Posts Tagged "Amy Fenton Lee"

The Best Part of My Visit to the CM Expo (Part 1)

CMExpo1 Last Thursday and Friday was the inaugural CM Expo in Lexington, KY.  I don’t often get to attend conferences because of my other obligations (namely my other job), but this one was close enough (3 1/2 hours) and cheap enough ($25) to make it worth it to make the trip.  Plus, my wife came along, and we were able to turn it into a long weekend.  It was interesting to see all of the different exhibitors.  There were some common peddlers, but the clear majority of the stuff was from people who clearly have a heart for kids.  Whether that was the guys from Kidz Matter, Seeds Family Worship or Kidz Blitz, it was fun to walk around and see it all displayed in one room.  There were also Scoops and Sit Ins to learn from, though frankly I didn’t make it to very many of those in the end.  All that to say, the single thing which I enjoyed most was the chance to meet so many people in person who I knew from online.  I will forget some, no doubt, but here are some of the people who left a lasting impression on me.  I enjoyed talking to, and learning from, them so much, that I thought I would take a day just to tell you all a little more about them:

1. Tony Kummer (@TonyKummer). Of all the people I was planning on meeting at meeting at the CM Expo last week, Tony is the only one I have actually spoken to before.  We have had a number of telephone conversations (during many of which Tony has talked long enough to totally deplete the battery on my cell phone).  I have always admired Tony’s website –  For the last six months or so, I have been working with Tony to try to promote interest and activities in the forums on his site.  About three months ago, I started to write article for Tony’s site as well.  I’ve enjoyed our phone conversations and talking blogging with Tony, and I was looking forward to meeting him in person.  I was not disappointed.  Tony is a great guy.  It didn’t hurt that he has a similar sense of humor to me and enjoys causing a little bit a good natured trouble here and there.  Despite all of the success with the website, he is humble and quick to remind you that he is “just” a new children’s pastor at a reasonably sized church who happens to have a blog.  In addition to his dedication to children’s ministry, Tony is also clearly a devoted father.  Although younger than yours truly, he’s got one more kid than me, and I found it just as interesting to share stories about being Dad with him as talking about children’s ministry.  One thing I didn’t know about Tony that I learned at the Expo is his outgoing nature.  I tagged along a bit as Tony made his rounds of the Expo and was amazed at his ability to carry on a conversation with just about anyone.  I also noted that, because of, people were chomping at the bit to throw free stuff at Tony to review on his site.  I appreciate his willingness to pass some of that along to us minions to review. 🙂  My conversations with Tony, and others, sparked a number of ideas for blog posts which you will see here on Dad in the Middle, or on or, in the near future.  I’m looking forward to continuing to collaborate with Tony as time goes on.

2. Jim Wideman (@JimWideman). It won’t be any surprise to anyone who reads this blog that I have a great deal of respect for Jim Wideman.  After meeting him this past week at CM Expo, that respect has only grown.  Jim had what had to be the best idea for a booth at CM Expo.  Some people has full scale architectural masterpieces.  Jim had a couple of chairs, a couch and some odds and ends from the garage for ambiance.  His booth was designed for people to just sit and chat with him, and it worked well.  In fact, Jim was so busy with people on the first night of the Expo that I didn’t actually get a chance to say hi.  I did have some time to hang out with him on Friday.  As well known and respected as he is in the world of children’s ministry, what struck me the most about Brother Jim was his friendliness and humility.  I didn’t actually get a chance to talk children’s ministry with him, which I regret, but we did get to “shoot the breeze” and talk a little bit about parenting.  One of the things I have always appreciated about Jim is that every time I have ever heard him speak, and in everything I have ever read from him, his family is prominently featured.  It is clear from everything he does that next to God his family is his highest priority, and I feel like I can learn just as much from him about being a husband and father as I can about children’s ministry.  It was also interesting for me to listen to Jim talk about his tendency to take a perfectly good hobby and turn it into a job/chore.  I had to laugh as I was sitting there with my wife who has told me the same thing a number of times. 🙂  If you are in full-time ministry, I would definitely encourage you to check out Brother Jim’s Infuse group and/or his one-day seminars coming up this fall.  You can find out about both on his website.  After meeting Brother Jim and talking to him for just a very short period of time, I understand why people line up to learn from him.  If you ever have that opportunity, I encourage you to jump at it.

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