Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. -Proverbs 22:6

Welcome to CDM’s Children’s Ministry website! Our goal is to provide practical and timely resources for you and your church as you strive to develop and grow your ministry to children. These resources include helps for your children’s ministry director, parents of your church, and teachers in your children’s programs. We hope that this site will help you schedule training events, network with other churches, and find curriculum and materials to make your work easier.

Let us know what you are looking for.  If it is not on this site, contact us and we will help you find it!

Regular training for your teachers and children’s ministry staff is our #1 recommendation for keeping a children’s ministry vital and growing.  We are working on a plan to have new  training possibilities for you online in the very near future, but for now here is what we offer:

  • Regional and National conferences – Click on Conferences for the next one nearest you
  • Experienced Trainers ready to come to your local Church – Click on CHILDREN’S MINISTRY TEAM for a list of our trainers.

CDM’s Children’s Ministry Team is a group of men and women who are “in the trenches” of ministry to children. They volunteer their time and expertise to help CDM serve the local church. They give insight regarding current issues in Children’s ministry, and are available for training and advice. This group of practitioners helps CDM staff members stay in touch with the needs and desires of those who serve in local church.

Jimmy Brock Photo
Atlanta, GA
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Jimmy 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
Atlanta, GA
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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.

Bethany Griffith Picture
Birmingham, AL
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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.

Atlanta, GA
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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.

Naples, FL
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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 Photo
Naples, FL
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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
Ridgeland, MS
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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
Atlanta, GA
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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
Tallahassee, FL
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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.

Lisa Updike Photo
Harrisonburg, VA
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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).

The Children’s Ministries Toolbox contains useful resources for setting up and running a successful children’s ministries. Here you will find tools for helping in the specifics of children’s ministries in your church.

Child Safety Resources

“Child Protection in the PCA”

All church leaders should become informed and take an active stance toward preventing child sexual abuse in the church by screening staff and volunteers, training them in child protection, and actively maintaining child protection policies pertaining to our obligations to love our children and protect their rightful interests as God’s image-bearers from the devastating actions of abusers. (Matthew 18:5-6)

From Overture 6 – Georgia Foothills Presbytery

Helpful Resources

CDM recommends the following resources regarding Child Safety:



Child Safety Guidelines for Local Churches by Roger N. McNamara

Safe Kids: Policies and Procedures for Protecting Children in the Church by Blake Caldwell

Preventing Child Abuse by Beth A Swagman (Helps churches and nonprofit organizations develop policies and procedures to protect children and youth.)

Safekeeping by Henni Helleman, Patricia J Vos (An age-appropriate two-session abuse prevention curriculum for grades K-8.)



Covenant Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg, VA, has developed a thorough system and set of resources to protect children in their church. In addition, they have provided various forms for everything from a children’s ministry volunteer application and youth ministry staff applications, to a background check waiver:

Brotherhood Mutual Insurance provides an Online library of safety and risk management materials created especially for churches and related ministries. The website has articles, checklists, guidebooks and tools, publications, sample forms, and training.

MinistrySafe is another online ministry that trains church staff and volunteers in the area of child abuse prevention.

Adults Protecting Children

Doulos Resources

Child Safety Policies


VBS Registration Forms:

Looking for VBS resources? Check these out…

ub-cep-icon2VBS Reachout Adventures: VBS Backpackers will see Jesus in new ways as they follow His radical journey from the Courts of Heaven to the cross on earth, and back again to His Heavenly Summit–all to win our salvation. Eyewitness Storytellers take your VBS children through the book of Luke to set their sights on who Jesus really is, and how that changes everything for them. This fun camping and hiking-themed adventure effectively engages churched and unchurched children through in-depth Bible lessons, daily Gospel Presentation, challenging Scripture memory, and loving service to others.


Great Commission Publications–The King is Coming:VBS-image From Creation to Revelations, tell God’s complete story in one week around the theme of castles, knights and all that is kingly.



vbs-slide-osm Scottish Sleuths Vacation Bible School Curriculum: This VBS series has been designed to present the gospel of Jesus Christ to children through a week-long, intensive study of God’s Word.

Resources for Parents



We provide conferences and on-site training for Children’s ministry workers, parents, and church leadership.  Our vision is to reach the next generation that we may see revival in the church. On this page you will find CDM sponsored events and others that we recommend, but we would love to schedule a conference in your local church or presbytery. Click one of the images below to learn more.

Host a Children’s Ministry
Training Conference


Host a Gospel
Parenting Conference


There are many frequently asked questions in Children’s Ministry and most of the answers are different for each individual church.  Here is an attempt to give one general answer to each of these FAQ’s, but please call or e-mail us concerning  particular ministry needs and we will make every effort to direct or connect you to the best solution for your local church.

Should we have a children’s church?

This is a question that must be answered by the session of your church.  Within Presbyterian and Reformed circles there is every possible position on this topic ranging from “absolutely not” to Children’s church for all ages during the entire service.  The questions that need to be considered are:

  • What is our motivation to need/have a special time of training for our children during corporate worship?
  • What ages would be best served by this?
  • What do we want this training time to accomplish?
  • How do we staff this time without losing continuity of purpose?

We can help you find curriculum to meet your needs when your leadership has answered these questions.

Should we catechize our children, and how do we best go about that?

Teaching Children the First Catechism or the Shorter Catechism is highly recommended. Many churches have a Sunday evening or midweek program to accomplish this. One church holds a week-long catechism camp rather than traditional VBS in the summer. Whatever your church decides to do, the parents need to be on board. The most successful catechism attempts are ones that are supported by the parents and there is ongoing practice and teaching at home in corroboration with the church. The following resources are recommended and can be ordered from the PCA/CEP bookstore:

How do we choose curriculum for our children’s Bible teaching?

