There is yet another new conference for children’s ministry that has entered the field of national conferences. This one led by Ryan Frank called the Kidmin Nation Mega-Con. I had not planned on attending until I received a personal invitation from Ryan inviting me to attend – there were no “strings attached”. After working out some logistical things on my end (time off from my FT job and financing the trip) I decided to attend this new conference out of curiosity to see what it would be like compared to other conferences I had attended.
- For purposes of this post, I am looking at the conference from an attendee’s eyes. There are many avenues that I could take and that is why I am clarifying how I am viewing the conference.
- Any reference to another conference is not to deem one better than another, but simply for a comparison to help you relate to what you may have already experienced at a conference you have attended.
The conference was held at a church which is similar to the typical Awana Ministry Conferences led by Awana missionaries and also the CMConnect conference. Holding conferences and events at a church are a key factor to keeping costs down but it also provides some limitations and challenges because you need to find a facility that can handle the large number of people attending without interfering with their normal schedule.
The facility used for the conference Cornerstone Church in Nashville, TN, was a large church which handled the conference well. I was truly surprised at the number of attendees and the number of ministries showcasing their products to help share the Gospel with a lost and dying world.
Ryan began the conference well and you could sense his desire to encourage and equip others for ministry. The opening message by the senior pastor of Cornerstone Church Nashville was encouraging the attendees to persevere in ministry, in serving God. General sessions were what one would expect at a conference and the “fuel ups” were additional sessions held over lunch and dinner allowing more time for training and equipping the attendees.
One thing that was unique about this conference was that they were giving away a car. That’s right, a 2017 Chevrolet Malibu pictured on the right. Was this really needed? Was it truly a draw for the event? We may never know, but it did build some excitement. If it was used for a draw, then I see this similar to CPC (Children’s Pastors Conference) which holds its conference in Orlando near the Disney (and other entertainment) complex and that is also used as a draw. Much like in several children’s ministries across the United States use a “big prize” to attempt to draw people in to their events. Is it effective? There are differing perspectives. Is it appropriate? Each one must make their own decision on that question.
What I did find at the conference was a high energy level among the attendees. Especially on the day of awesome. Someone asked me what I thought of the day of awesome (I left during the day of awesome) and I explained it this way. If you’ve been to CPC, they used to have a ministry showcase where various vendors could showcase their ministries. That is how I saw the day of awesome. It was a day long showcase of ministries participating in the conference. It allowed for attendees to experience the ministries they saw as well as gave them a chance to relax, have fun, and forget the pressures of ministry, of jobs, etc and “be a kid” so to speak and enjoy the many events that they so often plan for others to enjoy.
While I would not have done all that Ryan and his team did at the conference, and whether it was appropriate or not is an individual decision, it is not much different than what I see several churches do to reach their community, and they used it to reach those serving in children’s ministry. Overall, from an attendee perspective, I was surprised and felt it was a good time of refreshing and encouragement for many.
Which leaves the question as to why I left early. It was not because of any thing at the conference. I was scheduled to lead breakout sessions at an Awana conference in North Carolina (about a 9 hour drive) on Saturday and I needed the time to travel, rest, and prepare for that conference.
Did you attend the Mega-Con, or watch parts of the live stream? I would be interested in hearing your thoughts about this new conference.