Kids Ministry Conference Focuses on Trauma

By Sharon Mager

“ReNew” Kids Ministry Conference, from 9 a.m. to noon on September 26, via Zoom, will be chock-full of information and encouragement to equip pastors, children’s ministry leaders, and volunteers. The emphasis will be on renewal – including relationships with children and families as churches begin to adjust to new ways of gathering safely amid a pandemic.

“It has been a long, frustrating, and challenging last six months! But we have seen God moving in new ways as we have been challenged to ‘ReNew’ our ministries,” said Kris Buckman, Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCM/D)’s children’s ministry consultant.

“One of ReNew’s main focuses is the mental state of children, especially regarding trauma. Most people equate trauma in children to sexual abuse, witnessing violence, or being in a home with parents who are illegal drug users, but it also includes divorce, verbal abuse, or neglect,” explained Buckman. “And then there’s the coronavirus. Every child has experienced trauma to some degree during the pandemic as the life they knew has been turned upside down.”

In addition to having to wear masks and practice social distancing, children are also aware of varying degrees of the social unrest around them, or they hear their families discussing difficult situations in the world. As we start to bring students back into kids’ ministry, we’re seeing more anxiety in children,” she said.

To respond to some of these issues, Buckman invited several respected professionals to share practical advice for the ReNew conference.

Buckman and Eliza Huie, a biblical counselor, speaker, and author, will share from 9-9:50 a.m. about trauma and children and discuss what trauma is, how to identify it, and practical ways to help children cope with it.

Following the opening session, participants can choose two breakout sessions from the list below:

  • Nick Blevins, who serves on the leadership team at Community Christian Church in Nottingham, Maryland, and leads the NextGen Ministry staff team, will share “Five Strategies for Children’s Ministry Online,” a session about using online ministries to engage children and empower parents to be faith leaders in their homes.
  • Kim Botto, who leads Kids’ Club and student ministry at Crossroads Church in Ohio, will share, “Trauma-Informed Kids Ministry.” Botto will discuss the reasons for disruptive behavior while sharing practical and proven methods for healthy and effective responses to children with challenging behaviors.
  • Huie and Jessica Shen, a licensed clinical social worker, will combine their expertise to provide hands-on tools to help families manage stress and find peace.
  • Ryan and Kayla North, co-founders of One Big Happy Home, will equip pastors, children’s ministry leaders, and volunteers to see the connection between the hard things we all face and our ability to facilitate healthy, loving relationships.

Buckman has incorporated some fun during the meeting, including an ongoing game of Bingo throughout the conference with prizes from LifeWay and other vendors, as well as a “virtual swag bag” for all attendees with some excellent (FREE) children’s ministry resources you can use immediately! The swag bag will only be available to those who register!

Following the wrap-up at noon, participants can join a “Kidmin” general discussion with Buckman for a time of sharing, questions, and fellowship.

“Families are looking to you for help and guidance,” says Buckman. “It’s our responsibility to stretch ourselves to lead the best way we can in the environment God has entrusted us with. Join us for this half-day conference as we RENEW our ministries and our passion!”

The conference is free. Register online.