Children's Summit Workshops

A Need for Weekly Curriculum for Baby Sunday/Church School
Leader: Diane Steen-Hinderlie

For babies, toddlers, and their parent(s), why not have weekly Sunday School right from the start? What are the pros or cons of this? What ideas do you have for such classes? In this workshop, Diane Steen-Hinderlie will also share what she's done in several congregations for over a dozen years. She has worked to transform the church nursery into an intentional teaching/learning place. Then childcare becomes the first step into creating small group ministry for families, helping parents become teachers of faith in the home. A music-infused environment helps the church music program, too, which is important for Lutherans.

And Then What Happened - Continuing the Human and Biblical Narrative Through Storytelling
Leader: Amy Santoriello MA student Luther seminary

Explore the art of sharing both the Biblical and human narrative through storytelling.

Beyond Toys for Tots: The Relational Imperative
Leader: Umo Udo

There are many programs and initiatives for children such as Toys for Tots that have revolutionized our thinking and action. Such programs sponsored by organizations like the Marine Corps Reserve, Churches, United Way, Salvation Army and the Red Cross have offered us opportunities to put our faith in action. Where they often fall short is in creating assumptions and expectations based on our convenience rather than the relational imperative that our faith calls us to. This workshop will expose us to the often hidden and underserved world of children, challenge our apathy and invite action in response to the question, "How/where are the children?" And perhaps in the words of Yolanda Adams, "What about the children?"

Exemplar Youth Ministry: The growing edge of youth and family ministry from out on the edge into the middle
Leader: Hal Weldin

The segregation youth and children’s ministries has both long term and dramatic effects on the future spiritual practices of tomorrow’s adults. The Exemplar Youth Ministry Study researched the best practices of seven mainline denominations in North America and provides some shining examples of what could be. A notable history of influences has segregated youth ministry from congregational ministry and it is time for all of us to move toward a greater integration strategy.

Families Forming Christians
Leader: Peggy O'Neill Fisher

Families are the cells of the church and have the unique job of forming their children in our Christian tradition. The community needs to offer support, resources and a forum where families can encourage each other. Explore how this looks in the family and in the community. We will share concrete and pragmatic ideas about how to offer support to families, we will consider some useful resources, and we'll share with each other what we are doing that works.

Godly Play
Leader: Dorothy V. Turner, Registered Nurse and Certified Godly Play Storyteller

Godly Play is an imaginative way of telling the stories of our faith. Children already know the language of the culture; this approach to learning helps children learn the language of faith in ways that are real and meaningful to them. Workshop participants will experience a Godly Play story, learn what this unique and creative ministry is all about and discover ways that it might be utilized in their own congregation.

Hospitality Can Be a S-N-A-P
Leader: Dawn Rundman, Ph.D.

Congregations may be well-versed in providing hospitality for the coffee-drinking set, but what about those who still use sippy cups? Let's explore ways that congregations can extend hospitality to its youngest members and visitors through Seating, the Nursery, Artwork and Programming.

Inclusive Worship and Children
Leader: Christy Olson, AiM and adjunct at Luther Seminary

We will discuss why children belong in the entire worship service and how this is the only true way to provide an inclusive worship experience. Be prepared to share ways that your church works towards inclusive worship that involves children. We will also discuss the delicate balance of change when it comes to rethinking worship in churches.

Leading Change in Congregational Ministry
Leader: Terri Martinson Elton

In ministry today, leading change is part of what makes an effective leader. Few leaders, however, have the needed frames for approaching change or the skills to lead people through change. This workshop will give an overview of change from various perspectives and highlight key skills needed to lead change.

Life in the Fishbowl: Faith, Parenting, and Ministry
Leader: Dawn Alitz

Being a parent can be a difficult vocation, but when you are a leader in ministry it seems as though there are many eyes on everything you do. Join in an honest and affirming discussion on the struggles and joys of living your family life "in a fishbowl." Led by Dawn Alitz, PhD student at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN. Dawn has served in a variety of congregational settings while being married and raising two daughters.

