October 7th – 10th marked Group’s very first KidMin Conference in Chicago. I was privileged to be part of the Inside Track team for this big event for the past year… It was great to be able to give feedback on what we would like to experience and gain from the conference since people like me are in the trenches of doing everyday ministry. The conference did not disappoint! It was amazing to worship with 1200+ other children’s ministry pastors, directors, and volunteers… to be with like-minded people with the same heart and vision. And of course, my favorite part of any conferences is seeing old friends and making new ones. It was really cool to meet some of my facebook and twitter friends in person (I promise, I try to limit my stalking to a minimum.. but some of them have such great insight!) Another highlight was the honor of leading Bivocational Ministry Connect Group. There is so much I could say about KidMin Conference, but I want to spend some time talking about Bivocational Ministry.
I was in part-time Children’s Ministry for about 14 years… which meant I had to take on other jobs to make sure I can pay all my bills on time. During that time, i also started a small business, thinking that would give me a lot of flexibility with my time… So even after I finally started working full-time as a Director of Children’s Ministry, I still had a business to run. So I’ve been bivocational pretty much all of my adult working life! I think I was only able to survive because I don’t have a family to look after, but the feeling of being pulled in 50 different directions and feeling inadequate was always there… not to mention I always felt the need to catch up on sleep. Thus, I was super excited to connect with others who felt the same way as I did.
We met four times during the course of the conference, and we were never short of people who just wanted to share and gain some insight into how we can better balance our lives! Trust me, I don’t have the answers!!! All I can do is just share from my experience and share what has worked and not worked for me. I think so many of us were feeling close to being burnt out, it was easy to just vent… and I think we needed that–a safe place to vent! But of course, we didn’t want to leave it there… we wanted support, prayer, and a community to walk with us. We had some in depth discussions about how we can balance our lives and do ministry well… one thing that was evident was that we all needed to evaluate what wasn’t working for us, and make some changes to our lives. That may mean having a frank conversation with our supervising pastors about the limitations of our lives and ministry, letting go of some responsibilities in our lives, or finding a new system that works better for us.
For me, one of the high points came when Robin, who was considering bivocational ministry asked the group if there were any positives to having a secular job and a ministry job. Although we had been “complaining” for awhile, we took a step back, and thought about some pros to being bivocational. One thing resonated–and that was that we were grounded in the reality of this world and interacting with those who may never walk through the doors of a church. We all valued having relationships with non-church people. And for me, I was reminded that God places us exactly where He can use and teach us regardless of how “tired” we may feel… and that even being bivocational is a blessing!
I sure have a lot more to say about what I experienced and learned at KidMin, but I think I should break them down.. otherwise, this post will be forever long….