If you follow me on Instagram, last week you probably saw that I was at the Childrens Pastor’s Conference in Orlando with my friend Erika. I was thrilled when my church allowed me to attend and then even more thrilled when I was accepted to be a “Coach” at the conference. The International Network of Children’s Ministry hosts the event and they do an amazing job! This was my second time to attend (the last time was five years ago) and I soaked in as much as I possibly could. Today I wanted to recap some great things I learned!
On a crazy whim I decided to apply to be a CPC coach this year and I loved it! I really enjoyed hearing about other ministries and offering ideas and encouragement to my fellow ministry leaders. I coached three sessions and the third one ended up turning into a CPC friendship! Kat, Nikole and Susie were so fun and Erika and I instantly connected with them. We went out to dinner Wednesday night and discussed our ministries, families and laughed a lot. I’m so thankful for these ladies and our official CPC group text now. I was surprised how easy it was to connect with everyone at the conference and it was such a blessing!
It’s hard for me to rest. I feel like I need to constantly be doing something, so rest doesn’t come easy to me. In fact, coming to CPC I had just come of a weekend of serving with my husband and our church’s student team for our Disciple Now. Instead of resting on Sunday afternoon I was doing laundry and packing. In Lisa Harper’s breakout session, “From Drudgery to Delight”, I felt very convicted about rest. Not lounging and watching TV kind of rest, but resting in the Lord.
Lisa pointed out in her session that God introduced rest before the fall of mankind in Genesis 1. Rest is part of God’s design for us and Jesus gives us perfect rest. Lisa encouraged ministers to rest in three ways:
- Divert Daily: spend time with Jesus every day.
- Withdraw Weekly: 10% of our work week need to be getting fed in some capacity (doesn’t including Sunday morning)
- Abandon Annually: Take 2-3 days to be alone with Jesus.
These points helped remind me that it’s okay to say “no” to things and to retreat to spend time with our Savior. I know last year when Kyle and I attended the “Pastor’s Getaway” at Wind River Ranch, how good it was for our relationship with the Lord and each other. Failing to rest leads to resentment and becoming bad stewards of the ministries God has given us. Ultimately, we can’t bring our best when we’ve got nothing left to give.
I prayed through the week that God would really give me some direction to take home to our KidMin team. As I skimmed through all the notes I had taken the same phrase kept jumping out at me: BIGGER. Lately, I had been putting God in a box. I’ve been doing ministry for over 15 years, I’ve been in a ministry family since birth. I’ve got this ministry deal figured out, right!? Nope. God blew away my “realistic mentality” (aka doubts). He said, “I’ve got something bigger”.
I briefly mentioned our DNow a moment ago and the craziest part of that weekend was the 200 students we had attend. 200 students…we’re a church that usually runs around 300 on a normal Sunday. 200 students was all God. It doesn’t make sense for a church our size to host an event that big, but God is bigger.
With that in the back of my mind, God kept using each speaker’s words to tell me to stop putting him in a box:
- “There is more power in the finger of our God than all the power of man” -Beth Guckenberger
- “You need to believe big enough! You need to raise the bar.” -Lisa Harper
- “It may be big, but it’s not bigger than Jesus.” -Louie Giglio (looking at the giants in our lives)
As I reread these quotes and tons of other notes I took, I keep reminding myself to pray BIG, to have BIG faith and to dream BIG for my church and my ministry. I know that word is from God and I find it so scary and comforting all at the same time.
I encourage you to find your word. Find the word that will push your comfort zone and your faith and then record what God does with it. I’ve been so encouraged and motivated by CPC and the relationships I built there, that already He has shown me he has big plans in store.
I could go on and on with practical tips, curriculum and books (see my book choices below) I picked up at CPC, but I’ll save those for another day. I loved my week at CPC and am very grateful for the opportunity to go. Praying for another chance next year, hoping I might see you there!
Thanks for letting me share,