SAVE THE DATE: March 29-31, 2022


* Be Encouraged

* Be Equipped

* Be A Part of Our Community

* Be Renewed

* Be Refreshed

Children’s Ministry and Church Leadership Training Retreat 2022
Ridge Haven Conference & Retreat Center
March 29-31, 2022


Keynote Speakers: Coming Soon!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

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!

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:
  • Ministering to kids with struggles resulting from trauma
  • Engaging Disability
  • Children’s Ministry 101
  • Coming alongside parents
  • Resources
  • …and much more!

On Tuesday, you’ll have an opportunity to sign up for individual appointments with exhibitors.

Cost: $350/person (includes lodging and food); $475 for a private room

Covid Precautions: Please see Ridge Haven’s website with updated Covid guidelines. We will have a pre-screening arrival form to be completed (as well as Ridge Haven’s standard waiver that everyone will sign). Ridge Haven follows the mandates from the State of North Carolina.


Conference Details

Registration opens in November.

Cost: $350/person

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

If you need a private room, the additional cost is $125; there are a limited number so register early!

Things to know 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. Your roommate choice MUST register within the week you register and include your name in order to be assigned to the same room.
  • If you would prefer a private room, there is an additional $125 cost. (There are limited single rooms available.)
  • 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 Kathy Wargo for a Request for Scholarship form.

Speakers: (Complete list coming soon)

Chris Ammen is the founder of Kaleidoscope Kids Bibles and has been a Children’s Pastor in Tuscaloosa, AL for the past 10 years. He has a BA and M.Ed. in Elementary Education as well as an M.Div. from Covenant Seminary. Chris loves spending time with his wife, Sarah, and their four awesome kiddos!

Ashley Belknap is the Director of Engaging Disability With The Gospel, a ministry of the PCA’s Mission to North America. Ashley obtained her undergraduate degrees in Christian Education and Business Administration from Erskine College and her Master’s in Theological Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. Ashley helps congregations realize their calling to love, commit to, disciple, and enfold individuals and families impacted by disability. As director, Ashley continually works to see disability ministry expand across the PCA, and accomplishes this through creative planning, teaching online and in-person trainings, conducting ministry consultations, writing timely resources, speaking at churches and conferences, managing a staff, and raising funds for the ministry.

Bethany Belue works for the PCA Committee on Discipleship Ministry as the Established and Certification 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 Mobile, AL with her husband Dustin, and their son, Patterson.

Mary Elizabeth Burton is over all operations at One Hundred Years. She grew up in Alabama and graduated from Auburn University in 2013 (WAR EAGLE!). After graduating, she served on staff with Reformed University Fellowship at TCU before moving to Chattanooga in the summer of 2016. Mary Elizabeth and her husband, Davis, love travel, tacos, good stories, and any and all Tom Hanks films.

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 11, 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.

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 Discipleship Ministries at Pear Orchard Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Ridgeland, Mississippi. He is 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 (children and youth). John has written several books, including Established in the Faith, Suffering in 3-D, and Pursuing a Heart of Wisdom: Counseling Teenagers Biblically. He also does a weekly podcast called Biblical Counseling Today, dealing with individual, marriage, and parenting problems. John and his wife, Martie, have eight children, three sons-in-law, and one grandson.

Burress McCombe loves living in the Shenandoah Valley and has had the privilege of serving there at Covenant Presbyterian Church, Harrisonburg, VA as the Pastor of Worship. Burress also takes great joy in being a husband and a dad. He cares deeply for the church and desires to be a part of aiding the church in singing rich, biblically sound theology. He enjoys playing guitar, running, laughing and being bald.

Becky Sinclair is the former 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 encourage those involved in children’s ministry as well as parents in the discipleship of children. Her hobbies include spending time with her husband, David, and their adult children and grandchildren, reading, 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.

Joanna Thompson has been in Children’s Ministry over the last 15+ years. From being on staff at her local church, to serving on mission in Albany, Georgia all the way to Uganda, Africa Joanna has learned that all children need to be taught the same thing: God made you, takes care of you, and works out all things for your good and His Glory. She is passionate about preparing children to one day walk with Jesus and “rejoice in suffering” and she believes that it should be the pleasure and responsibility of all believers in your congregation to proclaim the God of hope and love to the next generation (Romans 5:3-5). Joanna has been married to her husband, Brett for 12 years and together they have 4 children: William, who God called home in December, 2012, Magdalene, Deacon, and Campbell Elizabeth. In fear that 3 kids wouldn’t keep her busy enough, Joanna started a ministry geared to the youngsters “in-between” children’s ministry and youth ministry. She is excited (and terrified) for the challenge to disciple a group of kids that will inevitably ask all the hard questions.

Lisa Updike is the Director of Children’s Ministries at Covenant in Harrisonburg, VA and doesn’t remember a day when she didn’t love Jesus. 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 adult children, 3 of whom joined their family through adoption. Lisa and Kevin stay busy with church activities, creating art,  and best of all, doting on their two grandsons.


WORKSHOPS (Coming soon)


Ridge Haven Conference & Retreat Center

215 Ridge Haven Road
Brevard, NC 28712


Conference Schedule:

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

2:00 pm: Check–In

3:00 pm: Opening Session

3:30 pm: Unit Prayer Launch


6:00 pm: Dinner

7:00 pm: Plenary Session 1

9:00 pm: Dessert Social

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

8:00 am: Breakfast

9:00 am: SSIM Conversation 1

10:15 am: Plenary Session 2

11:30 am: SSIM Conversation 2

12:30 pm: Lunch


1:30-4:30 – 2021 Certification Class meets

Free Time Activities in the Afternoon

6:00 pm: Dinner

7:00 pm: Worship Service

8:15 pm: 2020 Certification Class Awards and Recognition

9:00 pm: Celebration Dessert

Thursday, March 31, 2022

8:00 am: Breakfast

9:30 am: Plenary Session 3

10:45 am: SSIM Conversation 3

12:00 pm:  Closing Conversation and 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.

Medical Release: With registration, the attendee agrees and acknowledges they are participating in the conference on their own free will. While CDM and the venue work to provide the safest possible environment for the events, the attendee acknowledges freely and knowingly that as a result of their registration and participation, they hereby assume responsibility for their own well-being and safety, releasing CDM and the venue of any harm. Furthermore, CDM and the venue assume no liability for an injury or death of an individual participating in an event if such injury or death results from the inherent risks of contracting COVID-19. The participant assumes all risk when attending the event.