2017 CONNECT Children’s Ministry

Leadership Training Retreat

March 28-30, 2017

A Conference for all

Children’s staff members, leadership, and volunteers

We invite you to come connect, share with and learn from one another as we seek to build God’s Kingdom on earth in the next generation.

  • Retreat from the busy-ness of life and ministry

  • Relax and enjoy the beginnings of Spring in this beautiful mountain setting

  • Refresh your mind and spirit through the teaching of the Word

  • Rejuvenate your ministry as you learned share with others

  • Receive encouragement to continue loving and serving the children of your church

Lori Mullwee Sealy will be leading worship in our joint sessions. And, she will be sharing her personal “life with autism” story in a workshop along with Ashley Hall Belknap in a breakout session. Go to http://www.lorisealy.com/ and hear some of the great music we will be enjoying. Don’t miss this!


Ridge Haven Conference & Retreat Center

215 Ridge Haven Road
Brevard, NC 28712



Southwest Florida Regional (RSW) is about 30 minutes from the church.

Cost:  $229 – Includes food (2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners), lodging and all conference materials. First 60 people to register will receive hotel-like accommodations. After these rooms are filled, we move to the lodges with bunk beds. [There are still hotel-like accommodations available!]

CDM Conference Refund Policy

All registrations are transferable without penalty. The registrant is responsible to sell (or gift) their registration to another individual and then notify CDM of the change.

Upon cancellation, a person may choose to use their registration fee as a tax-deductible donation to a CDM scholarship fund. (A scholarship fund specifically designed to offer financial assistance enabling more people to attend CDM training & conferences). If a person would like to donate to this fund, their registration fee would be reclassified as a donation, and they would receive a receipt for their tax-deductible gift.

The following represents CDM’s refund policy.

Cancellation submitted prior to registration deadline for single day events:

Non-hardship – No refund

Hardship* – $25 cancellation fee

* A “hardship” is defined as sickness or death in the immediate family or inclement weather. Qualifying sickness would include such things for which a doctor would validate that travel is restricted or cases where the registrant is the sole caregiver of the infirmed. Qualifying inclement weather occurs when roads are closed or airlines grounded.

No refunds are issued unless CDM notified prior to the event. Refunds will be issued within 30 days of receiving written request.

Sue Jakes



1700 North Brown Road
Lawrenceville, GA 30043

Kathy Wargo



Help us spread the word! Please click the image at the right to see ideas of promoting the upcoming Connect Children’s Ministry Leadership Training Retreat to your church staff and volunteers as well as churches in your surrounding area.

Tuesday—March 28

4:00 pm     Workshops (choice of 4 available)

6:00 pm     Dinner*

7:30 pm     Opening Session

Wednesday—March 29

8:00 am     Breakfast*

9:30 am     Workshops (choice of 6 available)

11:00 am   Workshops (choice of 6 available)

12:30 pm   Lunch*

2:00 pm     Church/ministry size affinity group meetings led by CDM Children’s Ministry team members

4:00 pm     Personal meeting time with whomever you’ve met and need to know better!

6:00 pm     Dinner*

7:30 pm     Worship

Thursday—March 30

8:00 am     Breakfast*

9:30 am     Workshops (choice of 6 available)

11:00 am   Closing Session

12:30 pm   Lunch*

*Meals will be in the dining hall at Ridge Haven where you will have the opportunity to sit at round tables with several others and CONNECT! (That’s why we call these CONNECT conferences.) We hope these times will be some of the most beneficial as you find out what is going on in children’s ministry at other churches.

All workshops will be discussion groups led by experienced children’s ministry directors and others who are eager to share what they have learned over the years. Please come ready to participate with your questions and with your own ideas that may encourage others in the workshop.


  • Reformed and Covenant Theology – Why It Matters in Children’s Ministry

  • Child Safety at Church

  • Ministry to Special Needs Children and Their Families

  • Recruiting and Training Volunteers

  • Nursery Policies and Organization

  • Children’s Church – Why, When, How, What?

  • Working Alongside Church Leadership and Other Church Staff

  • Parental Training and Encouragement

  • Personal Spiritual Health in the Midst of Ministry

  • Foster and Adoptive Families – Understanding and Serving Well

  • Outreach to Community Kids

  • Summer Ministry Options – VBS and Beyond

Jimmy Brock PhotoJimmy Brock grew up in Northern Virginia and then headed to California for college. He and Suzanne got married right after he graduated and he taught high school math in inner-city Los Angeles for 3 years. During this time, his sense of calling to pastoral ministry only increased and he and Suzanne headed to St. Louis with two small boys to attend Covenant Seminary. After four years of seminary and 2 more boys, having gone from east coast to west coast to mid-west, they headed south to Atlanta and Church of the Redeemer, where Jimmy serves as Pastor of Family Ministry. Jimmy and Suzanne love to have people in their home, share food, games, and conversation, watch football, and play with their now 5 boys.


