I used the virtual conference as my fall teacher training with the three keynote speakers. I invited all of our children’s ministry volunteers – teachers and helpers – to a nice catered dinner on Friday evening with decorated tables. After dinner we watched the introduction of the virtual conference live and then watched the first keynote address. As we watched, I formulated questions for discussion based on our context with the content of the first keynote. We spent about fifteen minutes talking and applying what we had heard. We concluded the evening with prayer for our children. The next morning we had a continental breakfast AND coffee. I had a time of vision casting and safety training before we watched the second keynote. There was a short break and we watched the last keynote. We followed that time again with conversation and discussion about the keynotes as they applied to our context. This included some good questions from our volunteers. We were done before lunch and we all went home refreshed.
In October and January, I used the virtual conference videos for additional training by sending home the link and a list of the videos I’d like them to watch. I asked them to send me a paragraph or two about what their biggest takeaway from the video training was. I feel like this was too open ended. When I do it this year, I’ll be more specific about which vidoes I want them to watch in a shorter time frame . But I liked them being able to do it at home without coming back to church for another evening. I try to do training August, October, January and March. I’ll probably alternate between coming back to church to use one of the videos and have discussion and letting them do some at home. I did give “happys” away for completing the videos that I had sent.
Training is such an important part of the children’s ministries of our churches, and yet it can be a challenge as well. That’s why we found the Virtual Grow conference to be such a blessing!
Friday night and Saturday morning we invited everyone who serves with our children and youth to come to the church and be a part of a viewing party. Some were unable to attend in person, but we linked up with them on the internet and we felt connected that way. We gathered about 45 minutes before the broadcast began, providing some yummy food, sharing some of our church’s vision for next generation ministries, and taking a few minutes for prayer.
The next morning we gathered for breakfast and some more good teaching provided by CDM. But the event didn’t end there! We bought the whole package so that everyone in our church could participate. I sent links to our session members with suggestions for workshops that I thought might encourage them. They were grateful for the opportunity! Likewise, I sent the Virtual Grow Conference links with a list of suggested workshops for different areas of service: nursery, Sunday school teachers, early childhood leaders, etc. Those who participated were asked to send me an e-mail with their main “take-aways.” Their names were placed in a bowl for a series of prize drawings. My volunteers consistently reported that the workshops were well worth their time, and they didn’t need a prize…but the potential of a prize did make it more fun and motivating!
Deciding to provide this training for your church members not only helps the children’s ministry director provide training, but shows your volunteers that you value them. It’s an investment in your ministry.