Just over 200 people attended Napkin 2o1o. They came from Australia, South Africa, Canada, and all over the USA. Over 200 like-minded children’s ministry leaders came to participate in a conference in which they were just as important as the several keynote speakers. And the benefits showed throughout the two days of sessions.
People poured out their hearts to each other, brainstormed together, prayed, cried, and laughed together. And that was just during the many opportunities which the presenters provided for small group interaction. Brilliant.
Other conferences I have recently attended have attempted to foster small group interaction, but with varied results. I now know why. Physical setting. If you have people sit in pews or chairs which are faced forward toward a speaker in the front, then it will be harder to implement small group interactions. But, if you follow Napkin’s example (or the example of any one of the many local children’s ministry networks around the USA), simply set up round tables with several chairs at each and watch the interaction happen organically.
Sure, it helps to give people relevant material with which to interact, but if the physical setting is not conducive to interpersonal exchanges, then it will present an environmental impediment to networking and mutual encouragement.
Tomorrow, I will begin sharing some insights I learned while at Napkin. In the meantime feel free to navigate over to Greg Baird’s brand new website, kidmin360.com where he shares his Napkin Notes. He also has great resources on CM leadership available and is a great guy to consult with for your ministry situation. I regret we were not able to spend much time visiting, but I look forward to getting to know him better in the future. Below is a photo of the two of us together.