Speaking Menu

Speaking “Menu” 

This list is a work in progress! I change and add to these offerings from time to time. If there’s a topic you’d like to explore, just let me know! If I’ve written about it, I can probably adapt a workshop for it. Custom workshops and retreats can be created by combining one or more of the talks from this list.

Keynote Addresses:

Investing in the Present: Nurturing Young Disciples in Community: Pastor and Author Traci Smith believes in striking the phrase “children are the future of the church” from our vocabularies for one simple reason: children are the church right now! In this keynote address we’ll talk about how we learn from children and youth, even as we strive to teach them well. We’ll talk about best practices for intergenerational worship, Children’s Ministry, and nurturing faith at home.  

Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Moments at Home – A keynote presentation based on her book of the same name, Rev. Traci Smith offers practical suggestions for parents and children’s ministry leaders. This presentation guides parents and ministry leaders through a broad range of age appropriate faith practices to be used at home or adapted for church use.


DIY Faith: Ministry Leader Edition — Learn how to help families practice faith at home: DIY style! By the end of this breakout session you will have created a 90 minute workshop to present to families that is loaded with easy to implement, meaningful practices. Come prepared to share your ideas and learn a lot!

DIY Faith: Parents Edition — In this workshop you’ll learn many practical ideas for creating meaningful faith connections with your family. We’ll cover traditions, ceremonies and spiritual practices that are easy to implement, and require very little preparation. We’ll share our own ideas as well!

Making Worship Accessible to Children and Youth: Praygrounds, Soft Spaces Other Worship Modifications  — How can we accommodate our worship time so children and youth can best engage? We’ll cover a lot of ground in this workshop including dedicated worship spaces, messaging for parents, ideas for pre-readers, and more!

Out with Sunday School? — There is a trend for churches to do away with the traditional model of Sunday School, both as a separate education hour, or as a “pull out” from worship. Why is this? Is Sunday School a thing of the past? We’ll learn about a variety of different old and new Sunday School models and consider pros and cons of each. 

Doubts and Questions As Teachers of the Faith —Theologian Paul Tillich said “Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is an element of it.” How are doubts and questions good teachers of the faith for children and youth? How can we help guide children and youth through questions and doubts in a way that helps them come through with a stronger faith on the other side? We’ll explore these questions together and come up with practical strategies for teaching and mentoring. 

Intergenerational Worship: We’ll share ideas for creating meaningful worship services that help young children and older adults worship together in the same space. We will examine all aspects of worship including preaching, music and liturgy and explore resources that work well for all. 

Ideas, Ideas, Ideas Advent & Christmas / Lent & Easter: Walk away from this workshop with ALL THE IDEAS! This workshop is lean in theory and hefty in practice. We’ll churn through ideas for children, youth and families that are related to our busiest seasons of the year. Walk away with a new stockpile of ideas to freshen up your family ministries. Note: If you choose this workshop, feel free to with your very favorite Advent, Christmas, Lent or Easter idea to add to the many that will be presented. 

Ideas, Ideas, Ideas / One Room Schoolhouse: Does your congregation do children’s ministry with a wide span of ages all together? It can be hard to create an experience for all. In this workshop we’ll talk about strategies for working with a variety of ages all together, and explore resources for exactly this model. If you have ideas or suggestions that have worked in your context, feel free to bring them, but they are not required! 

Spiritual Formation for Babies and Toddlers: More than Just Childcare — Many churches have nurseries for babies and toddlers. How can we transform the nursery space in to a space that provides true spiritual nourishment and care for the tiniest ones among us? We’ll learn how to create meaningful spiritual connections in our nursery that help lay the foundation for spiritual growth and development as our babies and toddlers grow. 

All Things Technology —  As the title suggests, we’ll cover a range of all things technology related in this workshop. We’ll start by examining more theoretical questions such as “Does social media make us more connected or isolated?” and “How does technology help or hinder our spiritual growth?” We’ll move toward more practical ideas about how to incorporate technology into our spiritual practice or how to fast from technology as a spiritual practice. We’ll also examine some technology that can help our family ministries grow. 

Spiritual Wellness… Claiming Your Faith Story —  Ministry leaders are often so busy tending to the spiritual growth of others that we neglect our own spirits. This session focuses on spiritual practice for ministry leaders. We’ll do a spiritual inventory and explore innovative ways to reconnect with God and our faith. 

How Can God Hold Up the Whole World in God’s Hands? Doesn’t that Get Heavy? Understanding Stages of Faith: In his 1995 work Stages of Faith, James Fowler argued that children, youth, and adults go through predictable stages of faith as we grow and change. We’ll learn about these faith stages and talk about practical implications for how to incorporate his theory in our family ministries.

Creating Sacred Space…Tools, Tricks and Resources for Church or Home — Sacred Space is important to nurturing faith, both at home and church. Using Irish poet and priest John O’Donahue as our guide, we’ll first examine beauty as a spiritual practice. We’ll then talk about creating sacred space in worship and home that allows us to find beauty and rest in our physical space. 

Finding Time: How to Nurture Faith Development in a Busy World — How can we find the time to develop our spiritual lives and the lives of our families when life feels chaotic and busy? We’ll discuss strategies for allowing faith formation to exist alongside a busy life, as well as practices we can incorporate into our daily routines with very little time. We’ll also look at how to help parents in our congregations who struggle to manage hectic lives. 

Peace Like a River: Spiritual Practices of Tranquility and Calm for Children and Adults — In this workshop we’ll talk about anxiety, stress, and overload, and explore a variety of different spiritual practices for managing them including mindfulness, prayer, meditation, apps, and more. We’ll talk about how anxiety can manifest itself in a number of different ways and across all ages.