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“For from Him and to Him and through Him are all things…” (Rom. 11:36). Over 850 children’s ministry leaders joined us in Minneapolis for our 2009 conference entitled “Our Glorious God,” which focused on the centrality of God in life and ministry. We believe that because God is central in all of life, He must be central in all of our interactions with children. He must be the center of our prayers, our teaching, our relationship building, our worship, our actions, our speech, and our thoughts. It is our belief that as we see God’s centrality in all of life, we become better equipped to orient children to the centrality of God. Plenary speakers John Piper, Paul David Tripp, Bruce Ware and David Michael provided the theological foundations for God-centeredness at this conference. In addition, a number of diverse and experienced seminar leaders provided practical help and encouragement for parents, teachers, leaders, and others invested in ministry to children and youth.

Worship Song List (PDF)

2009 Conference – Pre-Conference Sessions

Nurturing the Faith of the Next Generation

Part 1: A Vision for the Glory of God
Is your church trying to find “something” for children’s ministry? In this introductory session, Pastor David and Sally Michael use Psalm 78 as a guide to unfold Children Desiring God’s vision for ministry to children, youth, and their parents. The Michaels also explore the meaning of the term “God-centered” and raise important questions about the responsibility of the church and parents to the next generation.

David & Sally Michael
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Part 2: Faith Comes by Hearing the Word
How can we help our children see and savor the glory of God? Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing His Word. In this session, David and Sally Michael present six basic principles for raising a Bible-saturated generation of students, and address three primary objections to a Word-saturated children’s ministry.

David & Sally Michael
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Part 3: A Heart Response Centered on the Gospel
At Children Desiring God, we want children to not only understand the truth, but also to embrace and respond to it personally. Only God can change a heart through the work of the Holy Spirit. But we can be faithful teachers of the Word and proclaimers of the Truth, trusting that God will use our efforts to touch and shape our children’s hearts. In this session, David and Sally Michael caution against underestimating the power of God’s Word and the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a child. They also provide help in teaching through life experiences and in evaluating the impact on a child’s heart.

David & Sally Michael
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2009 Conference - Plenary Sessions

Standing on the Truth: Our Glorious God

The God-Centeredness of GOD (70 minutes)
John Piper
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There is None Besides Me (70 minutes)
Bruce Ware
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His Story or Your Story: Who Reigns Supreme in Your Heart? (70 minutes)
Paul David Tripp
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A God-Centered Hope for the Joy of the Next Generation (70 minutes)
David Michael
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2009 Conference - Elective Seminars


Leadership Focus

Moblizing Men for Children's Ministry (66 minutes)
How can we motivate men to be involved in a ministry role that can be perceived as a ministry better suited for women? This seminar will consider why the role of men in children’s ministry is crucial to the strength and effectiveness of that ministry, and explore strategies for mobilizing and equipping men for effective ministry with children and youth.

David Michael
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Equipping the Family to Do Discipleship (63 minutes)
Jonathan Edwards declared, “Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church, consecrated to Christ, and wholly influenced and governed by His rules. Family education and order are some of the chief means of grace. If these fail, all other means are likely to prove ineffectual.” It’s still true! If discipleship is occurring in the homes of your church’s members, all other means of grace will become more effective. This seminar will equip you to train families in your church to be, to play, to learn, and to serve together in ways that will strengthen your entire congregation.

Timothy Jones
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Resources for Family Ministry (68 minutes)
Lots of books…so little time to read them! Finding really great resources among the myriad of good resources is time consuming. This seminar will highlight great ministry resources for parenting, marriage, family, pre-marriage, singles, Christian education, and counseling, and give suggestions on how to use them effectively. The goal of this seminar is to recommend resources, provide a philosophy for choosing great resources, and equip for discipleship.

Sally Michael
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Shepherding Leaders Well (69 minutes)
Would you like to be settled and satisfied in God as you encourage and equip your team of leaders? Would you like to make the best use of your gifts and even your goof ups, while navigating through anxiety and affliction? Come, be refreshed and strengthened with Gospel hope for the good work of ministry God has called you to.

