It was a very cold and snowy Monday as my friend and fellow Children's Ministry director headed to the airport to meet up with two more friends who just happened to be Children's Ministry directors too. We were all traveling together to Florida to attend the Children's Pastor Conference 2018. Everyone I was traveling with had attended this conference in the past so I was the newbie. The main reason for my attending this conference at least was to be able to come back with some new and fresh ideas that I could implement here at Mason UMC at least that is what I thought. Well, God had even bigger plans for me. The theme of the conference was "You are Made for this" The conference was not just about having wonderful breakout sessions to help us grow our ministry but about taking care of ourselves and our faith and how we can do that in our busy day to day lives while reminding us that God "Made us for this".
The conference was set up with 6 general sessions and 6 breakout sessions over a three day period. During the general sessions we worshiped and then there were phenomenal speakers. It was the second day of the conference during the third breakout session that the particular speaker captivated me. His name is C. McNair Wilson and "he is one of the leading forces for creativity in all facets of corporate and personal life." This is a direct quote from our CPC18 book. His client list is very impressive some of them are Apple, Salvation Army and Chick-fil-A. He also has worked for Disney. He spoke about being creative doesn't mean being artistic it means having a vision. He also said to not be afraid to dream big. Being creative vs. not being creative is like being active vs. not active. The four points he spoke of when it came to being creative are 1: Take risks, 2: Challenge assumptions, 3: Stay curious and 4: See differently. As he was speaking my mind went to our Parent's Day Out program and how this totally applied to how we came to have this program.
Three years ago we had a vision and we took the risk and started the process of getting the program up and running. We had challenges along the way but we kept going. There was lots of communicating and problem solving and creating along the way, to finally open our doors two years ago with a soft opening with 5 little ones and two care givers. The fall of 2016 we had 15 little ones, two different age groups running at the same time and we increased to 5 caregivers. This year we changed things up again and we have increased to 34 little ones between two days and three age groups. We also increased to 7 caregivers.
It was obvious that this ministry is connecting with a need in family's lives. It is also clear that to dream any bigger would require more change. The vision of offering even more days for more children each week is now our new goal. To accomplish that goal we will need to become licensed by the state of Ohio. Our goal is to have our license by Fall 2019!
In looking into this possibility we reviewed the regulations for programs like Parents' Day Out and we realized we need to take a step back to be able to move forward. So we have determined we can no longer offer two days of care per week. When making that decision to offer two days earlier in the school year we may have misinterpreted those rules.
C. McNair Wilson spoke of how Disney was not afraid to dream big and take the risk to make his dream a reality. He had no idea what would happen but took the risk. No one knew then how a dream could become something so big and magical to so many people.
Being creative means never stop dreaming. I am always dreaming about ways we can help our families more and this is a way we can do just that! We are so excited for this new adventure and ready to take the risk to take this ministry to the next level especially knowing that God will be with us every step of the way!
Director of Children's Ministry