As a children’s ministry student at the University of Valley Forge, I have been ultimately blessed to have had the opportunity to attend the national AG Kidmin 17 Conference this past April. During the three days of the conference, I not only learned so many wonderful things about ways to minister to children, but I also learned a lot about myself. Being in that kind of atmosphere, around people who have the same passion for children as I have, was eye opening. God reminded me of many things that I often forget. The biggest takeaway that I gained from going to this conference, along with all of the great resources and connections made, was the reminder that I’m not alone.
I went to workshops that mainly had a focus on family, foster children, and the Holy Spirit, as that is what God has called me to focus on in ministry. I heard from wonderful speakers and pastors, like Becky Fischer, Ed Corbin, Jay Mooney, and even my professor, Dr. Dick Gruber. Many of the workshops and sessions answered questions that I have had for quite a while. Not only were my questions answered, but other Kidmin leaders who attended the same workshops and sessions had the same questions that I had. As a student, that alone was encouraging, because it further reminded me I wasn’t on my own in the adventure of ministering to children. I gained much knowledge and encouragement from other pastors and leaders who attended, and made connections with many of those pastors and leaders.
Before the trip to the conference, I was undergoing the normal stresses of any college student. I was taking a heavy load of classes, enduring the long nights of the aftereffects of procrastination, and working as much as I could to stay on top of my school payments. On top of all of this, I tried to power through it all on my own without anyone’s help, including God’s. During the second night of the conference, Steve Adams spoke during the second general session about the same thing I was going through. As he spoke, I couldn’t help but sink in my seat because the Holy Spirit convicted me of relying on my own strengths rather than casting my cares on Him. That night, as we listened to the testimony of a man who climbed Mt. Everest; everyone in the audience was reminded that we cannot conquer our mountains on our own. Pastor Steve made the comparison that just as the air gets lighter and the load gets heavier when hiking a mountain, the same goes for anyone in ministry. We need to rely on the Lord, and we can’t pretend that we’re not struggling or we’ll keep on going without Him. In my notes from that session I wrote as a reminder to myself: “You’re not alone; stop living like you are.” This realization has driven me to be a better volunteer in kids’ ministry.In a room surrounded by other children’s pastors, leaders, and volunteers, I sat with my classmates and felt the immense love of God. I looked around at everyone worshiping God together, and reflected on the joyous knowledge that every person there had a God-given passion to pursue children for His Kingdom. Looking back on this now, I think of the children to whom I minister as an intern at a local church. There is a renewed confidence and fire within me to reach every child that I come across, despite my flaws. No matter what I may be going through, I know I am not struggling on my own. God has equipped me with everything I need spiritually. There are so many people who minister to children every day who are going through the same things, who pray for me just as I pray for them. I absolutely cannot wait until the 2018 conference!