Super Session Leaders
Holly CattertonDr. Holly Catterton Allen (PhD, Talbot School of Theology) is professor of Christian ministries and family studies at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. Her most recent book is Forming Resilient Children: The Role of Spiritual Formation for Healthy Development (InterVarsity, 2021); she is editor of InterGenerate: Transforming Churches through Intergenerational Ministry (ACU Press, 2018); she also co-authored Intergenerational Christian Formation (InterVarsity Press, 2012). Her first book, Nurturing Children’s Spirituality: Christian Perspectives and Best Practices (Cascade), an edited volume, was released in 2008. From 2015-2021, Dr. Allen chaired two international, cross-denominational conferences: InterGenerate and the Children’s Spirituality Summit.
Topic of discussion – “Helping Children Cope: Connecting Spirituality and Resilience“
This workshop builds a bridge between recent resilience studies and children’s spirituality and explores how spirituality can be a protective factor for children in challenging circumstances. Some children have survived the trauma of a population-wide disaster, extreme poverty, or abuse. Other children are coping with such hardships as chronic or terminal illness, parental divorce, or the death of a sibling or parent. Many children live whole childhoods without facing such severe adversity; however, most children encounter some type of troubling issue in childhood such as bullying, rejection from a friend group, or academic failure. Defining children’s spirituality as their relationships with themselves, others, and God, this workshop will demonstrate specific spiritual practices that churches, children’s ministers, and parents can employ to foster resilience in children as they face the ordinary difficulties in their lives as well as the more significant hardships that may come.
Heidi HensleyHeidi Hensley is the Children’s Minister at Shadow Mountain Church, one of the fastest growing churches in Southern California. Heidi is an adventurous “boy mom” who has spent the past 25 years focusing on the design and development of ministries that get kids excited to learn about Jesus. Heidi is passionate about building strong unified teams that people want to be part of, as well as providing resources to the ever-changing parenting needs around us. Heidi lives in San Diego, California with her husband and two adult sons and continues to adventure as often as possible.
Topic of discussion
3 sessions: 1) The basics. Many of us learned that during covid we needed to use our limited time with families wisely and cut many of the extras from our programming. Now that we are returning to a normal schedule, it’s tempting to put things back the way they were. This hour will be full of information to help leaders decide what stays, goes or even just needs to be updated in this new season.
2) The comeback. How to get, build and guard a great staff and volunteer culture. As we resume the normal things of ministry there is the ever growing need to create a culture that is attractive to both families and volunteers.
3) Multiply. After speaking of structure and culture, we will discuss how to use this knowledge to multiply the leaders in our ministry. This session will focus on training up young leaders as well as practical recruiting approaches that work.
Susan Paa is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) with her undergraduate degree in social work from Abilene Christian University and her master's in social work from University of Texas at Arlington. Susan has worked 15+ years in the field of social work including, early childhood intervention program, Child Protective Services foster care and adoption caseworker, and hospital social worker. For the past 5+ years, Susan has worked in the field of forensic interviewing where she interviewed children, who were victims and/or witnesses to felony crimes. Additionally, Susan provided trial consultation for attorneys and support to child victims and their families in felony child abuse cases with the District Attorney's Office in Atlanta, GA. Susan and her husband, Adam, are foster adoptive parents.
Topic of discussion – “Being equipped for Trauma”
Child abuse and its traumatic effects is an emotionally charged topic with adults often having angst about how to respond and what to do. We owe it to the youth we serve and our witness to the world to be knowledgable and equipped in order to respond well. This session will answer questions and offer support around being a mandated reporter. Additionally, this session will talk about the impact of trauma and abuse on children and their families, how to better equip volunteers and staff in supporting youth with difficult and/or confusing trauma fueled behaviors in the church setting, caring for youth and families in the aftermath of abuse, and prevention resources.
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SNEAK PEAK class speakers: Sierra Gustafon, Summer Morris, Stacey Losher, Kelsey Aldrich, Theresa Winnett