After the first amazing session, we all split up to various seminars. I chose to go to "Leading a Christ-exalting Children's Ministry" and "From Notes to Charts", the latter of which was a piano seminar taught by Enfield's John Martin.
The first seminar was taught by Marty Machowski, and his main point was that children's ministries need to be gospel-centered. As always, the premise sounds so obvious, but after listening to him and reflecting on my own experiences in children's ministries, it is SO easy to let the gospel escape from our ministries. His introduction was a memo from a children's ministry where the leaders had decided to avoid teaching about the death of Jesus on Easter due to the graphic nature of the crucifixion. Instead, they chose to teach on the Last Supper, a gathering between Jesus and his friends.
Marty argued, and I wholeheartedly agree, that without the death and resurrection of Christ, we don't have a gospel. We just have humanist moralizing. We can teach the kids to act better, but without the gospel, how can they be saved?
No matter what we teach, whether it be creation science, or peacemaking, or about the Old Testament, EVERYTHING needs to point back to Christ.
Some more thoughts:
- Parents are primary. What's more, parents WANT to teach their kids, and would love to know what we're doing. I need to be more proactive about partnering with parents.
- A line from Spurgeon that I really liked: "Christ crucified is meat for men, but also milk for babes."
I actually didn't learn much from the piano session. After going to musical seminars at these types of conferences, I realize that you're lucky to learn even ONE thing. Which is kind of ironic, because this is where I thought I would be growing the most from the conference.
Basically, everything I learned in this session can be summed up in four sentences.
- Practice, practice, practice. Don't practice until you get it right. Practice until you can't get it wrong.
- Don't trample all over the bass...or the guitars. Pick your frequencies and your spots. Match the drum/bass groove.
- The room that we were in had no air conditioning.
- John Martin is really, really good at piano.
I think that's it for now. And I haven't even gotten to the second session.