try to steal some of His glory! i have great strides to make in making it all about Him. “He must increase, i must decrease.” john 3:30.
as i continued to study the book of john, i looked for who Jesus was in each chapter. so i set out to memorize a truth of Jesus (and literally just a tiny glimpse of all He is) for each of the 21 chapters. how could i talk about celebrating Jesus without actually doing so? i know i haven’t begun to grasp it all, but boy how i needed those truths. see it turns out that i had some unexpected, additional responsibilities placed on me at the conference. i would be lying to say at moments i didn’t have the tendency to be overwhelmed. what a great gift from Jesus to be able to get away, alone with Him, and recite each of these 21 truths. see, i thought they were only for my talk on monday morning, but the Jesus in each verse seems to be who sustained me throughout the entire weekend. here is what i kept saying over and over to myself and also how i ended my talk on celebrating Jesus.
– in chapter one Jesus is the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us.
– in chapter two He is the mighty man of miracles.
– in chapter three Jesus is Savior and the only way to be born again.
– in chapter four Jesus is the Living Water.
– in chapter five He is Healer and equal to God.
– in chapter six Jesus is the Bread of Life.
– in chapter seven Jesus is the Christ.
– in chapter eight Jesus is the Light of the world.
– in chapter nine He makes the blind see.
– in chapter ten Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
– in chapter eleven He is the Resurrection and the Life.
– in chapter twelve He is the Son of Man lifted up.
– in chapter thirteen He is the humble servant.
– in chapter fourteen Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
– in chapter fifteen He is the True Vine.
– in chapter sixteen He is Overcomer.
– in chapter seventeen Jesus prays for us.
– in chapter eighteen He is called Jesus of Nazareth and King of the Jews.
– in chapter nineteen Jesus, our Savior, was crucified for us.
– in chapter twenty Jesus is ALIVE!!!!
– in chapter twenty-one Jesus appears to His disciples, tells Peter to feed His sheep, and we learn that Jesus did so many other things that the world could not hold the volumes of books it would take to record them!
i have loved my time in john (and have much more time ahead there), but God did something with the truths in those scriptures that not only carried me throughout the conference but encourage and hold me accountable each day as i go forward. i am thankful that even a small glimpse of Jesus shows us that He is enough. He can be our all and all. He is able and He is worthy to be celebrated!!! what do you need to be reminded about Jesus today?
they say a picture is worth a thousand words. sometimes a video can be worth millions. i love how this KidMin 2013 video captures the true heart of this very unconventional conference. to learn more or to register, go here.
one week from today i will have landed in chicago for the second ever KidMin conference. while face-timing with a friend today (that i met at KidMin last year) i said to her, “KidMin is like going home.” to say i am looking forward to it would be an understatement. actually, i am a wee bit giddy. here are just some of the reasons i am so excited about KidMin ’12.
- chris yount jones, the heart behind KidMin, is probably one of my favorite people. she is the real deal and it has been a blessing to know her and see her live out authentic faith and a servant’s heart for 15 years. with her leadership, Jesus and prayer remain central and celebrated!
- my KidMin friends – the thing is, i would love these people even they didn’t serve in KidMin. they truly inspire me to seek harder, love unconditionally, and serve with the strength only God provides. i can’t go five feet in the conference halls without seeing one of these people that feel like a part of ministry family.
- those at “home” usually seem to know you best and speak honestly to you whether you are ready to hear it or not. the keynotes at KidMin do just that. last year i was challenged, convicted, inspired, and ministered to by truths God spoke through each speaker. this year will be no exception. i can’t wait to hear beth moore speak from the perspective of a children’ s ministry volunteer. i already feel like she is a friend after getting to know her so well through so many of her studies and conferences.
- as they say in steel magnolias, “laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” well, the skit guys have practically perfected such an emotional paradox. their powerful messages can have your sides cramping from laughing one minute, then have you reaching for kleenex the next. just like life, i love that.
- next to God’s Word, nothing ministers to my soul quite like music. gungor will be there. “beautiful things”– enough said.
- the KidMin inside track team are oh so dear to me! we are all different, with varying opinions and styles, but with one common goal. even as i type these words about them, a smile breaks out across my face. i can’t wait to hug their necks.
oh, i could go on and probably will on here, on facebook and twitter all next week. all i know is, i have never looked forward to a conference with more expectancy. may Jesus have His way with us in chicago and may it all be for His glory!
in 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?