This week our local children's ministry network will meet to connect, encourage one another, share ideas and learn together. I truly believe leaders are learners and one of the best ways to learn is by gleaning from the experience and practices of other leaders. Here are 5 reasons I love our children's ministry network and why you need a network too.

We connect with friends

Our network has been meeting for about 8+ years now, and while there are new churches and leaders each time we meet, many of us are friends. Unlike other ministry worlds, there isn't much turnover in children's ministry staff so a lot of us have been together the entire time. I always look forward to seeing them and hearing how things are going in their life and ministry.

We learn from other churches

The churches that make up our local network are very diverse in terms of size, location, style, strategy, and more. We do share some common convictions, including how much we believe in the importance of having great children's ministries that are NOT childcare. When we gather I love learning from the other churches in the network. I learn from their new ideas, successes, failures, practices, and resources.

We share what we have been blessed with

In addition to learning from other churches, we also get to share what we have been blessed with. We share new things we're doing that we believe would be helpful to other churches. Because we share, we have to think in terms of principles, not just what we do. Great leaders know they have to learn the principles, not just the practices, in order to transfer a practice appropriate to their own context. Sharing it forces us to understand why we do what we do.

We celebrate the Church

I am a big believer in the truth that we're all part of THE Church (universal). We have different theological beliefs for sure, but we never let that get in the way of helping each other grow. When we gather, I love that we get to celebrate what God is doing through his Church, not just our church.

We see each other's environments

One of everyone's favorite things about our network is that different churches host it each time we gather, so we get the opportunity to see each other's environments. We tour the church and specifically the children's ministry environments and learn from how they are built out and decorated.

How do you connect and learn from other leaders?

I love our children's ministry network, for those 5 reasons and more. I'd like to see the same kind of networks form for Student Ministry and Family Ministry / NextGen pastors in this area as well. How do you connect and learn from other leaders?