I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the incredible success of Key Ministry’s inaugural Inclusion Fusion Special Needs Ministry Web Summit. The response to the conference exceeded all of our expectations. 1,032 pastors, children’s, youth and disability ministry leaders, volunteers, parents and caregivers from 42 states in the U.S. and five countries were registered for the conference.
We’re incredibly appreciative of the enthusiastic support we received from all of our speakers…especially from Chuck Swindoll, his wife Cynthia, his daughter Colleen and their family. Chuck and his family have so many competing demands on their time, and lots of worthwhile ministry opportunities to pursue. Their graciousness in sharing their time and talents with an upstart organization and willingness to publicly lend their credibility within the church to the cause of including families of kids with special needs were indispensible to the success of the conference. Most of all, they reflected the character of Christ. Thanks to all of you at Insight for Living! Well done.
The other individual without whom Inclusion Fusion wouldn’t have been possible is Jeremy Collins from Pajama Conference and Bethel House Media. Jeremy had very little sleep for a number of days due to all of the last minute preparations involved with a first-time conference. I’m sure Jeremy spent a significant amount of money on servers that he hadn’t budgeted in response to our technical issues on the first morning of the conference when 500+ people hit the site in one hour wanting to stream video. I’m very confident that our Heavenly Father will provide Jeremy with a very impressive return on his investment.
From the comments we’ve received thus far and the many chats and discussions that took place during the conference, our team has sensed a clear consensus that Inclusion Fusion shouldn’t just be a once a year thing. Our team wants to build upon the energy and momentum generated by the Web Summit. Some have suggested periodic (monthly-quarterly) mini-conferences focused upon a topic of interest in special needs ministry coupled with lots of opportunity for interaction between speakers and participants. If we were to do that, some ideas we’re kicking around include…
Applying family ministry principles when family members have special needs
Anticipating the needs of families who adopt children with special needs
Understanding the special needs of kids in foster care
Forums on topical ministry issues with opposing viewpoints presented and discussed. Sample question…Is it OK to explicitly share the Gospel with kids attending a respite outreach event promoted to families outside the church?
I think it’s very likely that we will try to do at least one live speaker event related to Inclusion Fusion in the coming year.
Personally, I found the live chats to be the component of the conference I enjoyed the most. We’ll definitely be looking at ways we can do neat things to promote connections and interactions through the use of technology in any events leading up to or during next year’s Inclusion Fusion.
We’re also contemplating taking the conference “on the road” during the coming year. Technology is great, but as human beings, God designed us to be in relationship with Him as well as with one another. Our team would like to establish opportunities to meet as many of you as possible live and in-person and engage in conversations about expanding our capacity to minister to kids with special needs and their families. We may do this in 2012 in cities where we’re invited to speak at conferences, or cities where we’ll be hosting JAM Sessions.
I’d like everyone who was a part of Inclusion Fusion to have the opportunity to contribute to what comes next…
Who should be speaking who wasn’t speaking?
What topics would you like to see addressed, either in next year’s conference or in events leading up to next year’s conference?
One more thing…the most frequent question or comment we’ve received since the beginning of the conference centers around whether we’re planning to maintain free accessibility to all of the presentations from this year’s Web Summit. I have a very strong desire to make all of the materials and resources available for free for everyone, everywhere with interest in serving families touched by special needs. I can promise that all presentations developed by Key Ministry staff and Board volunteers will continue to be available for free.
Our team would very much like to identify sources of financial support to maintain Inclusion Fusion as a free conference and a free site. Please contact us if you know of any individuals or organizations willing to serve as a title sponsor or sponsor specific talks. We’d also appreciate the opportunity to contact any churches or individual donors willing to support the ongoing operation of the website and/or the cost of producing and distributing box sets of the conference DVDs for use in training church staff and/or volunteers.
Next weekend, I’ll share more ideas about the long-term aims and direction of Inclusion Fusion.
ACCESS TO INCLUSION FUSION TALKS AND DOWNLOADS NOW EXTENDED THROUGH SATURDAY, DECEMBER 3rd! Chuck Swindoll and more than twenty-five ministry leaders came together on November 3rd-7th as part of a Special Needs Ministry Web Summit for church staff, volunteers, family members and caregivers everywhere. Inclusion Fusion is a Key Ministry event, presented FREE OF CHARGE with the support of Pajama Conference. Register here for access to the video archives of the Summit!