Workshop FULL - Living & Learning the Word: Awakening Kids to Scripture, Engaging Children 0-12 years old
Leader: Pastor Nancy Lee Gauche

How do we awaken young people to the Bible? Wonderful opportunities emerge at every age level to connect young people and their families with the Word. Attend this Workshop to explore "intersections" as a child grows, to help them learn and grow in God's Word. From a Preschool Bible Event to a 6th Grade Sexuality Session, all intersections to put God's Word in action.

Mapping the Way
Leader: Vicky Goplin

You won't know if you arrive if you don't know where you are going. Do you know where your children's ministry is going? How does what you do for and with children in your congregation match what you hope or want for them? Think, talk and plan together to envision ministry for and with God's children.

Media Literacy and Faith: Making Faithful Choices in your Media Diet
Leader: Rev. Robin Blair, UMC

We will discuss how to help children make faithful choices in daily life regarding the media they consume by focusing on how to deconstruct media advertising. Christian educators and parents will walk away with a simple outline empowering you to invite the children to be critical thinkers and faithful disciples.

Relationships and Ministry to Young People
Leader: Andrew Root

This workshop will examine a relational approach to youth ministry in order to uncover some of the blind spots in our contemporary understanding of relationships with young people in the church.

They're not MY Kids - Why should I care?
Leader: Kathy Urtel Johnson

Everyone a child comes in contact with in a congregation teaches them something about the faith, for better or for worse. While families are the primary crucible for faith formation and church staff is important, "random" congregation members have a very special calling. How can we strengthen these vital faith connections in our congregations? What are the blessings? What are the frustrations? What does the Bible say? Come and explore the calling that "random" adults share in the faith formation of young Christians.

Welcoming Children and Families with Special Needs
Leader: The Rev. Hollie M. Holt-Woehl, Ph.D.

This workshop introduces participants to the many and varied world of children and families with special needs through the sharing of congregational stories and personal experiences. Participants will also learn practical tips and suggestions which may assist welcoming children and families with special needs into their own congregations.

Welcoming Families with Children with Special Needs
Leader: Joy M. Newcom, mother of a son with multiple disabilities

What does it feel like when church families encounter physical barriers to participating in church? And what barriers, beyond visible ones, exist for families of children with special needs? Joy M. Newcom shares how her family worked to overcome physical, social, emotional and spiritual barriers in order to enjoy the church's "full communion," after her oldest son was born with physical and intellectual disabilities. Learn also about the nurturing and healing actions her church family provided, actions that she credits as helping her family members deepen their spiritual identities as children of God.

Workshop FULL - Welcoming Children as Disciples in the Faith Community
Leader: Carole Joyce

With the simple words, "Follow me." Jesus calls us into a life of discipleship. Often we don't think about discipleship with children, but at baptism we are all called to follow Jesus in lives of discipleship. In this workshop we will:

  • define and describe discipleship
  • picture what discipleship might look like
  • imagine practicing discipleship with children

The ideas which we explore could be developed with children into a VBS, preschool, or after school series. The themes could be developed cross-generationally during Lenten worship or congregational events. By the time we are done, we will find new ways that these themes can come alive in the everyday life and experience of children.

Welcoming, Supporting, and Equipping Parents
Leader: Marilyn Sharpe, Director of Cross+Generational Ministries

In the last 60 years, congregations have taken on the role of parents in faith formation for their children. How can our congregations reverse this, welcoming the whole family and supporting and equipping parents to be the "apostles, bishops and priests" for their children that Luther described? How can we build a living partnership between households and congregations so that our children develop a life transforming faith in Jesus Christ that changes the lives of all the generations forever? Come and learn doable, practical, proven ways that congregations can welcome, support, and equip parents to do what Christ has called them to do.