Children’s Ministries

Ministries with children and their leaders continue to expand. We are blessed and thankful for the many dedicated leaders who so willingly plan and provide these ministries. Children’s lives are shaped and enriched through conference-wide experiences. Elementary Camp continues to provide life-long friendships and memories as children experience God’s love through caring counselors, small-group Biblical activities and faith sharing, and living in the wonder of God’s creation. This year, James Ralston, Executive Director at Cedar Crest, has expanded children’s camp opportunities to include a Family Camp. Three church confirmation groups attended the confirmation retreat at Cedar Crest with Don Washburn. This year, White House UMC, again hosted “Light Kids Conference” for children in 1st-5th grades. Children have the chance to experience scripture, play games, sing songs, and worship with Tim Price and the Harvest Ministry from Troy, IL. The annual Confirmation Day with the Bishop and Cabinet provided an opportunity for confirmands to learn about United Methodist History; learn about the work of United Methodist Committee on Relief and assemble health kits; participate in various forms of prayer; meet their District Superintendent and hear about the work of a D.S. and ask Bishop Wills about his life, ministry as a bishop, and faith issues. United Methodist Association of Preschools (UMAP) continues to provide ministries for faith-based weekday ministries. This Christian professional organization is for weekday ministry directors and teachers and provides support, training, and opportunities for spiritual growth; helps all children grow in God’s love through Jesus Christ; introduces all children to the Bible as God’s word, teaching them to be Christ-like in all they do and say; and increases the quality of education in United Methodist Preschools. Ministries this past year include resources and consultations for strengthening relationships between the local church and weekday ministry; a director’s lunch and quarterly gatherings for directors; state-approved workshops and UMAP Training Institute for directors and teachers; a listserve for job postings and Q/A, a newsletter and website. The board is currently working on standards for faith-based preschool ministries. Over 800 weekday ministry directors and teachers attended the yearly Childcare Ministry Workshop, which is a state-approved continuing education opportunity for both faith-based and secular preschools. Children’s ministry leader development is essential. A quarterly network group is offered for children’s leaders to share ministry ideas. The first Children’s Ministry Workers Retreat provided basic, “nuts ‘n bolts” of doing children’s ministry in the local church; Vacation Bible School preview and training; and three children’s leaders from this annual conference led workshops and/or seminars at Children’s Ministry FORUM ’08 offered through the General Board of Discipleship.

The children’s committee is excited about the opportunities for ministry with children and their leaders as we continue to reach out to children throughout this annual conference. Gail Britt Chairperson, Committee on Children’s Ministries Susan Groseclose Director of Nurture Ministries; TN Conference Connectional Ministries