By Ruth Friesen
On March 2-3, 2018, I had the privilege of attending the Awesome Kidmin Conference. Hearing a conference described as “awesome” in its title made me a bit hesitant, but, after checking out the website and seeing the variety of sessions available, I decided it would be a good investment of time. I was not disappointed. In fact, I came away from the weekend encouraged and excited to try some of what I’d learned. It was an incredible experience to be at a conference with 200 other people doing kids’ ministry. A group of children’s pastors from churches in Regina had driven to take part.
The conference brought in a top-notch speaker David Rausch who, by God’s grace, has started a new children’s church curriculum entitled “GO!” He challenged us to think about the long journey of faith and to teach our kids that faith is not all about life being easy and happy when we follow God, but that it is an adventure. He admonished us that we do a disservice to our children if we don’t prepare them to face the doubts, questions, and challenges that living by faith brings. We were also encouraged to look for opportunities for our kids to serve; they they can do much more than we think they can, a message that was reinforced in a breakout session with Lydia Stoez on teaching our kids to pray.
There were five opportunities for breakout sessions with four to six options at each session, leaving many of us wondering how we were going to get to everything we wanted to hear when our top choices were at the same time. Leadership labs on Friday focused on gender and sexuality, volunteer recruitment and retention and basic training for those new to children’s ministry. The Friday night options were all focused on personal development, which was an important opportunity to be fed. On Saturday we had choices of looking at how to develop our storytelling skills, how to include kids with special needs, pick curriculum, teach our kids to pray, help them process pain, come alongside families and many more options.
Looking through the program I was encouraged to see how many EMCers were involved with the conference. Steinbach Bible College was a sponsor. Teresa Enns Zehr (Aberdeen), Arlene Friesen (SBC), Michelle MacGibbon (Fort Garry), and Lisa Schau (St. Vital) were presenters at different breakout sessions, and Lorna Kroeker (St. Vital) and Lisa Schau were on the planning committee.
I left the weekend with new curriculum ideas, resources, contacts, and an invitation to join the network of children’s ministry workers that meets regularly in Winnipeg. More importantly, I felt that I had met God, been challenged, encouraged, and refreshed. I hope to see many more EMCers at next year’s Awesome KidMin Conference (www.awesomekidmin.com) on March 8-9, 2019, for an awesome experience.
Ruth Friesen says, “Besides trying to disciple my own three kids, I am currently the midweek children’s club coordinator at our church and have been involved in children’s ministry and work in various forms (children’s church, Sunday School, VBS, camp, daycare, group home) for much of the past 23 years.” She has a BA in theology (Providence) and a BSW (U of M), and is part of Fort Garry EMC.