The virtual conference will be live-streamed on August 2-3, 2024

The Virtual conference will be Live-streamed on August 2-3, 2024

 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the
knowledge of Him who called us to
His own glory and excellence.”  — 2 Peter 1:3

Where is our focus?

Gaining perspective on our mission to disciple children.

You can participate live or at your own convenience by listening to the livestream, keynotes, and workshops.
(The Conference recordings will be available through January 2025.)

New this year! There will be interactive workshop offerings in late September and early October. Workshop presenters will offer a live zoom offering for their workshops where you will get to connect with others, hear extra ideas, and practice a skill yourself. The times and links for each workshop will be sent in an email in mid-September for all participants.

Registration is Open!
Click on the box below based on size of your group

Register as an Individual

$75 – participate on your own
device on your own schedule

Register as a Small Group

$300 – gather a group up to 6

Register as a Medium Group

$400 – gather a group of 7 to 14

Register as a Large Group

$500 – gather a group of 15 or more

Conference Schedule (Eastern Time)

Friday, August 2, 2024
7:00-7:15 pm – Introduction, Giveaways
7:15-7:45 pm – Session 1: Where Is God’s Power in My Ministry? (Andrew Park)
7:45-8:30 pm – Questions & Answers, closing remarks, prayer 

Saturday, August 3, 2024
10:00-10:15 am – Introduction, Giveaways
10:15-10:45 am – Session 2: What is the Goal of God’s Work in Me? (Stephen Estock)
10:45-11 am – Break, Giveaways
11-11:30 am – Session 3: What Sustains and Strengthens Me in Ministry? (Andrew Park)
Followed by closing remarks and prayer

Plenary Speakers:

Pastor Andrew Park is the Lead Pastor at Living Faith. He was born and raised in Sacramento, CA. He moved to Los Angeles for college, graduating from UCLA in 1998. After two years of working, he studied at Westminster Seminary California where he received his Master of Divinity degree. He also received a Doctorate of Ministry from Western Seminary in 2023. Pastor Andrew is an ordained minister in the PCA.

Dr. Stephen Estock is Coordinator for the PCA Committee on Discipleship Ministries (CDM). A former USAF officer, he has been in pastoral ministry for almost 30 years, serving churches in Montgomery, AL and St. Louis, MO. Stephen has also been an adjunct professor at several seminaries, including Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis and Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta. 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.

WORKSHOPS

Outreach Strategies & Ideas (Jeanette Simpson)
Are you looking for creative ideas and ways to invite people to your church and to hear the Gospel? We will discuss creative ideas, strategies, and tips for you to help equip your families to invite people to church as well as some practical ways to interact with your community.

Telling All of God’s Story (Laney Stayton and Katie Flores)
As we are sharing God’s story to children, we must keep them engaged while staying true to God’s Word…all while keeping the biblical narrative in mind. This workshop will help you grow in both areas of storytelling so you can be better equipped to share the mighty deeds of the Lord.

Taking Child Protection Off the Back-burner (Dana Russell and Saralyn Tyler)
Encouraging and promoting safety in ministry can sometimes take a backseat to other priorities, especially if we don’t know where to start. Join us as we delve into the details of establishing and sustaining safe practices at your church and how to overcome common misperceptions. We’ll also share ideas for using space creatively to foster a safe environment for children and adults.

Is Anybody Listening? Tips on Classroom Management (Lisa Updike)
You signed up to teach because you love God’s Word and you love children. But, oh, my! You may have forgotten that some children can be a little, shall we say, challenging? In this workshop we will explore what’s behind some of their inappropriate behavior and offer you a few tools of the trade for managing your classroom, making your room a place of joyful learning!

Engaging Preschool Hearts: A Firm Foundation (Katie Flores and Ellen Chandlee)        
This workshop explores discipleship methods and processes designed to help young children thrive and learn within the church community and at home. Join us as we discuss engaging strategies that encourage fellowship with others and spiritual growth. We will think together about how to create an environment that starts children on a meaningful journey of discipleship from their preschool years and beyond.

Covenant Characteristics Through the Eyes of a Child (Sherry Kendrick)
Does it really matter whether a children’s ministry is based on a covenant model? Yes! Covenant children have a special place within the church. They are to be taught that they are members of God’s covenant family that they have responsibilities within that family and that the family of God has responsibilities concerning them. The covenant of grace is what we believe, so the nature of the covenant must determine what we do, why we do it, and how we do it. One way to think covenantally about children’s ministry is to consider some of the characteristics of the covenant. Covenantal ministry is an expression of Covenant Theology, so these characteristics should guide us as we live our lives and as we craft our ministries.  Using a new training tool recently developed on this topic, we will learn about the characteristics of the Covenant and how they apply to our children’s ministries.

Teaching Our Children Catechism (B.A. Snider)
The foundation for our children’s theology is the Bible. First Catechism summarizes biblical truths in simple questions and answers and is based on Westminster Shorter Catechism. When we teach our children at an age when memorization is second nature, theology becomes the framework for all of their Bible stories to hang on. This breakout will discuss why we teach catechism as well as creative ideas for implementing a catechism program in your church.

