2021 Children’s Ministry Track

NCYM has incorporated a track specifically for children’s ministers into our conference class line up. We have always welcomed ministers of all kinds to our youth ministry conference, but we have expanded to include children’s ministers as the world of family ministry keeps expanding.


Children’s Ministry Track
Price: $200 (Early Bird Price)


Children’s Ministry Line Up

TUESDAY, January 5, 2020

9:00-NOON – Dolphin Room

SESSION 1: The Building Blocks of Sustainable Children’s Ministry

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I just can’t keep going at this pace. This isn’t sustainable.” This session will help you to begin designing the systems that will allow you to enjoy margin and give you the freedom to dream about the future. Moving beyond traditional person-centered/program-centered ministries will require leaders equipped to make the leap from a short-term, patchwork ministry to one that promises to last long after the current leadership team has moved on.   

SESSION 1: Working Together – Building Teams that Last

Every Children’s ministry rises and falls on the lay volunteers who get placed on the field of ministry. In this session, you will learn a time-tested six-step recruiting process that guarantees results. This session integrates the  tasks of recruiting and nurturing your volunteers, while bringing a healthy self to the lead the team. 

Annette Safstrom

Annette fell in love with children’s ministry in the 1980s and has never looked back. After graduating from Bible college in 1991 with a certification in children’s ministry, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University, and a Master’s from SMU. Over the years, she has consistently served in various roles in the church from volunteer to director of children’s ministry. Annette has been a member of the Ministry Architects team since January of 2012, and co-authored Sustainable Children’s Ministry with Mark DeVries in January of 2018. She loves to share the joy of children’s ministry with others through workshops, trainings, and national conferences. She lives in McKinney, TX with her husband Kevin, and their two children, and enjoys traveling, cooking, and writing.


9:00-NOON – Oceanview Room

SESSION 1: Creating Inclusive Church Programs with Kids of ALL abilities

If you desire a place of belonging for children and youth of ALL abilities, come discover a practical framework that will set you up for success. This session provides leaders and volunteers with a 3-part plan to use as you create or improve your church program. Learn the plan and many practical tools you can use tomorrow in your congregation.

SESSION 2: ASD, AH/HD, Learning Differences and Your Church

Are you including children or youth with varied abilities? Learn more about ASD, AD/HD, and other learning differences as well as very practical strategies for including children of all abilities in your church settings. Whether your congregation is large or small, these ideas will support your existing program as you polish up your “Everyone Welcome” sign.

Barbara Newman

For over 30 years, Barbara J. Newman has endeavored to create communities of inclusion through All Belong (formerly known as CLC Network) where she serves as the director of church services. Co-administrating inclusive education at Zeeland Christian School allows her to stay on top of best practices which she shares at schools and churches nationwide and in her books and practical resources, including Autism and Your Church, Helping Kids Include Kids with Disabilities, Nuts & Bolts of Inclusive Education, and her latest title, Accessible Gospel, Inclusive Worship. Barbara was the 2012 recipient of the Christian Service Award from Bethesda Lutheran Communities and the 2015 recipient of the Henri J.M. Nouwen Award from the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, as well as the recipient of the Ability Award from the Disability Network (Lakeshore) in 2017.


2:00-5:00PM – Dolphin Room

Beyond Bible Class

Let’s step outside of Bible class and engage our children in formative spiritual experiences. Come and listen to the Memorial Road Children’s Ministry team share how they plan and execute various activities. We will discuss alternatives to a traditional VBS, share ideas for one day parent-child events, and give an outline for an overnight camp experience for elementary age children.

Memorial Road Children’s Ministry Team: The Children’s Team at Memorial Road has 100 years of combined experience. We all have backgrounds in education or family ministry and are passionate about the spiritual formation of children.


2-3:00 PM – Oceanview Room

Child Safety and Protection for Children’s Ministers

There are many threats to the safety of our children in society today.  Our ministries are not immune to them.  We all desire to provide a safe and healthy environment for our children to grow in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord”, free from anything that may endanger their physical, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being. Join us as we explore ways to create the safest places for our children, their families, and those who work with them in our churches. 

Courtney McMillin

My name is CourtniAnne McMillin. I graduated from Lubbock Christian University in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. I met my husband at LCU. My husband, Johnathan and I, spent 5 years in the U.S. Territory of American Samoa, teaching school and working with the Tafuna Church of Christ. We have been married for 25 years and have four wonderful daughters- Kiara, Ashley, Lyndsi, and McKaylie. 

