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Children’s Ministry Leadership Training Retreat 2020
Ridge Haven Conference & Retreat Center
April 14-16, 2020

The Children’s Ministry Leaders at your church (pastors, children’s ministry staff, volunteers in leadership roles, nursery coordinators.), are invited to CDM’s annual Children’s Ministry Leadership Retreat at the Ridge Haven Retreat Center at Brevard in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Come join a community of leaders of the PCA, who are passionate about reaching the next generation for Christ! Gene and Susan Hunt will join CDM’s Children’s Ministry Team to encourage and equip you with a biblical and theological understanding of Children’s Ministry.

“Susan Hunt laid the foundation of Children’s Ministry in the PCA. She has affected generations, and God has multiplied her impact.” ~Sue Jakes, CDM’s Children’s Ministry Coordinator

Susan the wife of Gene Hunt, a retired PCA pastor, and they have 3 adult children and 12 grandchildren. She is the former PCA Coordinator for Women’s Ministry and served as a consultant to CDM. Susan is the author and co-author of several books, including Heirs of the Covenant, as well as TRUE, the CDM discipleship curriculum series on biblical womanhood for teen girls, and Transformed: Life-taker to Life-giver and Life-giving Leadership. She has also authored several books for children, including Sammy and His Shepherd and My ABC Bible Verses from the Psalms.

Meet CDM’s Children’s Ministry Team. With decades of experience in churches of all sizes, the team can relate to the specific struggles in your church—and help develop practical strategies to enhance your ministry to children.

Attend Workshops about:
  • Nursery
  • Equipping Parents
  • Urban Ministry
  • Engaging Disability
  • Theology and Catechism
  • Recruiting,Training, & Celebrating Volunteers…..and much more!

Cost: $315/person (includes lodging and food)

Conference Details


Cost: $315/person

(includes registration, lodging in a shared room, and 6 meals).

Registration deadline is 3/18/20. If you need a private room, the additional cost is $135; there are a limited number so register early!

Things to know when registering:

  • You will need to choose your 3 workshops and Affinity group when registering.
  • Priority rooming assignments (types of rooms) will be based on the order that you register. For example, those who register first, will get first priority on rooming choices. There are rooms with 2 double beds, and rooms with bunk beds. Register early!
  • If you have a roommate preference, please be sure to indicate that when registering.
  • If you would prefer a private room, there is an additional $150 cost.
  • You will receive an email 3 weeks prior to the conference with the list of other retreat attendees in order to share rides from the airport.
  • You will have an opportunity to indicate if you have medically necessary dietary restrictions.

If you have registration questions, please contact Kathy at or 678-825-1132.

A limited number of partial scholarships are available. Please email Bethany Belue at for a Request for Scholarship form.

Keynote Speakers: Complete list will be announced soon!

Susan Hunt is the wife of Gene Hunt, a retired PCA pastor, and they have 3 adult children and 12 grandchildren. She is the former PCA Coordinator for Women’s Ministry and served as a consultant to CDM. Susan is the author and co-author of several books, including Heirs of the Covenant, as well as TRUE, the CDM discipleship curriculum series on biblical womanhood for teen girls, and Transformed: Life-taker to Life-giver and Life-giving Leadership. She has also authored several books for children, including Sammy and His Shepherd and My ABC Bible Verses from the Psalms.

Workshop Speakers: Complete list will be announced soon!

Ashley Belknap serves as the Director of Engaging Disability (the Special Needs Ministry of the PCA). A gifted communicator with a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary, Ashley has the ability to tackle challenging issues with creative and practical ministry applications. She served for four years as Director of Women’s Ministries at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson MS, where she led a wide variety of ministry initiatives. As the mother of a son with autism, Ashley has a personal passion to see families touched by disability reached with the good news of the gospel. Ashley and her husband, John, have three children and reside in Brandon, MS.

Bethany Belue works for the PCA Committee on Discipleship Ministry as the Established and Certification Coordinator as well the Executive Assistant for the Coordinator. Before coming to CDM, she worked in Children’s Ministry for 9 yearsat 2 large PCA churches as the Children’s Director, Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City and Oak Mountain Presbyterian in Birmingham. She currently lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Dustin.

Jimmy Brock has been involved in children’s ministry since he was a child himself, serving churches in Virginia, California, Missouri, and Georgia as a Sunday school teacher, camp counselor, camp director, nursery coordinator, and most recently Pastor of Family Ministry. He is now the Church Planting Pastor for the Princess Anne Mission in Virginia Beach, VA.

Stephen Estock is Coordinator for the PCA Committee on Discipleship Ministries (CDM). A former USAF officer, he has been in pastoral ministry for 20 years, serving churches in Montgomery, AL and St. Louis, MO. Stephen has also been an adjunct professor at Birmingham Theological and Covenant Theological Seminaries. His Ph.D. is in education, with an emphasis on competency-based learning and leadership training. He and his wife, Susan, have three children and live in Atlanta, GA.

Sue Jakes is mother of four, grandmother of 10, and lives in Atlanta, GA where she serves as Children’s Ministry Coordinator for the Presbyterian Church in America’s Committee on Discipleship Ministries. She has served as director of children’s ministry at Covenant PCA in Fayetteville, GA and is now serving as children’s director at Westminster PCA in Atlanta. She has been teaching children, youth, and women’s groups in the church for over thirty-five years. Sue is co‑author of “Heart of the Home”, a Bible Study ministry for moms and Teach Me To Worship, CDM’s children’s church online curriculum.

