Thoughts from Children's Pastor's Conference Day 2

If you have been in attendance this week, say Amen to everything God has poured into you thus far. If you haven't been here, don't be discouraged. Hopefully, you are getting inspired enough to want to be present next year. Let's get into the day, shall we?

McNair Wilson was the morning speaker for the general session. He has done work with lots of corporations, both big and small, but the two that sticks out to me is his work with Chick Fil A and The Walt Disney Company as an Imagineer. I love them both for many of the same reasons, the way they treat their guests. I could go on, but you want to read more about the conference so let's proceed. 

Here are just a few key statements from McNair in the general session. 

What do you do best? Do you do it every day? 

Years ago is the place you can’t get to from here. Don’t beat yourself up for what you didn’t do yesterday.

All actively creative people:

  • Take risks
  • Challenge assumptions
  • Stay curious
  • See differently

Failure is evidence that you’ve tried something.

Ask the question: what has never been done before? 

Ok. There's just a bit from McNair. More from him in a bit as I also sat in on his breakout. That last statement though is worth us really spending some time trying to answer in how it relates to where we're doing ministry and our methods as children's ministry leaders.

Breakout #1- Effective Neighborhood Outreach led by Kevin Reynolds. The synopsis to this is being willing to meet kids and families where they are at. Build that relationship, get them wanting to come back for more, give them Jesus, and then watch them enter the doors of your church. So many churches are investing big time money from their budgets on getting people inside their churches for an event other than a weekend church service.

I think back to our own efforts as a church. This past Halloween, we saw 1,300-1,500 folks come through our doors. I measured that as a huge win except for the fact, a few days later, when our church doors were opened again, they didn't show up. 

If we are going to be effective, we must be willing to meet folks where they are. Have your church members offer up their front yard for some neighborhood engagement. Don't stop with the one time. Build it up. Build a team to lead that neighborhood group and then you, as the children's m ministry leader, find another neighborhood and another front yard. Before long, you've got a handful of cell groups throughout your community who you've built relationships with and hopefully they are stepping foot on the weekends at one of your church services. Jesus went to where the people were, and then they began to follow Him. Stop expecting unchurched folks to walk into your doors without you having invested something in them. Let them see that you care and then they'll show you how much they care!

Breakout #2- HATCH: Brainstorming secrets of a Disney Imagineer

Let me just start off saying, buy this book. You can find it on his website: mcnairwilson.com

I'm not paid to say that either. This book has the ability to change you, your ministry and your church staff. Order 20, and he'll throw in a free 30 minute Skype session with your staff. Let me just tell you, BARGAIN!

Here are a few notes from his breakout:

When coming together for a brainstorming session, consider following these steps: 


  1. Start a Fire- let people know what the meeting is about and hold it to about 3-7 folks
  2. Creative/Critical thinking (never do these together)
  3. Yes, and- always follow up with this statement
  4. No blocking/no wimping- must be a team player, nothing negative to be brought to these
  5. More ideas- don't limit the number of ideas you bring to the table
  6. Wild ideas- don't limit the craziness of an idea (McNair has helped create some great attractions at Disney parks all around the world) 
  7. Critical thinking- hash out the details here, storyboards, napkins, etc.

McNair went on to share a conversation he had with Dan Cathey, of Chick Fil A. Dan raved about the book Good to Great and asked McNair his thoughts on it. McNair responded with such a great question that we absolutely must consider when thinking about our ministries "What's after great?" We simply can't stop at great. 

My final thought of his to share is this: design spaces/events with the whole senses in mind (Sound, look, smell, feel, taste).

Incredible stuff I tell ya.