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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 EVENTS  for the next one nearest you
  • Experienced Trainers ready to come to your local Church

OUR TRAINERS:

B. A. Snider

bettyannsnider@gmail.comBA

Betty Ann has a rich history in Christian Education and in the covenant community. Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, she was a fourth generation member of Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church. In addition to her graduate and post-graduate degrees in Merchandising, she earned a Masters in Christian Education from Columbia International University. She has been an instructor at Georgia College and Director of Children’s Ministries at McLean Presbyterian Church, Cedar Springs, St. Andrews in Irmo,SC and Orangewood Presbyterian Church in Maitland, Florida.

Barksdale Pullen

barksdaleBarksdale.pullen@ wildwoodchurchonline.org

Barksdale Pullen is currently the Minister of Family and Children at Wildwood Presbyterian Church (PCA) in suburban Tallahassee, Florida.  He received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Mississippi, his Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary, and 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 Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Other Christian education experience includes participating in regional teacher training conferences, leading a team to the Ukraine for a series of Children’s Ministry workshops, and teaching a course on Christian Education at the Donetsk Regional Bible Institute in the Ukraine, and Maranatha Bible College in Campina, Romania. He has also served as an adjunct faculty member at Covenant Theological Seminary.

Sue Jakes

Suesjakes@pcanet.org

Sue Jakes is mother of four, grandmother of seven, and lives in Atlanta, GA where she serves as Children’s Ministry Coordinator for the Committee on Discipleship Ministries (CDM) of the Presbyterian Church in America.  She is also a teacher trainer and consultant for Great Commission Publications and the Special Needs Ministry/MNA for the PCA. She has served as the children’s ministry coordinator at Covenant PCA in Fayetteville, GA and is now serving as children’s director at Westminster PCA in Atlanta.  Sue received a Masters Degree in Education from West Georgia College, taught in the public schools for seven years and home-schooled for twenty-two years.  She has been teaching children, youth, and women’s groups in the church for over thirty years.  Sue Jakes is co‑author of “Heart of the Home”, a Bible Study ministry for moms; creator of “Who’s Building Your House?” a video study of Psalm 27 for women; and was creator and editor of READY…SET…TEACH!—a newsletter for teachers and parents.

Dan Boulton

dan bdan.boulton@gcp.org

Dan lives in Mechanicsburg, Ohio and is a field representative for Great Commission Publications.  He was on the field staff of David C. Cook Church Ministries for 16 years and served as a church educator for 12 years prior to that. Dan has authored teacher training materials and devotional articles and regularly conducts workshops at churches and Christian education conferences in the US and Canada. Dan has been a visiting faculty member at St. James Bible College in Kiev, Ukraine on three occasions and has taught training modules for pastors in Romania and Azerbaijan. He received his divinity degree from Grace Theological Seminary and his bachelor degree from Miami University.  Dan and Vicky have been married since 1972 and they have two married children and two grandchildren.

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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

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From Overture 6 – Georgia Foothills Presbytery
“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)

CEP recommends the following resources regarding Child Safety:

Books

  • Child Safety Guidelines for Local Churches by Roger N. McNamara (Xulon Press)
  • Safe Kids: Policies and Procedures for Protecting Children in the Church by Blake Caldwell (Beacon Hill)
  • Preventing Child Abuse by Beth A Swagman (Faith Alive Christian Resources)
    • Helps churches and nonprofit organizations develop policies and procedures to protect children and youth.
  • Safekeeping by Henni Helleman, Patricia J Vos (Faith Alive Christian Resources)
    • An age-appropriate two-session abuse prevention curriculum for grades K-8.

Online Resources

  • Brotherhood Mutual Insurance—Brotherhood Mutual 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—MinistrySafe is another online ministry that trains church staff and volunteers in the area of child abuse prevention
  • Safe Kids at Church
  • Doulos Resources

Examples of Policies

VBS

Looking for VBS resources? Check these out…

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VBS Reachout Adventures: This material reflect that the Bible is God’s Word, completely true and trustworthy. Their curricula have been written by members of the PCA who are committed to conforming their teaching to biblically reformed theology. They have recently relaunched with major new changes including: 5 day format, student logbooks, user-friendly director guide, simplified teacher guides. This year’s theme is Genesis 1 Space Probe: Seek out the Lord of the Universe.

