“You might as well go ahead and register. You know you’re going to go.”
These wise words were spoken to me by my sweet husband last year at Group’s KidMin Conference as I walked wistfully by the registration table and gave him my puppy-dog-eyes sideways glance. How, pray tell, did he know that I would be going this year? Because I’ve had the opportunity to attend each KidMin since they started and every year I find myself drawn back again for more.
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What keeps bringing me back? I’ve given it some thought and came up with these four things.
- Renewal When I think of KidMin, the first thing I do is sigh–literally. At KidMin my soul, my mind, my heart, my ministry, and my body all find renewal and refreshment. The atmosphere created by thousands of ministers, all in one place and all with one purpose, leads to a sense of belonging and rest that I haven’t found anywhere else. It’s Sabbath for the soul.
- Growth Some of the greatest moments of growth in my life have happened at KidMin. It happened at my first KidMin where I wrote a label, put in on myself and then tore it off and replaced it with a label that simply read, “Loved by Jesus.” It happened when Dr. Scottie May, who led one of the amazing Deeper Learning tracks, met with me after the session and ended up laying her hands on me, blessing me, and affirming my calling in ministry. It happened when I was able to meet with Dr. Jim Burns and Pastor Brian Hayes and have them both encourage me to start blogging and begin working toward my dream ministry. It happened when I wept in worship, shared with colleagues, slept through a whole night, laughed with the Skit Guys, and prayed with new friends. Growth happens every time.
- Vision There is something clarifying about being with a crowd of fellow leaders who share your heart and burden for kids and families–and long as you do for the faith of the next generation. Your vision becomes clearer, your purpose becomes apparent, and you leave not wondering what you’re to do next, but knowing exactly the direction in which you’re called.
- Fun I mean, come on, it’s fun y’all!! I mean laughing til you cry, crying til you laugh, staying up all night and singing at the top of your lungs…FUN! Each KidMin, I have left with my heart so full of joy and honestly, I need that between work and family and classes and life, those moments of overflowing happiness fuel my daily life. When the Bible says, “The JOY of the Lord is your strength” it’s no joke. I leave KidMin full of that joy and strengthened for the days to come.
If you’re on the fence about coming, I would just share this: My life, my ministry, my calling and even my family would not be where they are today if it weren’t for this conference. In my current position, I attend lots of conferences and meet with lots of people, but this unconventional KidMin conference will always be my conference home. And I can’t wait until September!
Christina Embree is a Director of Children and Family Ministry near Lexington, KY and she is also a member of the KidMin Inside Track Team. You can learn more from her at her blog at refocusministry.org.