Today I went to lunch with Johnny Rogers from KIDMO, Tammy Melchien from ComunityChristian Church , and Lori Bethran – my Conspire teammate. We were planning Session 5 for the 2009 Conspire Conference, when all of a sudden Lori leaned over to our server and asked him to bring us some cotton candy. I asked her to repeat what she had said; did she just ask our server to bring us cotton candy? Lori responded by saying that I would just have to wait and see. About 5 minutes later, our server came to our table with a giant plate of pink cotton candy. And we all went crazy, as evidenced by our photo.
I asked the server if many people order cotton candy, and he said no, that it is a special treat they keep on hand for kids. How appropriate, I thought! Here we are planning a conference for children’s ministry leaders – leaders who love kids, and we’ve just ordered a dessert kept on the menu just for kids!
More than just the sugary high we all felt from the delicious cotton candy, our time together was another reminder that God is with us, leading us and desiring to be in relationship with us everyday. You see, Johnny and Tammy are going to lead us during Session 5 of the Conspire Conference to consider our own personal faith and the direct connection our faith has to the way in which we lead children, volunteers and families in our ministries. I couldn’t help but be personally inspired today about my own faith – if I’m honest my own faith feels really tired right now, because I’m overworked, stressed and just a little bit crabby – a year of intense ministry can do that to us, right? And yet – this year, more than ever I’m desiring internal peace, peace that only God can instill and plant in my heart. Peace even when situations around me feel chaotic, peace even when I can’t seem to slow down, and peace even when it seems impossible to get a handle on things. And today, a treat of cotton candy for lunch and a simple reminder that God bears my yoke, grants me peace and loves me despite the situations around me. May you be reminded today as well, and if need be, eat a little cotton candy.
I'm sitting in the children's office over looking a wall full of colorful post-it notes. To some people that might not be exciting, but for me, it fills my heart with joy. Each post-it note features an idea that will most likely become part of the conference this year. Recently, a team of people gathered in downtown Elgin to brainstorm the entire conference.
From start to finish, session one to session five. This year's brainstorm was different than ones that we have had in past years. Usually the brainstorm team consists of only children's ministry people. But this year, we invited highly creative people who are experts in different areas. We had a video expert, a drama expert, and a dance expert, just to name a few. (We also had a few children's people in the room as well.) So many great conversations and ideas came from that meeting. Some made me laugh or cry and some gave me the goose bumps.
I wish I could attach all of the post-it notes that I am looking at to tell you everything you are going to experience the minute you step foot on Willow Campus in March, but I don't want to spoil anything for you.
One thing that I can tell you is that this is going to be a conference like none other. Out of the past 10 Children's Ministry Conferences I have attended at Willow, I am sure this one is going to be the best. We are planning on showcasing different churches, having awesome worship, fun videos, and moments that will connect and inspire the Church and home for the spiritual growth of every child.