God has opened many doors and blessed me with many opportunities to serve in the Kingdom. It is a privilege to be a part of the spiritual development of children and help families build a firm foundation in Christ. I have been serving in Children’s Ministry at Green Lawn for 16 years. I started in 2004 as a teacher for our Bright Horizons Preschool Ministry. For several years I served as the Director of the program. In 2008 I began working directly with the Education Minister as the Children’s Ministry Assistant. I transitioned to full-time as the Director of Children’s Ministry in 2012. I have been responsible for teaching, equipping parents and teachers, creating, organizing and implementing curriculum to meet the spiritual and developmental needs of children, planning and organizing events such as VBS, Treat Night, Family Class and much more. I have taught and assisted in all age levels from Newborns through 5th Grade. I work closely with the Education Ministry Team at Green Lawn to organize and host the yearly Empower Teacher Training Workshop. This is designed to equip local and area churches and provide resources for churches to grow their teaching ministries. My education, experiences, and resources allow me to provide training in the areas of classroom management, spiritual development of children, exciting teaching strategies and activities, working with children with special needs, and organizing Children’s Ministry.


4:00-5:00 PM – Oceanview Room

Cultivating A Thriving Team Community

We all work best in a thriving community where we experience purpose, connection and growth.  Lets work with our teams to create a culture of relationship rather than just filling in the gaps.  That energy starts with us and how we lead, in big and small ways.   This session will equip you with the tools to lead a team that finds fulfillment and joy in their service.

Stacey Losher

Stacey Losher is the Children & Family Minister at Preston Road Church of Christ. She has been ministering to kids and families for over 20 years.  Stacey is passionate about bringing the bible to life in ways people of all ages don’t want to forget, she believes God word is relevant to todays world and it deserves the very best we have to offer.  She loves to teach a small class of 20 kids, or teach an audience of hundreds through a big event.  One of Stacey’s favorite thing to do is pour into the people that make ministry happen, one of the ways she gets to do this is through her association with HOPE Network as a Children’s Ministry coach and mentor.   Stacey wants to will help you fall in love with Children’s Ministry, and see the value it can bring to your church, your community and to the Kingdom!   


WEDNESDAY, January 6, 2021

9:00-NOON – Oceanview Room

Effective Children’s Ministry

With the demands of ministry, you don’t have the time to keep abreast of the research in the multiple disciplines that can impact your ministry. Participants in this workshop will learn about research that can help them determine the best practices for their ministry, making it as effective as possible. Attendees will leave with a more thorough knowledge of best practices and numerous free resources for training volunteers and ministering to children and their families.

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One Ministries and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary and has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years. Thereasa regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous seminars, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. She also guests lectures at the Ukrainian Bible Institute. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking. Their daughter Katrina, who has been an integral part of their ministry adventures, is pursuing her MA in Religion at Pepperdine University.


9:00-10:00AM – Dolphin Room

Extreme Makeover: Redeeming the (Children’s) Wing

When is it time to renovate? Doing so can be tricky as you discover sacred cows on (literally) every corner. Casting visoin is key to growing without capsizing the ship. Learn the do’s and don’ts to renovating a church space with mission in mind and support from your people! Hint: It’s about much more than choosing the right paint colors.

Summer Morris

Summer Morris has spent the last seven years as the Children’s Family Minister at North Davis Church of Christ. Before that, Summer spent time teaching Bible at Alabama Christian Academy and running and afterschool program for latch-key kids in Paducah, KY. Upon her arrival to North Davis, Summer orchestrated a massive children’s ministry renovoation as a part of the ministry revisioninging plan. She received her B.A. in Biblical Studies from Amridge University in 2010 and her MDiv from Lipscomb University in 2018. Summer has three kids ages 15-19 and has been married to her sweetheart and ministry colleague, Bret, for 23 years. Summer also serves on the board for Eleven:28 ministries as she advocates for children and families by cultivating environments for spiritual formation. Summer enjoys golf, spa days, traveling, family, and conversations over Mexican food!

10:00AM-NOON – Oceanview Room

Session 1: Exploring the New Landscape of Family Ministry

The landscape of ministry to the family is rapidly changing. As the church seeks to respond to the needs of the family, we must be aware and prepared to care for the families in our ministries. This seminar will take an investigative look at our current paradigms of ministry to children and families and offer practical ideas on how to implement a new paradigm of family ministry for this new generation within your local church.


Session 2: Awakening Spiritual Parenting in Today’s Families

Parents are being awakened to their God-given roles to be the spiritual nurturers of their children. But most parents feel inferior and ill-equipped for such a role. How does the church effectively come alongside of their parents and both inspire and equip them to spiritually guide and grow their children, instead of merely taking on this role itself?


Session 3: Spiritual Formation for Today’s Generation

With so many conversations about Spiritual Formation happening in today’s church, this session will unpack a firm understanding of what best creates lifetime faith from the inside out. You will investigate Christian education and spiritual formation models from a historical, biblical, and theological perspective while giving practical examples for implementation in children’s and family programming.

Dr. Michelle Anthony

Dr. Michelle Anthony is the author of Dreaming of More for the Next GenerationSpiritual ParentingBecoming a Spiritually Healthy Family, and The Big God Story, 7 Family Ministry Essentials and A Theology of Family Ministry. She has over 30 years of church ministry and leadership experience in children’s and family ministries and graduate degrees in Christian Education, Bible/Theology from Talbot School of Theology and Southern Seminary. Michelle currently serves as Executive Pastor of Family Ministries at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, and the Dean of Familymin Academy.  In her free time, Michelle enjoys being with her family, reading a good book, the beach, and drinking a strong cup of coffee.  


