Children’s Ministry champions around Michigan have been gathering for Meet and Greets with Rev. Kathy Pittenger, the new Children’s Initiatives Coordinator for the Michigan Conference. We share a time of devotion together and then use brightly colored post-it notes to write down thoughts on needs and dreams for children’s ministry as well as resources that individuals and local churches need to be successful. So far 10 Meet & Greets have been held in Northern Waters, Central Bay, East Winds, Greater Detroit, Mid-Michigan, and the Heritage districts. Meet & Greets are scheduled in the Midwest, Greater Southwest, and Northern Skies districts in September and October. Additional Meet & Greets are still being scheduled.
The purpose of these gatherings is to meet Kathy, network with other people involved in children’s ministries in churches, hear about needs and dreams, and learn about resources and ideas. The response has been overwhelmingly positive! A few of the top needs are:
· Protection Policy and training for local churches
· Curriculum (how to find it, evaluate it, use it)
· Children in Worship
· Discipleship Systems
· Ideas/Resources/Support/Encouragement for those working (paid or unpaid) in the church
· Connecting in the Home and Community
Most of the resources that people are looking for fall under the categories above. The dreams are far reaching and exciting. Dreams include:
· “our classrooms would be full on Sunday mornings”
· “connect with other churches and do ministry together”
· “local children’s ministry conference”
· “having church and local school connect in meaningful ways”
· “children are engaged in worship and growing their faith through groups with peers, families and others”
If you have not attended a Meet & Greet you are encouraged to go to one. The best conversations have happened with a wide variety of experiences and backgrounds. Small churches, medium churches, large churches, clergy, lay, paid, unpaid, full-part, part-time, everyone. If you can’t make a Meet & Greet but have needs and dreams that you want to share, please feel free to contact Kathy at email@example.com. A great way to connect is through the Michigan Conference Children’s Ministry Facebook group. Search for it on Facebook and ask to join. It is a wonderful way to connect with and encourage others in children’s ministry, learn about what’s going on in Michigan (and beyond), find/share great resources, and ask questions that you have.