Do you oversee faith formation or kid-min programming for children in your congregation? Want a boost? We invite you to gather with other dedicated children’s ministry leaders (volunteer and paid) to delve into the essentials of building a strong children’s program, whether you have five kids or 50. The cohort will meet on Zoom for seven sessions between January and March of 2024, and include learning, idea-sharing, and mutual support from fellow children’s leaders and guest speakers.
Commitment: One of the NextGen cohort benefits is the community and trust built from regular interaction on Zoom. To facilitate this community-building, we ask all participants to commit to attending at least 5 of the 7 sessions live. Sessions will be recorded for participants who must miss a session.
Cost: The total cost to participate in the full cohort experience is $75. We are happy to provide scholarships when needed, bringing the participant contribution down to $25.
About the Facilitator
Rev. Carol Van Buskirk is a United Methodist Deacon passionate about transforming the world with God’s inclusive love. Carol has a seminary degree from Claremont School of Theology, with emphases in religious education and worship arts.
She has more than fifteen years of experience in hands-on kids ministry at various UMC congregations in California, Massachusetts, and North Carolina. Carol’s current calling is resourcing children’s ministry workers through her new website: GLU-kids.com.
Session Dates and Descriptions
Session 1: Gathering and Getting to Know One Another
Monday, January 8, 2024, 12-1pm
During this introductory session, we will introduce ourselves, get to know one another, chart the path for the following sessions, and get a sense of the resourcing offered in the North Carolina Conference.
Session 2: Planning, Planning, Planning
Saturday, January 13, 9-10:30 am
Planning children’s ministry means organizing and scheduling for effective and predictable ministry. Learn how to manage an annual children’s calendar and prioritize what you and your team can do. Right size your ministry for current kids, and determine how you can prepare space for more!
Session 3: Volunteers are a Gift
Saturday, January 27, 9-10:30 am
Successful volunteer management and relationship building are essential in children’s ministry. Learn how to identify the right leaders for your ministry and determine your volunteers’ gifts. Leaning into their gifts means more fulfilled volunteers who find the joy of serving that brings them back.
Session 4: Creating a Trusted Church Home
Saturday, February 10, 9-10:30 am
How do ministry leaders create a trustworthy environment where parents know kids are both nurtured and safe? Get a handle on best practices and draft an outline of Safe Sanctuaries guidelines and policies so parents can trust the church for kids’ safety and spiritual development.
Session 5: Understanding Learning Styles and Successfully Supporting Disability Ministries
Saturday, February 24, 9-10:30 am
Deepen your awareness of age-appropriate learning strategies integral to teaching and discipling children effectively. Also, increase your understanding of how to shape your ministry to welcome children with different needs (neurodivergent, sensory needs, ADHD). Discover the abundant resources available to support United Methodist congregations with theologically sound studies and other curricula.
Session 6: Making your Ministry Integral in the Life of the Church
Saturday, March 9, 9-10:30 am
How can your children’s ministry be integrated seamlessly into other ministries? What are the best practices for successful intergenerational opportunities? How can your church support not only children attending programs but also the families who care for them?
Session 7: Moving your Ministry into the Community…Thinking Beyond the Church
Saturday, March 23, 9-10:30 am
How can you share Christ beyond the walls of your church? Can your children’s ministry meet needs in the community? And how could such opportunities provide avenues to engage in mission and enable your congregation to build relationships with people who would not otherwise have visited your church? Learn about the ways the children and youth in your church could be a part of new initiatives.
Sign Me Up!
NextGen Faith Builders – Interest in Future Cohort
We are pleased at the level of interest in this cohort opportunity for children’s ministry leaders. The current cohort is now full. If you are interested in joining a future cohort, please fill out this form to help us determine the need and the best time to schedule future groups.