2-3:15PM – Dolphin Room

Bridging the Gap: Easing the transition from Children’s to Youth Ministry

When students move from Children’s Ministry to Youth Ministry, what happens? We will look at the problems, reasons for those problems, and what we as a church can do to make this transition an easy and an anticipated one.

Aubrey Eudy

Aubrey Eudy is the Children’s Minister at Mesquite Church of Christ. Prior to that, Aubrey served as the Associate Youth Minister for Mesquite Church of Christ for 4 years. He earned a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences with emphasis in Music Education from Midwestern State University in May of 2006. Aubrey married his best friend, Cristi on June 14, 2003.


3:30-5:00PM – Dolphin Room

How to Teach Children to Love their Bible

Cultivating a deep rooted love for the Bible in our children and students takes intentional effort but there is no more perfect gift. If you are wondering how you can do this, come hear 7 simple steps that will work for you.  

Barbara Price

Barbara has been involved in Children’s Ministry for over 40 years. Her roles have included volunteer, director, speaker and full time minister.  She is now the Director of Children’s Ministry Programs at Oklahoma Christian University. Her hobbies include quilting, designing, writing and training service/therapy dogs. If asked about her passion in ministry it would be directed towards the inclusion of people with disabilities.

THURSDAY, January 7, 2021

9:00-10:00AM – Dolphin Room

Community Connection

How can you have an impact on your community? How can your children’s ministry reach out to your community in outreach, service, and ministry. We will explore ways to create a thriving church community and explore programming aspects that will equip the families in your church to connect with your outside community who need Jesus. Then we’ll spend some time brainstorming about how to follow-up on all of the families you interact with. Please come with ideas to share. We can learn much from one another as we share our best ideas.

Philip Brackney

Philip Brackney has been married to April Brackney since June of 1996.  They have 4 children from the ages of 22 down to 9 years old.  Philip has been in ministry for 26 years. He was in youth ministry for 18 years, program director at Michigan Christian Youth Camp for 2.5 years and now children’s ministry for the past 5.5 years.  He is currently the Minister to Families with Children at the Rochester Church of Christ in Rochester Hills, MI.  Philip feels so blessed to have the opportunity to serve God over these past years and looks forward to seeing how God will continue to use His church to fulfill His mission here on earth. 

9:00-10:00AM – Oceanview Room

Your First Two Years at a New Church

Are you a minister starting your first full-time ministry role? I’ve been there! Are you a minister transitioning to a new church? I’ve also been there! Starting in a new role, whether you are a seasoned minister or just starting out can be both exciting and overwhelming. In this class we will discuss tips on how to be successful in a new ministry role as well as how to navigate the difficulties of change and new settings.

Lauren Hightower

Lauren Hightower is the Children’s Minister at West Houston Church of Christ. Lauren has been in full-time ministry since 2013 and her interests in ministry include childhood spirituality, church leadership and practical ministry. She lives with her husband, Ray and two dogs, Gus and Belle in Cypress, Texas. 

10:30-NOON – Dolphin Room

“It’s Not a Sprint, It’s a Half-Marathon”

Endurance, longevity and perseverance in ministry can be achieved when healthy parameters and proper “fuel stations” are in place. Join me as we navigate pivotal mile-markers for spiritual, emotional, mental and physical wellness throughout the journey of long-term ministry. But why just a HALF-marathon?s

Melissa Kitchens

My faith has always been part of who I am. Growing up the daughter of a preacher and long-time Bible class teacher, I learned from my parents what it means to live with integrity and consistency, to love God and serve others. God blessed me with a great family who taught me, nurtured me, encouraged me and disciplined me in ways that showed me Christ. I received an Elementary Education degree at Texas A&M University and was an active member of the Aggies for Christ from 1995-2000. After teaching grade school at Harding Academy in Memphis, I have been blessed to serve with the Alpine ministry team full-time since 2001.   I faithfully served middle school and high school students from 2001-2012 and am currently guiding the 2 year old-6th grade students along a faith path to greater trust, devotion, and service.  With every age, my greatest joy is hearing the prayers of our children develop into confident conversations of belief and hope.  My husband, Clay, and I especially enjoy these conversations with our two sons, Cole and Ryan.

10:30-NOON – Oceanview Room

Think Small to Make a Big Difference

It’s critical that we look at the big picture when planning spiritual growth opportunities for our kids and families. Too often, however, that’s where our focus stays. Come join me as we ask the question, “So what’s the big deal with small moments?”

Angie Farley

Angie Farley is a bi-vocational minister and elementary school teacher. She has served for the past seven years as Children’s Minister at West Orange Church of Christ in Winter Garden, Florida, where she also teaches third grade at a local public school. She enjoys reading, chocolate, and spending time with her husband, Brett, and their two kids, Tori and Bennett.