Anna Johnson is the Director of Children’s Ministry at Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian Church. Anna has over twenty years of experience working with children in Christian Education and Children’s Ministry. Anna has a Master’s degree in Education (curriculum) from Covenant College as well as degrees in elementary and early childhood education. Anna and her husband, Jack, have one daughter and live in St. Louis, MO.

Sherry Kendrick has served as the Children’s Director of Covenant Church of Naples in Naples, FL for nine years. She has a degree in elementary education from East Tennessee State University and over 30 years of experience in children’s ministry as well as homeschool, private school and public school education. She loves children’s curriculums and tends to collect them. Sherry was married to her pastor husband, Mike, for 36 years serving in both small and large churches. As a widow, she continues to serve the church and has three grown children and one grandchild.

Dr. John C. Kwasny is the Director of Christian Education and Children’s Ministry at Pear Orchard Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Ridgeland, Mississippi.  He is also a Biblical counselor, an adjunct professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, and Director of One Story Ministries—authoring a complete discipleship curriculum for the church, home, and school—for children and youth.  John and his wife, Martie, have eight children, two sons-in-law, and are expecting their first grandchild.

Joseph Parker is a native Californian who spent nearly five years in Atlanta before God called him to Village Seven Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs in 2018. After more than 25 years of ministry with children, he is committed to the equipping of adults to diligently disciple children in such a way they will grow to become Christ-changed, hope-filled, productive adults (Ps. 78:1-7). Joseph and his wife Kelly have two sons, whom they adopted in 2013.

Dana Russell has been a member of Christ the King in Cambridge, MA for over 20 years and started serving in children’s ministry when the first children were born into the congregation. She spent her early years helping lay the groundwork for nursery and teaching Sunday School. With degrees in engineering Dana did not anticipate serving full-time in children’s ministry until she stepped in as director in 2013. Dana is passionate about equipping teachers and parents in guiding and growing children in faith and recently joined the CDM children’s team. With her husband she is also navigating raising three teenaged girls.

Becky Sinclair is the Children’s Director at Clemson Presbyterian Church in Clemson, SC. She has a passion for teaching children God’s Word and encouraging memorization of Scripture. She loves to explore different avenues and curricula to communicate Scripture in innovative ways. Her hobbies include spending time with her husband, David, and their adult children, walking her dog, Riggs, and knitting.

B.A. Snider has more than 20 years’ experience as a children’s director in PCA churches ranging in size from 200 to 4,000 but finds her passion is the same no matter how many children she’s serving or teaching about Jesus. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Tennessee and taught college until the Lord called her to seminary and full-time ministry. She graduated with a master’s degree in Christian Education from Columbia International University. Speaking at conferences, consulting with leadership, and training teachers brought her to Great Commission Publications in 2014 as the Children’s Ministry Consultant and Marketing Director.

Lisa Updike is the Director of Children’s Ministries at Covenant in Harrisonburg, VA. Her ministry experience includes teaching, special education, leading children’s choirs, and curriculum writing. She has also spearheaded children’s programs in several churches. She and her husband, Kevin have been married since 1989 and are blessed with 4 children, 3 of whom joined their family through adoption.

Workshop Session #1 – Coming Soon

Workshop Session #2 – Coming Soon

Workshop Session #3 – Coming Soon


Ridge Haven Conference & Retreat Center

215 Ridge Haven Road
Brevard, NC 28712


Conference Schedule:

Tuesday April 14, 2020

2:00-4:00 pm: Check–In

4:00 pm: Opening Session

4:30-5:30 pm: Workshop #1

6:00 pm: Dinner

7:30-9:30 pm:  Plenary Session 1

9:30-10:00 pm: Dessert Social

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

8:00 am: Breakfast

9:00-10:00 am: Plenary Session 2

10:15-11:15 am: Workshop #2

11:30 am-12:30 pm:  Church size Affinity Groups

12:30 pm: Lunch

1:00-6:00 pm: FREE TIME (organized activity options/individual appointments/Exhibits Open)

6:00 pm: Dinner

7:30-9:00 pm: Worship Service

9:00-9:30 pm: Connecting to CDM

9:30-10:00 pm: Dessert social

Thursday, April 16, 2020

8:00 am: Breakfast

9:00-10:00 am: Workshop #3

10:30-11:30 am: Plenary Session 3

11:30 am-12:30 pm: Closing Session

12:30 pm:  Lunch

1:00 pm:  Departure

It’s a curvy and mountainous ride to Ridge Haven, but once you’re there it’s beautiful!

Here are some things to note about transportation:

  • Best airports:
    • Greenville-Spartanburg (GSP) – About 1-1/2 hours from Ridge Haven
    • Asheville (AVL) – About 1 hour from Ridge Haven
    • Charlotte (CLT) – About 2-1/2 hours from Ridge Haven
    • Atlanta (ATL) – About 4 hours from Ridge Haven
  • There are no hotel shuttles and no Uber from airports to Ridge Haven.
  • Even though it may say 25 miles, it will take you a lot longer than you think because of the mountain roads.

Directions to Ridge Haven: Click on this link and print out directions ahead of time…you will want to have a hard copy of them in case you lose cell service in the mountains.

On Tuesday, you will have an opportunity to sign up for an appointment with our exhibitors on Wednesday. Some of the exhibitors accepting appointments include:

  • Great Commission Publications – B.A. Snider
  • Engaging Disability With The Gospel – Ashley Belknap
  • Adults Protecting Children – Steve Collins
  • Pray for Me Campaign – Tony Souder