Jeremy Case Photo

Jeremy Case grew up in the children’s ministry of Perimeter Church. He joined the Perimeter church staff in 2004 with Camp All-American, one of the largest day camps in the country. He currently serves as Director of Children’s Ministry at Perimeter Church. Jeremy resides in Suwanee, GA with his wife, Carolyn, and three boys.




Steve Collins is the Founder and Executive Director of Adults Protecting Children, which trains adults in how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Steve has comprehensive experience training adults and working with organizations in how to prevent the sexual abuse of children. His experience includes developing and implementing child protection policies. I have expertise in how communities can create child protection initiatives that can train enough adults in that community that the culture of the community is changed and becomes a safer place to raise children.



Stephen Estock Picture

Stephen Estock is Coordinator for the PCA Committee on Discipleship Ministries (CDM). A former USAF officer, he has been in pastoral ministry for 20 years, serving churches in Montgomery, AL and St. Louis, MO. Stephen has also been an adjunct professor at Birmingham Theological and Covenant Theological Seminaries. His Ph.D. is in education, with an emphasis on competency-based learning and leadership training. He and his wife, Susan, have three children and live in Atlanta, GA.



Bethany Griffith Picture

Bethany Belue graduated from Western Carolina University with a degree in early childhood education. After a brief stint with Campus Outreach, she moved to NYC to join the children’s ministry team at Redeemer Presbyterian Church and eventually became the Children’s Director for their West Side congregation. In 2014 she became Children’s Director at Oak Mountain Presbyterian in Birmingham, AL.



Sue Jakes is Children’s Ministry Coordinator for the PCA’s Committee on Discipleship Ministries. Sue oversees the effort of CDM to connect and equip those who serve in discipleship ministry to children. She develops and reviews resources to help those who work with children and youth and conducts training for church leaders, staff, and volunteers. Sue is also the Director of Children’s Ministry at Westminster PCA in Atlanta.




Anna Johnson is the Director of Children’s Ministry for The Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, MO. Anna’s love for children and her desire to assist parents as they raise their children in the Lord has led to her involvement in children’s ministry for over eighteen years. Anna taught in the classroom for 16 years before the Lord called her to begin working in the church. She desires for children to learn God’s word, to love God’s word, and to live God’s word – all in a nurturing and grace-filled environment. Anna’s husband Jack is currently serving in the United States Air Force, and they have one daughter, Emma Grace.



Sherry Kendrick has served as the Children’s Director of Covenant Church of Naples in Naples, FL for five years. She has a degree in elementary education from East Tennessee State University and 30  years of experience in children’s ministry as well as homeschooling, private school education and public school education. She loves children’s curriculums and tends to collect them. She is married to Mike and they have three grown children and one grandchild.




JohnKwasny Photo

John C. Kwasny is Director of Christian Education and Children’s Ministries at Pear Orchard Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Ridgeland, Mississippi. John has received his M.A. in Counseling and his Ph.D. in Christian Education. He is also the Worldview Integration Specialist at Christ Covenant School, an adjunct professor at Reformed Theological Seminary (Jackson), and Director of One Story Ministries, authoring Children’s curriculum for the church, school and home. John and Martie have eight children.


Joseph Parker Photo

Joseph Parker is Director of Next Generation Ministries at Christ Church Atlanta. He was born and raised in Southern California. Due to his parents’ love for children, working in both local churches as well as community-based programs, they moved a lot. These experiences early in life laid the foundation for what the Lord would use to develop his “call” to shepherd and equip adults how to diligently disciple their children in the Word of God. Joseph and his wife, Kelly, have adopted two boys.


barksdale Pullen Photo

Barksdale Pullen is the Minister of Community Life at Wildwood Church in Tallahassee, FL. He received a PhD in educational studies from Trinity International University. Ordained in the PCA, Barksdale has also served as the Minister of Children’s Discipleship at Christ Presbyterian in Nashville, and Pastor of Children’s Ministry at Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian in St. Louis.



BAB.A. Snider began her formal ministry as a children’s director and consultant in 1993. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of TN and taught college until the Lord called her to seminary and full-time ministry. She graduated with a master’s degree in Christian Education from Columbia International university. She works for Great Commission Publications as the Children’s Ministry Consultant & Marketing Director.




Lisa Updike Photo

Lisa Updike, Director of Children’s Ministries at Covenant Presbyterian in Harrisonburg, VA, has been in love with Jesus since she was a little girl and has always been passionate about sharing the gospel with others. She has extensive ministry experience which includes homeschooling, teaching in Christian Schools, working as a learning disabilities therapist, leading children’s choirs, and spearheading children’s programs in several churches over the last 30 years. Lisa and Kevin have 4 children (3 through adoption).



Registration is now open!

(Click the link below)

Registration Deadline: February 28, 2017