Illuminate 2011 (A Conference for Volunteers)

Wayne Stocks —  April 21, 2011

imageI’ve always had a great deal of respect for Kenny Conley.  He is an invaluable voice in the world of children’s ministry, and his blog (Children’s Ministry Online) was one of the first ones I discovered when I delved into the blogging world.  It has been a valuable resource ever since.  Though I have never met him person, I have learned a lot from Kenny over the last several years.

That’s why I was so excited last year when Kenny announced that he and his team from Gateway church were putting on the first ever Illuminate conference for his volunteers and other children’s ministry volunteers in the Austin, TX area.  Kenny’s heart for, and actions towards, equipping volunteers by bringing top notched speakers and information to his church really resonated with our goal here on Kidmin1124.  My only regret was that I did not live close enough to Austin to attend myself.

Yesterday, Kenny announced Illuminate 2011 with a couple of twists.  Before we get to the twists though, let’s run down the lineup for this year’s conference.  As it stands right now, the list includes:

According to Kenny, there are more speakers to be added later.  Let’s not kid ourselves, this is a top notch group of speakers that you would find at any of the national conferences, and Kenny has brought them all together specifically to equip volunteers.  In addition to being top notched speakers in the field of children’s ministry, I know several of them personally, and I can attest that they are also top notch people!

The second annual Illuminate Conference in Austin is planned for Saturday, November 12, 2001 at Gateway Church in Austin Texas.  Kenny suggested that if you live anywhere within a couple of hours of Austin that you should plan to attend.  I lived in Texas, so I know that two hours of drive time barely gets you anywhere.  My suggestion is that if you live within driving distance at all, you should make plans to get there on November 12!

Here’s the Exciting News

Kenny and his team have decided that equipping volunteers is important enough that they are taking Illuminate on the road.  This year will feature the first Illuminate Conference outside of Austin which will be held in Birmingham, Alabama at Westwood Church (home of Jenny Funderburke) on August 27, 2011.

But Wait! There’s More!

Details are still to come, but the plan is to record the speakers and break out sessions from both conferences and make them available online.  So, no matter where you live, you will be able to benefit from this year’s conference.

Make sure that you follow the illuminate conference online at  You can also find them on twitter and facebook.

Wayne Stocks

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Wayne is married to a wonderful woman and has four kids whom God uses to teach him on an almost daily basis. He is blessed to volunteer in a wonderful children's ministry at New Life Church Gahanna. He established Kidmin1124 for those who give their time to kids and feel passionately about children's ministry. When he isn't working on Kidmin1124, he maintains another blog at and contributes articles on a regular basis to