Child care ministry conference set for fall

The Open Arms Institute is sponsoring a conference on “Church Planting and Gospel Outreach through Childcare Ministry” Aug. 20-22 in Raleigh, N.C.

The three-day conference is open to anyone with an interest in starting a Lutheran child care center — either in conjunction with an existing congregation or to start a new congregation.  Participants will have opportunities to get acquainted with the Open Arms concept and visit with those who are operating a successful child care center.

Topics to be covered include doing demographics and feasibility studies, acquiring financing, purchasing a site, building a facility, hiring staff, setting up a program, and reaching out to the community.

Conference participants will spend a day at the host congregation, Holy Cross Lutheran Church and Open Arms Child Development Center in Clayton, N.C., where they will tour the facility and take part in a question-and-answer session with Pastor Bill Beyer and child care Director Wendy Neuschafer.

“Holy Cross Lutheran Church is a classic example of a new church planting with child care ministry,” said Martin Barlau, director of the Open Arms Institute.  “The congregation held their first worship in 2001, attended an Open Arms conference in 2002, and began their Open Arms program in 2006.”

Enrollment at the Holy Cross Child Development Center is at capacity of about 135 children, and the congregation worships more than 400 people weekly, according to Barlau.

Conference registration, which includes an opening dinner and two lunches, is $345 for Open Arms members, or $430 for non-members, by Aug. 10; after that date, registration is $430 for members and $520 for non-members.  A fourth registrant from the same ministry is free.  Limited scholarship help is available.

For more information or to register, visit or contact the institute at 970-667-3249 or

The Open Arms Institute, based in Loveland, Colo., is an LCMS Recognized Service Organization that has helped Lutherans start more than 60 child care centers nationwide since 1989.  Its purpose is “to foster and guide Lutheran church planting and Gospel outreach with child care ministry.”

Posted May 20, 2009

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