This was my first year to attend a CPC conference. As I get back into the office this Monday morning I wanted to share the things that had the largest impact on my conference experience. I chose to highlight the top three resource providers, the top two breakout session presenters, and One general session speaker that touched my soul. As you read, I make this disclaimer. “I am not a professional writer nor am I critique of such matters, I’m Bill, Just Bill”
The list of resource providers was a great mix of organizations, ranging from curriculum providers, worship helps, furniture and decor groups, outreach groups, and many more. As in any group there were a few that stuck out above the rest and I will list those here.
1. Brian Dollar with High Voltage Kids.
Not only did I hear Brian’s videos banging in my ear for 4 straight days as I worked the door, it was apparent that Brian has a true passion to help others provide the best experience for kids in your ministry. His genuine concern, as attendees shared their hearts with Brian, shined through as he was quick to listen and quick to offer help. I recommend Picking up his new book “I Blew It”
2. Karl Bastian with Kidology.
Karl could be seen wandering the convention center floor wearing a black bowler hat with a Light bulb on top while using his iPhone to navigate a little blue ball that rolled about 10 feet in front of him. Karl’s personality resonated with attendees because Karl was so easy to communicate with. He listened as I shared my thoughts and he offered great words of encouragement. His site offers great resources for those of us just trying to make it from Sunday to Sunday.
As I made my way through the colorful and extravagant booth, I notice the new book by Michelle Anthony “Becoming A Spiritually Healthy Family”. I was stoked because I am ready to take the parents in my church to the next level in Family Ministry. We have sent over 90 families through Michelle’s series “Spiritual Parenting” with great results. Then I had the privilege to sit down with Dr. Anthony as she delved into her new book and her purpose for writing it. As she spoke, she communicated her passion and the burden that God has placed upon her heart to help ministry leaders to lead families to have a more meaningful relationship with Christ and to pass on a vibrant and long-lasting faith to the next generation.
As an attendee you had the opportunity to attend at least 7 hours of specialized training through breakout sessions. These sessions were taught and led by some of the Who’s Who of Children’s Ministry. While i attended several of these I will highlight the ones I gained the most insight from.
1. How to Handle Sticky Situations by Frank and Jessica Bealer.
This breakout session focused on conflict resolution. As Frank and Jessica spoke they spoke with knowledge from experience. Frank’s personality is one of a humble and grateful man. While Frank and Jessica oversee one of the largest children and family ministry in the US, leading over 1800 volunteers each weekend, they don’t have that “I’m bigger and better than you” attitude. Frank was anxious and willing to share his experiences with us on a real level. You can read his session notes here.
2. Layers of Leadership by Heidi Hensley.
Heidi Hensley is the Director of Children and Family Ministries in California. Heidi spoke with confidence and passion. Of all the sessions I attended, Heidi was the only one who used an object lesson to teach her audience. Enter the Russian Nesting Dolls. I will never look at nesting dolls the same. Heidi shared her layers as she spoke of those who inspired her and helped her get to where she is at today. In turn she helped us to understand how we as leaders can inspire and create those layers in others who serve alongside of us. Heidi shared a particular story of a young woman who began in the church by being part of a Celebrate Recovery group and over time would become a leader within the children’s ministry. I recommend you subscribe to her blog and read the session notes here.
CPC arranged a great group of talented and amazing Key Note Speakers. I gained much incite and inspiration from all. But there was one who stood out amongst the Crowd.
Megan is the director of student resources for David C Cook. I met Megan for the first time as she was checking in at the resource center. I remember thinking “Who is the Chick with the wild hair and the bold personality?” It seems that every time I would encounter Megan she was either smiling or laughing and so was everyone that was around her. Then General Session Three gets cranking and they introduce the Key Note Speaker. “Please Welcome Megan Marshman.” I was thinking “hey shes the girl with the hair” Megan begin the session with a powerful statement “How are you…. at the core of your soul?” Wow, then God just sat down on the place. Over the next 45 minutes as Megan would share her experiences we would laugh out loud followed by the heavy questions of our hearts. Megan’s topic was “Celebrating My Freedom” Megan, with the Help of the Holy Spirit, made it real, I hung on her every word, at the edge of my seat. Her words demanded an inner examination, coupled with the truth that we are Loved Perfectly by Jesus. As Megan wrapped up the message we were able to respond in worship to what we had just experienced. All around the room were Worship Response Stations. Each with a different task, one for confessions, another for Thanksgiving, … All around the room we worshiped and responded to God. I left that session different that when I had walked in. I had fellowship with God. I felt refreshed and revived. I picked up a DVD of Megan’s message and watched and listened twice more.
My overall experience of CPC East was great. I am making plans to attend next year and will most likely serve again if they allow me. I came home with a large to-do-list, more friends than had before I left, a renewed heart to serve God’s kids, and a dream to inspire and motive others to do the same.
Children and Family Pastor
Mars Hill Baptist Church