REAL learning


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.

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.


  • ministry leaders need/long to be ministered to – through interactive, Christ-centered worship experiences; “the shelter” ministry (counseling and prayer center) that was busy everyday; and my “broken, burned-out, and bored in kidmin” workshop, i experienced people in desperate need of ministry. and the best news is, i heard story after story of those who were met “just as they were” and experienced Jesus. isn’t that what it is really all about?  after seeing this, i come back to my own ministry and wonder how many of my leaders are in need of a fresh touch, word, or encouragement? how will i make it a priority to minister to them as they faithfully pour out on children and families each week?
  • you can never have too many friends in kidmin – i love people! i was thrilled going into kidmin with all the familiar faces i would get to see and spend some time with each day. (never enough time, though.)  i wasn’t expecting all the new people i would be fortunate enough to meet, share a meal with, laugh with, and hang around on sack chairs and just talk about life with in any spare moment we could find. i leave with deepened friendships and brand news ones that i know will make me a better person and minster. ministry and life are more pleasant and precious in community.  may i gave back to them as willingly as they have given to me.
  • the Holy Spirit empowers me to do what i cannot – one of the greatest blessings i had during the days of KidMin was a group of people (some in alabama and some in tennessee) that had my packed conference schedule and committed to pray me through my days in chicago. my simple request was that i would dare not lean on my own strength or wisdom, but press into the power provided through the Holy Spirit. not only did i receive their prayers, but i was constantly encouraged through their texts. they prayed expectantly and they couldn’t wait to hear about what only God could do.  boy, do i have some stories for them. 🙂
  • i am blessed – after leading a tough ministry conversation and hearing heart-breaking stories from other ministers in the trenches, i left knowing how blessed i am to serve in a church that not only values children’s ministry but supports it through word AND action.
  • the IT team can party – with just a large stack of deep-dish chicago pizza and soda, the KidMin IT team had so much fun in a luxury suite that hotel security might have been called a couple of times. what a fun group of people  that have no idea how to “use their inside voices.”
  • prayer changes things –  as i stood before a group of over 200 in my last workshop of the conference, i was a wee bit stressed.  i had optimistically planned for about 20-25.  i mean, who wants to hear me when there are so many other choices and what a great last chance for them to sleep in before general session.  so i began, not knowing how it would go and i had the tables introduce themselves to one another.  that was when my friend gina met me in the middle of the room to pray over me.  “i wish you would,” i said.  “how can i give all these people what they need?  i didn’t prepare for this many.”  after she prayed, i started the workshop in His strength and have never had more fun leading.  God showed up and taught us all a thing or two about “helping kids have a friendship with Jesus.”  gina was my God-sighting for the day!
  • all about experience and relationship – a few days into KidMin ’12 i marveled at the fact that i just had no time to blog.  see, i was either experiencing the conference and the life-changing lessons it brought or i was building relationships!  the REAL learning experiences brought me closer in my journey with Jesus and the relationships formed continue to encourage me as i traveled back home.  oh there was plenty of meat, but it was so beautifully delivered through transparent speakers and hand-on activities that no single blog post could capture what happened in my heart.  i guess i will not only continue to chew on each truth but carry them with me as God uses me to minister to others.
  • the grand gift of laughter – spending time with my dawson team at KidMin taught me that not only am i working alongside gifted, passionate people, but they are oh so fun!!!! i haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. i am talking side-splitting, tears-streaming laughter.  i’ll take two spoonfuls of that daily.  so grateful to work with those that see the joy in life and ministry.

is it too early to begin countdown to KidMin ’13 in ohio?  okay, if you were at KidMin ’12, what was your greatest takeaway?

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