2022 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 Line Up

TUESDAY, January 4, 2022

9:00-10:45AM – De Gaulle


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.  

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.

11:00-12:00PM – De Gaulle

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One Ministries and blogger at Parenting Like x. 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 guest 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) and her husband Sergio live in California, where Katrina works for Pepperdine University.

12:00-2:00PM – Lunch

2:00-3:00 PM – De Gaulle

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 has been working with children in many capacities over the last 25 years including teaching in preschools, directing children’s music programs, and developing and administrating an after school program for community latch key kids. She also taught Bible at Alabama Christian Academy in Montgomery, Alabama. She now serves as the Children’s Family Minister for North Davis Church of Christ in Arlington, TX. Summer received her B.A. in Biblical Teaching from Amridge University and her M.Div. at Lipscomb University. She is living into her dream of working in ministry and she loves to facilitate conversation and relationship development with others on ministry journeys. Summer enjoys her husband of over 20 years, Bret, and her three children, Micah, Anna, and Rebekah. You can catch her traveling, playing golf, watching movies, and eating at On the Border!

WEDNESDAY, January 5, 2022

9:00-10:45 AM – De Gaulle


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.opportunities? Doing so starts with each of us and compels us to examine how we lead in both big and small ways.

Heidi 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.

11:00-12:00PM – De Gaulle

Hide and Seek – Searching for Children in the Biblical Text

Children are often at the margins of the biblical text; unfortunately, the way many adults read the Bible often further marginalizes them. How do we find children in the Bible and see biblical narratives from their perspective? Emerging biblical scholarship empowers us with new practices by which we can read the text on behalf of children so that God might “turn the hearts of parents to their children.”

Dr. Ron Bruner has explored the Bible with children and adolescents since 1977. They have been at the core of his work as a Bible class teacher, deacon, camp counselor, board member, youth and family minister, ministry leader, journal editor, and adjunct university faculty. He and his wife, Ann, seek to assist, empower, and encourage every children’s minister and youth minister they meet because they know that some of them will be blessed to work with their extraordinary grandchildren. Since 1999, Ron has served as the executive director of Westview Boys’ Home in Hollis, Oklahoma.

12:00-2:00PM – Lunch

2:00-3:00PM – De Gaulle

The Value of Every Opportunity

Let’s not waste a single moment!  No transitions needs to be cast aside.  No volunteers to be viewed as place fillers.  Every time and space of ministry is an opportunity!  An opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children, their families, and the kingdom of God. Are we taking full advantage of these opportunities? Doing so starts with each of us and compels us to examine how we lead in both big and small ways.

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!   

THURSDAY, January 6, 2022

9:00-12:00PM – De Gaulle

WORKSHOP: 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.

Dr. 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.

12:00-2:00PM – Lunch

2:00-3:00PM – De Gaulle

Welcome to the Jungle

Our ministry is wild! It is a journey that can be difficult to prepare for. Our survival tools are always adapting and changing. This will be an interactive class for ministers in different stages of their ministry. We will evaluate healthy practices that make our ministry sustainable.

Sierra Gustafson is a graduate of the Children’s Ministry program at Oklahoma Christian University. She has been in a Children’s Ministry position for 6 years, and currently works at the Levy Church in North Little Rock. She began teaching in high school and continued throughout college; after interning several years in inner city ministry she was called to become a minister. She is currently serving in a mission-minded church with a heart for children from all walks of life. Her team of volunteers is committed to equipping parents to be spiritual leaders in their children’s lives. The Gustafson’s household is not a typical family household. It includes 3 dogs, 3 rabbits, 1 turtle, 15 chickens, a toddler, a teenager, a college student and my mother. My happy place is in my garden surrounded by my family and friends.

3:30-4:30PM – Shannon 1

Ministering through Personal Crisis

As Ministers, we are called to walk with people during some of their darkest times, but what happens when we are walking through our darkest times? In this class we will explore ways of walking through personal crisis with grace and how to use our hurt to make us better Ministers and bring hope to others through our own brokenness.

Kelsey Aldrich is the Children’s Minister at Littleton Church of Christ. She graduated from ACU in 2012 with a degree in Family Studies and Human Development and a Minor in Ministry. She has been married to Alex for 7 years and is an unashamed cat mom. Kelsey loves watching sports, spoiling her niece and enjoying a fresh mani/pedi.