Do We Really Need Another Kidmin Conference?

It seems like I see more and more conferences pop up all the time. It’s not that I’m against conferences, but, really… do we need another one? It’s not like there is anything new or revolutionary being said at them. More and more, I find myself going to conferences to make connections and expand my network… which according to Seth Godin is a good thing (and, hey, if Seth Godin said it, then who am I to argue?). It would be nice, though to gather together with others in kidmin to discuss and explore new frontiers in children’s ministry. I may have watched too many episodes of Star Trek as a kid (The Next Generation is, by far, the best of the series!), but I have to believe that there are places in children’s ministry we can “boldly go where no one has gone before!”

A few months ago, my good friend Amy Dolan, told me about this guy, David Csinos, who was putting together a conference in 2012 that would explore the implications of emerging and missional thought in the church on children’s and youth ministry. I can’t tell you how excited I was. If you’ve followed Elemental CM for a while, you know that I am passionate about finding a missional approach to children’s ministry… something that goes beyond the educational/informational paradigm that has dominated children’s ministry for the past century. I’ve also found it disturbing that much has been done in the adult arena to address the seismic shifts happening in how we do church, yet very little has been done to effectively change how children’s ministry is done at those churches in the emerging and missional church worlds!

That brings me to my excitement about a new conference coming to Washington, D.C. May 7-10, 2012! Check this out from the official site for the conference:

“Something is happening in the church. A new kind of Christianity is taking root and growing across the globe. New forms of ministry, worship, and community are emerging. Questions are being asked. And change is happening.

But amidst these changes and shifts, children and youth are being left behind. Innovative approaches to ministry with adults are emerging around the world, but little critical reflection and attention has been given to how to nurture young people within a new kind of Christianity.

In May of 2012, leaders, ministers, volunteers, parents, and students will gather in Washington, DC, USA to spark conversations about youth and children within a new kind of Christianity. They will talk about innovative practices, critical issues, and controversial topics like violence, racism, interfaith dialogue, and sexuality. They will emark on a journey together to engage in life-giving ministry with young people. And they will blaze a new trail for the 21st-century church.”

Also take a look at this video from Brian McLaren about CYNC:

Check out the official CYNC site to keep up-to-date with what’s going on with the conference as well as ways to get involved and register! Also, be sure to check out and subscribe to David Csinos’ blog and follow him on Twitter. (He’s a pretty cool kidmin guy!) Lastly, if you haven’t already checked it out, be sure to pick up David’s new book, Children’s Ministry That Fits. This book should become required reading for everyone in children’s ministry or anyone who has an interest in helping children connect with God. If you can’t afford the book, do like I did and ask your public library to buy a copy 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Do We Really Need Another Kidmin Conference?

  1. amy dolan says:

    great post, henry! i’m SUPER excited for this event. especially today, because my dearest friends are moving to DC and i can’t wait to visit!

  2. Joseph Parker says:

    As much as I may agree with you we have way too many conferences out there (they are all saying the same thing) as well as Star Trek: Next Generation as being the best…I am not sure I am excited to look for a new frontier in children’s ministry…assuming I am understanding you correctly. I have been in children ministry for over 20 years in multiple settings and cultures (camping, inner city, suburban evangelical, etc) and I have yet to see a reason to explore “teaching” our children outside of who God made them to be.

    That said, your comment, “something that goes beyond the educational/informational paradigm that has dominated children’s ministry for the past century” makes me a bit nervous…largely because of all I have seen done to fix this in the past 10-15 years…I do agree, we need children to have many more experiences than merely being lectured to (if that is what you are saying, I am on board)…however, as I stated above, this has been happening for sometime now…more and more ministries are creating and developing models to provide children with experiential models to know and love Jesus (or, are you just talking about the material being provided in these conferences?).

    Truth is, before children can be “missional” they must first be taught, they must first learn…teen and adult models are shifting faster because they are developmentally farther along, they are adults…we need to be careful we do not set our children up for a faith built on what they do rather than who they worship.

    I believe the Old Testament Jews got it right (when they got it right) in that what they did was teach their children WHO God is through the experiences they gave them…this is the exact type of model I am working on creating and developing, and for what its worth, see others also working toward.

    Anyway, enough of my rambling. I have to admit I am a bit tired of Christianity being dumped on (esp by other Christians) as “old and tired” (my quotes, not yours) and therefore we need to be looking for new frontiers. Again, I agree we need to continue to find ways young adults (and older) can find ways to be missional, but I am not convinced children are necessarily ready for this…let’s first show them God’s love (1 John 4:19), so they will know what it looks like to love others and when the time comes for them to be missional they are ready and willing to do so in their schools, parks, homes, neighborhoods.

    Joseph Parker

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