john330a 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?


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.

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