SPEAKERS

Katie Flores is the Children’s Ministry Coordinator for the PCA’s Committee on Discipleship Ministries. She lives with her husband and children in Birmingham, AL where her favorite volunteer role at Covenant Presbyterian Church is teaching 4k Sunday School. Katie oversees the effort of CDM to connect and equip those who serve in discipleship ministry to children. These efforts include leading conferences, developing resources, and equipping through certification.

Sherry Kendrick serves as the Family Ministry Director of Covenant Church of Naples in Naples, FL where she has been for 15 years. She has a degree in elementary education from East Tennessee State University and over 40 years of experience in children’s ministry as well as homeschool, private school and public-school education. She loves children’s curriculums and tends to collect them. Sherry was married to her pastor husband, Mike, for 36 years serving in both small and large churches. As a widow, she continues to serve the church and has three grown children and three grandchildren.

Dana Russell has been a member of Christ the King Church in Cambridge, MA for 25 years and has volunteered in the children’s ministry since its beginnings when the first children were born into the congregation. Her early years of service were spent on the nursery committee and teaching Sunday School at multiple grade levels. Dana has served as the Children’s Ministry Director since 2013 and is passionate about equipping teachers and parents in guiding and growing children in faith. She and her husband, Greg, an elder at CTK, are currently navigating raising three teenaged girls.

Jeanette C. Simpson serves as the Director of Children’s Ministry at Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC. Jeanette has spent the last two decades leading preschool and children’s programs including ministries in two churches where she served as the inaugural Children’s Director.  Jeanette is currently completing her Master of Divinity through LAMP Theological Seminary. In her free time, Jeanette finds herself reading, playing the bassoon, shopping, and spending time with her husband, Roger. She is guided in life by the words from Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (ESV)

B.A. Snider has more than 20 years’ experience as a children’s director in churches ranging in size from 200 to 4,000 but finds her passion is the same no matter how many children she’s serving. Show the children Jesus. Teach the kids all of the Bible so they see that the stories from the Old Testament point to Jesus and that the New Testament shows how Jesus fulfilled God’s promises—yesterday, today, and forever. B.A. began her formal ministry as a children’s director and consultant in 1993, but she has taught and led music for children since she was in junior high school. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Tennessee 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. Speaking at conferences, consulting with leadership, and training teachers brought her to Great Commission Publications (www.gcp.org) in 2014 as the Children’s Ministry Consultant and Marketing Director.

Laney Stayton – In one way or another, children’s ministry has always been a part of Laney’s life–starting as the child of a pastor and missionary, then through volunteering at her local church as a young adult, and now as a mom of three. After taking a quick detour as a certified shorthand reporter in Texas, the Lord called her to serve as the children’s ministry director of her church in Chattanooga, TN. After serving her church for almost 8 years, the Lord provided an opportunity for her to serve the PCA by becoming the program director for a new grant-funded program, Teach Us To Worship. She is excited about the opportunities her new role gives her to support churches and help them consider the Biblical call to worship as a covenant family!

Saralyn Tyler currently serves as the Director of Children’s Ministry at Christ Church Toronto in Ontario, Canada. God has given Saralyn a passion for sharing the gospel with children, encouraging and supporting families, and in helping to encourage others serving in Children’s Ministry. She has served in established churches, a church revitalization, and a church plant, in urban, inner-city, suburban, and remote rural areas. Saralyn has led Sunday school, mid-week clubs, summer camps and conferences. Saralyn is a CDM Alumnus from the Class of 2019.

Lisa Updike is the Director of Children’s Ministries at Covenant in Harrisonburg, VA and doesn’t remember a day when she didn’t love Jesus. Her ministry experience includes teaching, special education, leading children’s choirs, and writing. Several of her books and curriculum are available through the PCA bookstore. She and her husband, Kevin, have been married since 1989 and are blessed with 4 adult children, 3 of whom joined their family through adoption. Lisa and Kevin stay busy with church activities, creating art,  and best of all, doting on their two grandsons.

Ways to Use Grow Virtual

  • “What if I can’t participate live?” If you watch by September 15, you can email your answers to the questions asked to Kathy Wargo (kwargo@pcanet.org). All of the shared ideas will get gathered to be emailed to everyone who has signed up for Grow Virtual in late September. These ideas may just arrive right when you need them. Anyone who emails an idea will be entered in additional giveaways to be announced by email in mid-September.
  • Invite teachers, parents, volunteers, and possible volunteers to a church-wide training weekend. Serve dinner, breakfast, and lunch (one or more), spend some time with your own church’s policies and procedures training, and then tune in to these three sessions for resources, encouragement, and how to’s for making disciples. Live MC’s will guide everyone through the main sessions and will include resource giveaways.
  • Invite a smaller group into a home for a more intimate setting on Friday evening for dinner and join in the session together for training. Everyone can watch from home on Saturday morning, or you can gather at the church or in home again.
  • Send the link to all church members, encourage Friday evening viewing, come together on Saturday morning to discuss at breakfast, and view the rest together.
  • Schedule live training using these videos throughout the fall as a continuing education program for parents and volunteers.
  • Send links for individuals to watch on their own and have breakfast, lunch or coffee to discuss the topic(s) that have been viewed.
  • Post the links to these videos on the church website or in the bulletin as you train your entire congregation to consider and become involved in the direct discipleship of children.

