First Children's Ministry Conference set for July

Registration is open for the 2008 National LCMS Children’s Ministry Conference — for anyone who works with kids ranging in age from early childhood through fifth-grade-age in the Synod.
Each LCMS congregation should have received by mail from LCMS District and Congregational Services — Children’s Ministry, which is sponsoring the conference, a booklet with informationchild-ministry.jpg and registration forms for the July 11-13 event at St. Peter Lutheran Church, Schaumburg, Ill.   That congregation is a conference co-host, along with the LCMS Northern Illinois District.
Conference information and registration also is available online at
This will be “a conference that professional church workers and volunteers engaged in ministry with children will not want to miss,” Dr. Jeffrey E. Burkart, conference chair, writes in a cover letter with the mailing.
Burkart, who is on the faculty at Concordia University, St. Paul, Minn., notes that the conference — planned for about 600 participants — “includes nationally known speakers in areas of children’s ministry and a wide variety of workshops (outlined in the registration booklet), which will provide every participant with practical, tested ideas and techniques for developing effective ministries with children … .”
With the theme “Christ+Children+Community,” the conference also will feature worship, “festive gatherings,” an exhibit of art from children around the Synod (in conjunction with the art department of Concordia University Chicago), a festival of music and the arts, and a “Ministry Market Place” where exhibitors will share ministry information and provide interactive displays.

Dr. Judith Christian, director of DCS Children’s Ministry, explains in the conference booklet that the event “is designed to provide learning opportunities, but more importantly to immerse participants in Scripture-based experiences focused on mission and ministry with children.

“Planned to shape, nurture, and equip people for continuing service in the kingdom of God,” she continues, “the National LCMS Children’s Ministry Conference will expand and enhance people’s imagination, thinking, and skills in areas of children’s ministry. The conference will provide training and resources for creating and nurturing climates and cultures that are Christ-centered, child- and family-focused, and invitational.”

Christian told Reporter that this will be the Synod’s first national conference “specifically for everyone in children’s ministry,” although other synodwide conferences in the past have involved those in specific or overall areas of ministry including children.
Presenters will include:

  • Rev. Steve Wiggins Sr., of Atlanta, who will lead Sunday worship.

  • Rev. Robert Riggert, executive assistant for the Iowa District West, conference chaplain.

  • Dr. William Diekelmann, first vice president of the Synod, special-guest speaker.

  • Dr. James I. Lamb, executive director of Lutherans For Life, who as keynoter will address the “Christ” portion of the theme on July 11.

  • Dr. Judith Christian, keynoter on “Children,” July 12.

  • Dr. Roger Theimer, children’s pastor at King of Kings Lutheran Church, Omaha, Neb., keynoter on “Community,” July 12.

  • “mega-sectional” presenters Ben Freudenburg of Concordia University, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Maria Saunders, St. Paul Lutheran School, Miami; and Michelle Thompson, St. John Lutheran Church, Ellisville, Mo.

The forms in the conference registration booklet and online are for submitting information for the children’s art show, individual conference registration, workshop registration, and group registration.

Registration received online or postmarked by April 30 is $145 per participant, and $185 after that date and before the registration deadline of June 1. No registrations will be processed that are submitted online after June 1 or mailed with a postmark of later than that date. Discounted group registration also is available. Pre-conference workshops are offered at $30 per person. Full payment of registration fees must accompany each submitted registration.
For information on limited scholarships that are offered, see the printed or online registration material.
Lodging is available at area hotels, including a limited number of rooms for $99 per night (for up to four occupants per room) at the conference hotel, the DoubleTree Hotel Chicago/Schaumburg — located 1.6 miles from St. Peter.  Shuttle service between that hotel and the church will be available for those registered at the DoubleTree.

Posted Feb. 15, 2008

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