There is so much on the market to choose from and much of it is not consistent with what Reformed and Presbyterian churches teach as the Gospel. Take a look at our curriculum summary chart as we have reviewed much that we would and would not recommend and analyzed it according to the needs of the local church. There is a tendency to think that you can make anything work for children, but beware. Your curriculum needs to be training your teachers each week to communicate the gospel in a way that is consistent with what is being preached in your pulpit. Teacher friendly, easy to prepare, fun, and inexpensive should not be top priorities when it comes to training the next generation.

Many times when teachers are unhappy with the curriculum that they are using, you have a teacher problem rather than a curriculum problem. Not that the teachers are incompetent, but they need to have a restored vision of what they are doing, a renewed calling to the ministry, and some fresh ideas on making disciples of the next generation. We at CDM can help you do that as well.

Should we hire a staff person for children’s ministry? Where would we find a qualified person?

Many churches sense the need for a part-time staff person to coordinate ministry to children when the church has 60+ children and there are obvious signs of growth in young families.  If your church finds someone in the congregation or community who fits your needs, we will provide training and networking for them.  In the ministry toolbox you will find examples of job descriptions and also ideas for building a children’s ministry team.  If all of the signs are pointing to hiring a full-time director of children’s ministry (100 + children and signs of continuing growth), CDM will help you search for a qualified person.  The same training and networking will also be provided for full-time staff if needed.

How do we recruit, train, and retain volunteers in children’s ministry?

Training the next generation of God’s people is not an optional activity for any of us.  We are commanded to make disciples as we are living this life (Matthew 28) and we are commanded to teach the children God’s story (Deuteronomy 6, Psalm 78).  The best tool for getting this truth out among your congregation is the pulpit.  Pray for and encourage your pastor to regularly remind everyone of their discipleship responsibilities.  Have regular training for all of your youth and adults which emphasizes teaching the Word to children.  Organize a team of people who enjoy discipling children and have them pray about how to cast this vision before the whole church.

Rather than put out an “all-call” for teachers, have a praying team look at all the needs and expect God to reveal those who should serve in each place.   Regularly post children’s ministry needs for people to pray about, but let everyone know that you are trusting God to provide just the right person who is ready for this serious discipleship ministry. Publically acknowledge and thank those teaching children, constantly requesting prayer for this vital church ministry.  Rather than fostering an attitude of “fulfilling the duty”, encourage those teaching children to see what a privilege it is to be called to this highest of Kingdom service.  (Matthew 18)

What is the best way to go about ensuring that our children are safe at church?

Two adults should always be present in a classroom, not only for child protection but also to protect the adult from any accusations.  Background checks are another process that is good to begin when you don’t really need it.  Eventually you may feel the need and it will be more difficult to launch a program if there is cause to be concerned about your staffing and volunteers.   See our Ministry Toolbox for background check providers and other Child Safety programs.

Make sure that you have a simple, but fool-proof check-in for all preschool children.  In a larger church you may want that process to go on through elementary grades.  Also post an evacuation plan and a lock-down plan for every room in case of fire, tornadoes or any other danger.  Your Children’s ministry team will be able to think of any other necessary precautions for your local church and community.

How many adults per children do you recommend in nursery and classroom situations?

The following is a reasonable ratio chart, but your church may want to adjust depending on classroom size and available volunteers.  However, two adults should always be present when caring for and teaching other people’s children.

0-12 mos      1:2

12-24 mos    1:3

2-3yrs           1:5

4-5yrs           1:6

6-10 yrs        1:10

We have a child (children) with special needs? What is the best solution for caring for that child and the family while including them in every part of the church’s ministry?

We are very blessed in the PCA to have a Special Need Ministry team of facilitators to help individual churches define the best course of action with the special needs families that God brings to them.  Many churches are also looking at ways to reach out to a community filled with special needs children and adults with the Gospel message. is the site which will help you begin to connect with just the right facilitator for your church.

We do not have enough children to have a class for every grade. How do you recommend that we divide up the age groups?

When a church is small, you have the wonderful privilege of getting to know all of your children and praying about what structure would work best for them.  The one-room school house served our nation well for over a century and we do not have to be confined to modern education systems to have success in our Christian education programs.

Think outside the box, having older children helping younger children.  Before worrying about what curriculum to choose, get to know the students and begin building relationships with and between them.  Then, as you look at curriculum, you will know exactly which one will suit the training of all the children God has given you at this time.  His plan is always perfect.

Why We Need Special Needs Ministries

When we read about how Jesus engaged people with disabilities, or reflect on Paul’s passages on the value of diversity in the Body of Christ, or realize the centrality of the image of God (in every person) to the message of the Scripture—how has the Church, for so many years, missed the opportunity to minister to and come alongside people touched by disability? The Church as she often operates today is essentially disabled. She is attempting to function without all of her intended parts.

Many PCA churches are seeking to reach out to people in their communities by sharing the Gospel in word and deed. People with disabilities live in every community in America—but we have to choose to see them first. MNA Special Needs Ministries is here to serve PCA churches—by helping them to see people with disabilities as people first. People in need of the Gospel. People requiring practical supports and genuine encouragement.

Need More Information?

For more information to help you and your church begin, continue and grow special needs ministry visit:

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connect-parenting-olive-branch-logoJanuary 27-28, 2017

Connect Parenting Conference

Olive Branch, MS

childrensMarch 28-30, 2017

Connect Children’s Ministry Leadership Training Retreat

Ridge Haven Conference & Retreat Center