Includes access to a portion of our library of workshops from previous Grow Conferences, including:

  • How to Enfold Kids with Unique Needs into Worship – Ashley Belknap
  • Helping Families Gain a Vision for Family Worship – Dustin and Bethany Belue
  • Creating a Classroom Experience that Invites Children to Draw Near to Jesus – Laura Tucker and Kimper Thomas
  • Using the Teach Me to Worship Curriculum: Worshipping the Shepherd (Laura Tucker and Laney Stayton)
  • Preparing your Elementary Lesson: Pointing to the Best Shepherd (Sue Jakes)
  • Classroom Management: Corralling the Sheep (Jimmy Brock)

Frequently Asked Questions:

Yes. If you are registered for the livestream weekend, you will have access to the recordings until the end of January 2025.

You may contact Kathy Wargo, kwargo@pcanet.org for presenter contact information if you are not able to access this on our site.

Anybody involved in children’s ministry is invited to attend. Email Katie Flores, kflores@pcanet.org, if you have questions.

In person conferences are so helpful for re-focusing the vision for what we do in children’s ministry. However, it’s expensive. This virtual conference is a great value for gathering people to think together about what is important.

See the media link below for images to use on your website or church bulletin to encourage participation once registered.

Registrations will be accepted through the end of 2024 since access will be available until January 2025.

If you paid as an individual, but now you want to share it with your church, please email Kathy Wargo (kwargo@pcanet.org) and we will credit your $75 individual rate so that you can register your group.

SHERRY KENDRICK 

I used the virtual conference as my fall teacher training with the three keynote speakers.  I invited all of our children’s ministry volunteers – teachers and helpers – to a nice catered dinner on Friday evening with decorated tables.  After dinner we watched the introduction of the virtual conference live and then watched the first keynote address.  As we watched, I formulated questions for discussion based on our context with the content of the first keynote.  We spent about fifteen minutes talking and applying what we had heard.  We concluded the evening with prayer for our children.  The next morning we had a continental breakfast AND coffee.  I had a time of vision casting and safety training before we watched the second keynote.  There was a short break and we watched the last keynote.  We followed that time again with conversation and discussion about the keynotes as they applied to our context.  This included some good questions from our volunteers.  We were done before lunch and we all went home refreshed.   

In October and January,  I used the virtual conference videos for additional training by sending home the link and a list of the videos I’d like them to watch.  I asked them to send me a paragraph or two about what their biggest takeaway from the video training was.  I feel like this was too open ended.  When I do it this year, I’ll be more specific about which vidoes I want them to watch in a shorter time frame .  But I liked them being able to do it at home without coming back to church for another evening.  I try to do training August, October, January and March.  I’ll probably alternate between coming back to church to use one of the videos and have discussion and letting them do some at home.  I did give “happys” away for completing the videos that I had sent. 

LISA UPDIKE 

Training is such an important part of the children’s ministries of our churches, and yet it can be a challenge as well. That’s why we found the Virtual Grow conference to be such a blessing!  

Friday night and Saturday morning we invited everyone who serves with our children and youth to come to the church and be a part of a viewing party. Some were unable to attend in person, but we linked up with them on the internet and we felt connected that way. We gathered about 45 minutes before the broadcast began, providing some yummy food, sharing some of our church’s vision for next generation ministries, and taking a few minutes for prayer.  

The next morning we gathered for breakfast and some more good teaching provided by CDM. But the event didn’t end there! We bought the whole package so that everyone in our church could participate. I sent links to our session members with suggestions for workshops that I thought might encourage them. They were grateful for the opportunity! Likewise, I sent the Virtual Grow Conference links with a list of suggested workshops for different areas of service: nursery, Sunday school teachers, early childhood leaders, etc. Those who participated were asked to send me an e-mail with their main “take-aways.” Their names were placed in a bowl for a series of prize drawings. My volunteers consistently reported that the workshops were well worth their time, and they didn’t need a prize…but the potential of a prize did make it  more fun and motivating! 

Deciding to provide this training for your church members not only helps the children’s ministry director provide training, but shows your volunteers that you value them. It’s an investment in your ministry. 

If you watch by September 15, you can email your answers to the questions asked to Kathy Wargo (kwargo@pcanet.org). All of the shared ideas will get gathered to be emailed to everyone who has signed up for Grow Virtual in late September. These ideas may just arrive right when you need them. Anyone who emails an idea will be entered in additional giveaways to be announced by email in mid-September.