A conference on “Gospel Outreach and Early Childhood Ministry” will take place Aug. 2-4 at Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon. The conference is sponsored jointly by the Open Arms Institute, an LCMS Recognized Service Organization in Loveland, Colo., and the university’s Early Childhood Education Department.
The Open Arms segment of the conference will feature an “orientation track” for anyone who would like to explore the concept of church planting or enhanced Gospel outreach with childcare ministry. There also will be a “leadership track” for pastors, directors, and governing board members whose congregations already have an early-childhood program.
More than 50 of the Synod’s 1,400 early-childhood ministries across the country are using Open Arms concepts in Gospel outreach and church planting, according to Martin Barlau, executive director of the Open Arms Institute.
“Some of the early models, such as Our Savior’s Way in Ashburn, Va., are replicating themselves in a new mission congregation in neighboring communities,” Barlau said. “In other cases, an Open Arms childcare center has made it possible for existing congregations to begin ministry at a satellite location. Zion Lutheran Church in Fairbanks, Alaska, under Pastor Philip Kuehnert, has used their Open Arms center to complete a total relocation to a more strategic site and facility.”
In the early-childhood ministry portion of the conference, Dr. Candace Seider, who heads the university’s Department of Early Childhood Education, will conduct her annual early-childhood workshop. Seider’s workshop will feature hands-on sessions, as well as discussions of curriculum and other issues of interest to early-childhood educators.
Other speakers include:
- Gloria DeGaetano, founder and CEO of The Parent Coaching Institute, Bellevue, Wash., who will speak about “parenting and child rearing in a media age.”
- Robert Rogalski, president of the Lutheran Schools Development Center, Sun City, Ariz., who will offer ideas for marketing, managing, and raising funds for Lutheran preschools, elementary, and high schools.
Registration, which includes three meals, is $155 for Open Arms Institute members and $185 for non-members. Lodging is available at nearby hotels at a special conference rate. Scholarship funds are available. Registration deadline is July 15.
Posted May 25, 2006