About 225 children’s ministry leaders—from VBS coordinators to Sabbath school teachers—gathered for the annual Children’s Ministries Convention. The weekend, held Feb. 7-9 at the Cohutta Springs Conference Center, aims to equip leaders with the inspiration, knowledge, tools, and resources they need to make an impact on the kids in their home churches and local communities.
This year’s theme was “Our Eyes are on You [Jesus]” and featured J.N. Mike Faison as the keynote speaker.
“[A weekend like this] empowers the children’s ministries leaders to build and to dream for the future of the children and their families. It’s also important to help the church to recognize the high value God puts on kids,” said Faison, a creative children’s ministries presenter from Savannah, Ga. “God will empower you to achieve the dream of having a vibrant children’s ministry that reaches out to the children of the church and the community. It is evangelism at its best.”
Supplementing Faison’s presentations were workshop sessions where attendees could choose from more than 30 topics, including using nature to teach children about God, using drama effectively, working with budgets and church boards, helping kids cope with grief, addressing safety issues, inspiring healthy kids, and building faith in children. One of the headlining workshops was the introduction of this year’s Vacation Bible School material. Put out by the North American Division, Investigation Station: Galactic Quest is only the second VBS program designed by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The program encourages kids to investigate God’s Word and “points kids to God as the Creator with a plan for their lives.”
“It’s very exciting and inspiring,” said Misty Stein about Galactic Quest. “We’ve decided to go ahead with that one. We were undecided before coming, but we’re decided now.”
Stein is the 2014 VBS coordinator for her home church in Johnson City, Tenn. She’s also a K-2 teacher. “I come [to the Children’s Ministries Convention] for inspiration, for enlightenment, for a new perspective on what I should do and how I should do it, how to motivate my kids, how to motivate my church members, and how to get around red tape,” she said. “I come to collaborate.”
Diane Myers, from the Rock Springs (Ga.) Church helps out in her church with both the little ones and teens. She came to the convention with some friends who help lead VBS with her.
“I knew it would be really good,” Myers said. “We got some really good ideas from the men who have put the VBS program together and have really enjoyed hearing the speaker. It’s all been great.”
Another attendee was Tabitha Newsome, from the Newport (Tenn.) Church. She serves as the kindergarten teacher and it was her first time at the Children’s Ministries Convention.
“It’s more than I expected,” Newsome said. “I’ve learned a lot of things that I didn’t even know I would be introduced to. It’s very enlightening and it’s very inspiring, and it’s making me want to go back and do so many things. I’m really looking forward to how the Lord can use me in this ministry. I appreciate the way [the theme] was magnified from the Word of God. Like I said, it was unexpected. I don’t really know what I expected, but my heart was warmed and opened when I really felt the call. A lot of times, we’re asking the Lord what He wants us to do as we try to lead Him into what we want Him to do, but I realized it’s not about me, but about Him. So it kind of refocused my attention on Him so that I can do my work in this ministry.”
Newsome also said the convention impacted her personally as much as it benefited her ministry.
“It has brought the Lord alive again in a truly new and living way to my mind,” she said. “It’s been a very beautiful experience.”
by Britni Brannon, communication assistant director
photos by Britni Brannon