Gil McConnell
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Beyond Access - God's Delight in Disabilities (53 minutes)
Because God is good, some of His creation will live with a disability! Many hold the view that a good God would never purposefully create that kind of suffering for any of His creation, but God uses disabilities to point us toward Himself. The purpose of this seminar is to explore specific references to disability in the Old and New Testaments that reveal God’s glory and purposes in His creation. At the conclusion, participants will appreciate the significance of disability in the Bible, be familiar with themes on disability found in Scripture, and see how disability consistently reveals the glory and goodness of God.

John Knight
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Disability Ministry (37 minutes)
How do you start a disabilities ministry when you are not a disabilities expert? How do you help the church foster a heart for families with disabled children? Most importantly, how can the church minister to the souls of the disabled and those affected by disability? Hear testimonies of God’s provision and practical expressions of hope for those interested in starting a disabilities ministry. This seminar will touch your heart and provide practical help.

Brenda Fischer
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Doing Family Ministry: Real-Life Ministry Models for Real-Life Churches
(48 minutes)
“Okay, so I realize that my church needs to do family ministry, but I have no clue what needs to change or how to make the transition.” Pastors and ministry leaders, if that describes your feelings about family ministry, this seminar is for you. Dr. Jones will examine every church’s need for family ministry and outline three models for family ministry. Then he’ll help you to develop a step-by-step plan for transitioning your entire church into a family-equipping model of ministry.

Timothy Jones
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Mentoring Teachers
(50 minutes)
How do you encourage new teachers and help them grow into mature teachers who effectively impart spiritual truth to children and youth? This seminar includes mentoring techniques to help you come alongside your new teachers with training and encouragement to help them grow in their teaching effectiveness. You will also learn how to set up mentoring pairs – linking mature teachers with new teachers to establish mentoring relationships. To aid the mentoring relationship, instruction will be given on how to do teacher observations to provide helpful teacher feedback.

Connie Oman
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Teacher Training Focus

Word Art - Word Pictures in Gospel Teaching (65 minutes)
Jesus, the master teacher, used both visuals and word pictures to convey and clarify truth. Young children, being concrete learners, can more easily grasp deep spiritual truth when presented with verbal and visual pictures. We will discuss some biblical word pictures and learn the basic principles for crafting and using various types of pictures in our teaching.

Linda McIntire
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God-Centered Teaching in a Child-Centered World: Lessons from Proverbs
(59 minutes)
The book of Proverbs is an account of a father teaching his son to walk in the way of wisdom and embrace it in his life. In a world where various learning styles are promoted as breakthroughs in helping teachers teach and children learn, it is fascinating to see what the Holy Spirit inspired as a model of teaching. This seminar aims to equip teachers to teach in a God-centered manner using a God-Centered approach to teaching and learning.

Ian Fry
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Small Group Focus

Leading Application Time (71 minutes)
Applying truths of Bible lessons to children’s everyday life is es-sential…and can be the most challenging aspect of classroom training. Understanding the value of application time will assist the leader to properly prepare, lead and engage students in life response to the Word of God. This seminar will provide that understanding along with guidelines that will equip leaders to increase their effectiveness in guiding and learning from application time.

Jim Tomaszewski
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General Focus

Beyond Classroom Management (49 minutes)
Attentive, well-behaved children sound like a teacher’s dream. But could this goal fall short of achieving something more important— training in righteousness? Let’s consider effective correction that connects heart attitudes with behavior. Our goal is not simply well-behaved children but children who joyfully submit to God.

Connie Oman
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The Centrality of God in the Children's Ministry Leader (68 minutes)
In striving to faithfully teach truth, we must not lose sight that “who we are” is also teaching alongside our words. Do we spread the “fragrance of the knowledge of Christ” or sow seeds of rebellion in those in relationship with us? This seminar will both explore the effect of our influence on others and challenge us to “guard our hearts and minds” so that we are authentic examples to the next generation.

Sally Michael
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Choosing God-Centered Resources (63 minutes)
The Christian book and media market offer an increasing number of resources for children. Some of these are wonderful resources that promote the centrality of God and help our children’s understanding of biblical truth. However, many are (often subtly) man-centered at their core. How do we, as teachers and parents, evaluate these resources in a way that is discerning concerning the centrality of God? This seminar will focus on practical, clear guidelines for evaluating Christian books, music, and visual media developed for children.