 

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The Wacky World of Water: Jump into a whole new way to do Vacation Bible School!  For your church and community, The Wacky World of Water is a fun and engaging Bible program for children showing how God uses water throughout His Word to teach essential truths.  For leaders and volunteers, it’s a simple and easy way to get kids involved in a dynamic Bible adventure without it becoming a time-consuming production.

 

faith expedition Faith Expedition: God’s Treasure Revealed: Students will travel across time through the lives of Moses, David, Daniel, Matthew, Paul and Silas to discover how God gives his covenant people faith to follow his plan, believe his promises, and obey his plan. This exciting program incorporates skits, music, hands-on activities, rewards, and much more. Not only is the material fun, but it teaches children the redemptive, historical plan of salvation, gives children a biblical view of sin and their need for Christ, and challenges participants to share Christ with others.

 

vbs-slide-osm Scottish Sleuths Vacation Bible School Curriculum: This VBS series by One Story Ministries has been designed to present the gospel of Jesus Christ to children through a week-long, intensive study of God’s Word. The Scottish Sleuths characters—Super Bible Sleuth Angus McTavish and Professor Dabney Thornwell symbolically portray the fact that we want our children to become “investigators” of God’s Word. These two detectives lead the children on a “Bible case” each year, alternating between stories in the Old and New Testaments.

Resources for Parents

 

BOOKS:

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

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Host a Gospel
Parenting Conference

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JAN 23-24, 2015

Connect Discipleship Ministry Conference

for All Ministry Leaders (Adult, Women, Youth, Seniors, Children, Special Needs)

Naples, FL

Children Conf-2014

MAR 6-7, 2015

Connect Children’s Ministry Conference

Ministering to Future Leaders Conference

Harrisonburg, VA @ Covenant PCA

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MAR 20-21, 2015

Parenting Conference

Connect Children’s Ministry Conference

Starkville, MS @ Grace PCA

Children Conf-2014

APR 17-18, 2015

Connect Children’s Ministry Conference

Ministering to Future Leaders Conference

Cincinnati, OH @ North Cincy Church

Been There, Done That! Facing similar trials and joys in ministry unites us all.

This page is the place where you can read testimonials from leaders just like you and see the work God is doing all across the world in His church. This page is your go to place for a perspective on common situations we’ve all encountered regarding Children’s Ministry. If you’d like to share a story or piece of advise on one of the topics listed to the right (or another brand new one) just contact Samantha Goodman.

  • Kingdom Service: A Blessing for All Generations

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    by Kathy Young of First Presbyterian Church in Hattiesburg, MS If you are interested in including more senior adults in children’s ministry, you might want to have a conversation with Pat Chambless at First Presbyterian Church in Hattiesburg, MS. Pat and his wife Kay spent over twenty years volunteering within youth ministry, but after the … Continued

  • Church and Family: Connected by Christ

    Written by Debbie Freer, Director of Children’s Ministry & Children’s Music at Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Newark, Delaware.  Church Family – it is one of the greatest gifts of being part of the church. And yet, while it is a great joy for so many people, it is a source of frustration with those who … Continued

Two cute boys laying on ground in nature and happily eating heal

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.  http://pcamna.org/special-needs/ 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.

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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.

Upcoming Training Opportunities

  • CDM has partnered with MNA to help local churches facilitate ministry to special needs individuals and families. We have well-trained people and other resources to recommend as we come along side you in this important Gospel ministry. There will be a complete Special Needs Training track in our October 26 What About the Children conference.
  • Joni and Friends International Disability Center is hosting a training summit on October 19 in Lancaster, PA. Click here to learn more about this event.

Need More Information?

For more information to help you and your church begin, continue and grow special needs ministry visit: http://pcamna.org/special-needs.

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