Deuteronomy 6:4-7
Children are the Future Church and the NOW!
As your Conference Coordinator of Children's Ministry, I am here to support, advocate, educate, equip, and most importantly serve your ministry needs. Tell me how I can serve you and your church. melinda.shunk@arumc.org or call/text
515-707-5537

Photos from this year's Annual Conference! Children were part of the body of Christ!

The layout options of Constant Contact won't let me put names by the pictures. However, you will see pictures of Christie Park and Michelle Wilkins at the Conference Children's Council vendor table on Wednesday. Christie designed the adorable Candy Land theme for us. We had Piney and Haven students as acolytes. Katie Mclean and Peaches Smith brought the children from their church to participate in in the Benediction as well as students from Batesville, Bryant,Haven,Piney Grove UMC, Bentonville, and FUMC Hot Springs for opening worship service of Annual Conference. On Thursday, Children's Minister Sean Dunbar received his board certification from the ARUMC. Melinda with the help of John from Blytheville and Eli from Haven did an interview about Quest and invited everyone to come to Quest 2019! If you have not already seen the video clip you should go to our Facebook page and see the video footage of the interview. Sadie and Ruby Mae from Bentonville helped each day until closing vendor tables.


Annual Conference 2020 is May 27-30 Put it on your planning Calendar Today!

Communicating with Kids


Vacation Bible School weeks are upon us!

It is one of my favorite weeks of the year. It is also a time we are blessed with working with and large groups of children. How do we best communicate with a crowd of kids! If there is a stage involved or a large space in front of the room as a presentation location you are in luck! "Wait, what?", you may be saying to yourself that is exactly what makes me nervous about speaking to these kids! They outnumber the speaker!

Instead of repeatedly asking for their attention, horns & whistles, making empty threats, getting visually frustrated or promising rewards for the quietest group, you need to grab their attention with this information the minute you get in front of them. You will have the extraverts using their every power to control themselves and your introverts doing anything to get their extrovert friend on the stage instead of them!

  1. "Hello I am your VBS leader _____ and I am so excited to share God's good news with you, but I can't do it alone! I know you know how to listen when someone in front of you is talking on the mic, but I need you to know we are called to do ministry together. So every time I am at on the stage with a microphone, I will need you to pay close attention. I will be calling up helpers. The helpers will be sharing important info you will need to know!" (Notice how the expectations are slid into the conversation without them being a rule?)
  2. "I will know that you are willing to help when you give me eye-contact, your mouth is quiet and your hand is raised high. I will know you want your friend up here to help when you are quiet and a finger points to your friend." (Notice I am modeling the expectations I need for them to communicate how they want to help.)
  3. Once you have done step one and two, immediately follow through with what you said and invite one or two on stage with you. Then give them a microphone, ask them questions, have them act out a lesson and better yet if you are prepared ahead of time have what you want them to say written on poster board for them to read like a news anchor. (Note that you can get more kids involved by having more kids hold the script poster board.)

Why does this work when managing and presenting to a large group of children? Because you are making it about them! You are putting the focus on them and their peers are there to watch every move. Cycle as many kids through any "stage" time that you can and don't plan ahead who is going up. Part of the "prize" or what you want them to do is getting their bodies in check to listen and participate. The reward for that is getting themselves or their friend on the stage. The extroverts get their voice heard and feel a part of what is being shared. The introverts find great joy in watching their peers and listen intently to what is being said.

Once and a while you may have to remind the group that they, "Certainly don't want to miss what their friend has to teach them and you just know they know how to show respect!" This circumstance is usually when large amounts of laughter has broken out in the group! In most cases this is good and they simple need to be reminded.

Go check it out for yourself:

Dr. Michelle Morris for the Center for Vitality debuted the new Congregational Resourcing website at Annual Conference. It is called CouRSe and it is specific FREE training for any Clergy and Layperson in the UMC Conference. Training courses will continue to be added each month to help you build your ministry teams at your church.
I would like you to draw your attention to the CouRSe:

Worship for All!
See Blue circled course above.

This course was developed by members from your Children's Ministry Council, to teach Children's Ministers, Worship Directors, and most importantly Clergy ways they can make worship accommodations for all who worship.

If you have further CouRSe ideas or suggestions you would like training designed please email:

Last year was the very first Quest! Many were not sure what is was all about so they waited to see what happened and they missed out on all the fun! Well, this year don't miss out! Get the dates saved on your calendar as well as your parent helpers!

September 28, 2019
Host Church:
St. James United Methodist Church, Little Rock
10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
3rd-6th grade
Each church can decide the grades they would like to bring within that range.


Currently looking for CENTRAL DISTRICT churches willing to host out of town churches on Friday night by letting them do a sleepover in your church.
Please email me if you are willing to open your church doors on September 27 to out of town Quest participants. It would be a lovely way for your kids to get to know their kids.

What will you find this month's Living Our Faith digital magazine about Children's Ministry in the Arkansas Methodist Conference?
Click on article photo to go to the link on Friday June 7.
Rose Gagnon from Hope First United Methodist church is on her second year of holding an Ecumenical Vacation Bible School! Read the article in Living our Faith Magazine June 7 online or subscribe with your email. If you have more questions about how she holds an Ecumenical Vacation Bible school you can reach her at: rgagnon50@outlook.com
The Youth Mental Health
events hosted through the ARUMC conference are
Thursday, September 26 and Saturday, October 5
both at Conway FUMC.
These are $20 per person and registration for either of these can be found here:   https://www.eiseverywhere.com/ereg/index.php?eventid=404961
Children's Message
Many times we are asked to share the sermon's big idea or explain the Gospel lesson in our children's sermons. All are really good ideas. However, may I suggest using the Children's Message to introduce the big ideas that will be studied in Vacation Bible School.

´╗┐Usually each day of VBS has it's own theme or scripture focus, use those along with other V.B.S. props for the four Sundays leading up to Vacation Bible School starting.

It ties the congregation into what you all will be learning about as well as primes the learning pump for the little ones who will be attending for what they will learn in VBS!
Dates to remember :


  • Quest -September 28, 2019
  • Beyond 2020 January 24&25, 2020
  • Annual Conference Hot Springs May 27 & 30, 2020