Jill Nelson
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Prayer - Utter Dependence Upon God (69 minutes)
We can do so much in our lives and ministry without God, can’t we? Don’t we? There is a necessary connection between our felt dependency upon God and our pursuit of God in prayer. We are always modeling before both children and adults how to serve without God. or with Him. This seminar is intended to cultivate your thirst for a felt dependency upon God, and to help you express that thirst in prayer as you meditate upon Scripture. It is also intended to cultivate creative thought in how to lead your ministry teams and children/youth in prayer as you corporately meditate upon Scripture.

Bud Burk
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Raising God-Centered Children in a Self-Centered Age (47 minutes)
The concept of “The Self” has been promoted through our education system for a generation. It has radically changed the way that children learn and teachers teach. In this seminar, we will trace the ideas contributing to this concept, examine the resulting practice, look at how churches have unwittingly adopted some wrong thinking and consider how to teach the rising generation the “praiseworthy deeds of the Lord” in ways that fix their eyes on Him and away from themselves.

Nina Fry
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Youth Focus

Truth Drenched Youth Ministry (73 minutes)
How can we breed a ministry full of students who set their hearts to study, live, and teach the Word (Ezra 7:10), treasure the words of His mouth more than food (Job 23:12), delight in the law of the Lord (Psalm 1:2), desire God’s Word more than gold, and have the Word of Christ richly dwelling in them (Colossians 3:16)…all to the praise and glory of King Jesus? We can’t! But, God can! Come find out how God graciously seeks to create this kind of Bible-saturated breeding ground in your ministry to young people, for the fame of Jesus’ name in this generation!

Kempton Turner
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Expanding the Expectation of Parents and Youth Workers (71 minutes)
What radical, Christ-exalting things are you expecting Jesus to do in and through the young people you serve? The Bible and church history reveal that God’s expectations for teenagers are much higher than ours . Our expectations as parents and pastors can be the greatest stepping stone or stumbling block to the fulfillment of God’s glorious kingdom purposes in the lives of the teenagers we serve. Join us as we beg Almighty God to expand our expectations. We will explore what God has done through teenagers throughout biblical history up to the present day, and consider how we can be “stepping stones” for God’s work in young people.

Kempton Turner
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Mining the Word - Scripture Study Skills for Adults (69 minutes)
Would you like to increase your depth of insight and gain greater passion and momentum for the Word? Join us as we examine several simple, helpful Bible study tools together. This seminar is designed to motivate and equip adults to more effectively read and study their Bibles in order to feed their own souls and minister to others. We’ll look at the basic Bible study process, using differing Bible translations, using cross-references to interpret Scripture with Scripture, tracking the flow of thought in a passage, and reviewing other resources. Bring a Bible!

Brian Tabb
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Owning the Word - Teaching Youth to Study Scripture (75 minutes)
Would you like to transfer your love of God’s Word to your students and equip them to feed their own souls from the Word? Come join other parents and youth leaders for this seminar designed to motivate and equip you to study the Bible more effectively with youth. We’ll discuss the need to teach students to own the Word, the importance of modeling, the basic Bible study process, how to use a small group approach to examine a book of the Bible, what to do and what not to do, as well as how to get started. Bring a Bible!

Brian Tabb
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Raising Boys to be Godly Men in a Confused and Conflicted Culture (57 minutes)
It has been said that “Never before in our history have we been so eager to tear up the blueprint of biology and redefine our roles as men and women, mothers and fathers.” We need to equip children and youth to respond to a worldview that breaks down distinctions between the sexes, resulting in confusion and conflict. We will seek to explain how this happened, expose the underlying assumptions of popular feminism, and refocus our thinking through the lens of Scripture so boys and young men have a great vision of what God has called them to and equipped them for in this generation.

Ian Fry
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Raising Girls to be Godly Women in a Confused and Conflicted Culture (57 minutes)
It has been said that “Never before in our history have we been so eager to tear up the blueprint of biology and redefine our roles as men and women, mothers and fathers.” We need to equip children and youth to respond to a worldview that breaks down distinctions between the sexes, resulting in confusion and conflict. We will seek to explain how this happened, expose the underlying assumptions of popular feminism, and refocus our thinking through the lens of Scripture so girls and young have a great vision of what God has called them to and equipped them for in this generation.

Nina Fry
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