Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
When Jesus welcomed little ones into his embrace with open arms, he placed them front and center in God’s kingdom. The Eastern PA Conference will do likewise, placing children front and center at a major training event for adults involved in all forms of Children’s Ministry. They will gather on Saturday, Sept. 10, from 8:30 AM to 3:15 PM, at West Lawn UMC, 15 Woodside Avenue, Reading, Pa.
“Connecting Children with Christ” will welcome anyone who teaches, supervises, advocates for, or works with children in any role—from classroom to choir loft, from nursery to playground, from children’s church to kids’ camp, and beyond. This event is ideal for anyone who seeks to introduce and connect children with Christ Jesus as their personal guide, friend and savior, and to remove every hindrance to their safety and personal growth.
“Children are born with an innate sense of wonder and faith that is real and authentic,” says Lucy Heisey, leader of the conference’s new Children’s Ministry Team, formed in 2015. “As teachers and leaders, our role is to provide a foundation of experiences on which children can build a life of learning and growth toward a mature and vital faith.”
The team has been working for months to organize this trailblazing event. Registration begins at 8:30 AM, and the plenary session gets underway at 9:15 with a keynote address by Melanie Gordon, Director of Ministry with Children at the United Methodist Church’s Discipleship Ministries agency.
Gordon, who will speak on “What Every Child Should Know,” provides training, research, resourcing and networking opportunities for teachers and children’s ministry leaders nationwide. The Clemson University and Duke Divinity School graduate wrote the recently published What Every Child Should Experience: A Guide for Teachers and Leaders in United Methodist Congregations.
She also wrote “Children’s Ministry Guidelines for the 2013-16 Quadrennium,” and co-authored “Guidelines for Weekday Preschool Ministry Programs in United Methodist Churches.” And she blogs regularly at www.ministrywithchildren.com, exploring issues that impact how children of millennials can grow in their faith development.
“I love to connect congregations and conferences with resources that will support them,” Gordon says, “as we share with children our Christian faith through developmentally appropriate and enriching experiences.” She will also teach an afternoon workshop, “God and the Digital Generation,” about providing children with healthy experiences for spiritual growth in a digital world and protecting them from disturbing images and messages.
Other workshops, taught by children’s ministry experts, will focus on:
Attendees will also benefit from worship, ample resources on display and a chance to network, ask questions and share knowledge with peers.
“This will be a wonderful event, and I hope our churches will take advantage of it,” said the Rev. Christopher Kurien, conference Director of Connectional Ministries, who helped reorganize the Children’s Ministry Team. “We all know that if a church wants to grow it needs to focus on children’s ministry. That is the reason this event is planned: to encourage our children’s ministry workers and provide them with tools that are important.”
Don’t miss this valuable learning and sharing experience that may well reignite and energize your church’s children’s ministry program. The registration deadline has been extended to Sept. 7. The cost is only $20 per person or $50 total for a team of three persons from the same church.
To learn more about the workshops and other details visit the information webpage for this event, accessible through our website’s conference calendar or Events page. For more information contact Elizabeth Christie: firstname.lastname@example.org. Register online at epaumc.churchcenteronline.com/registrations/events/35927.