Established Harrisonburg, VA

Covenant Presbyterian Church

November 13-14, 2020

PCA Children’s Ministry Conferences

He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God…” — Psalm 78:5-7

Register for EST Harrisonburg

Conference Details


  • Early Registration (deadline is October 23, 2020):  $150 $60 each (reduced by the generosity of donors) includes Friday dinner and Saturday lunch
  • Registration (deadline is November 6, 2020): $150  $75 (reduced by the generosity of donors) includes Friday dinner and Saturday lunch
  • Pre-Conference: $15/person
  • If there are 5 or more attending from the same church, the 6th person is free. Please contact Kathy Wargo for a code to register the 6th person.

When registering, you will indicate:

  • If you will be attending the Pre-Conference training on Friday afternoon, ESTABLISHED, Children’s Ministry 101
  • If you would like to schedule a 1-hour individual appointment with one of our team members. [Register early for one of these appointments to be held between 3-6 pm on Friday. We will let you know the time of your appointment.]

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


Steve Collins is the Founder and Executive Director of Adults Protecting Children, which trains adults in how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Steve has comprehensive experience training adults and working with organizations in how to prevent the sexual abuse of children. His experience includes developing and implementing child protection policies. He has expertise in how communities can create child protection initiatives that can train enough adults in the community so the culture of the community is changed and becomes a safer place to raise children.

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.

Tim Frost has been on staff at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg, VA since 2007, first as the Youth Pastor and now as the Executive Pastor. He was born in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, moved to the Philadelphia area in fifth grade, and made his way to Harrisonburg as a freshman at JMU in 1996. After graduation, he interned with the Cov-Pres youth ministry and a few years later attended Covenant Theological Seminary before moving back to join the Cov-Pres staff. He loves learning new things, caring for the church, and the Philadelphia Eagles (but don’t hold that against him). He and his wife, Jonelle, were married in 2008 and have two children.

Kristen Harnly received a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from Medical College of Georgia (now Georgia Regents University). After moving to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania she worked as an occupational therapist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and in early intervention. Kristen’s interest in disability ministry began as she served families with young children in the nursery of Tenth Presbyterian. In 2007, she began Tenth’s special needs ministry and served there for nine years. In 2012, Kristen joined Engaging Disability’s team of volunteer Ministry Facilitators. Drawing on her experience there and at the congregational level, Kristen joined the staff of Engaging Disability With The Gospel in 2016 as Associate Director, Congregational Ministry. Kristen and her husband, Keith, have two children and live in Havertown, a suburb of Philadelphia.

Sandy Hernandez began her journey sharing the gospel with children over 35 years ago in Mexico, where she and her husband, Jacinto, served in a ministry devoted to winning non-churched children to Christ and training others to do the same. Today, they serve in the Spanish speaking congregation, Alianza, at Covenant Presbyterian Church, and have served for the last 18 years. Sandy is an Associate Director at Alianza/Covenant Presbyterian Church, leading the After School Program, which has 70 young participants from the church’s neighborhood. Sandy is mom to two daughters and has degrees in Social Work and Spanish.

Sue Jakes is mother of four, grandmother of 11, and lives in Atlanta, GA where she serves as Children’s Ministry Coordinator for the PCA’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.

John Kidd has a passion for sharing the gospel with the next generation, and has been a Youth Pastor since the end of 2015. Prior to working with youth John worked in college campus ministry with Cru for 15 years. He and his wife, Kelly, have two daughters, Elizabeth (14) and Rachel (10). John is driven by the desire to help young people grasp the gospel and its comprehensive implications for all areas of life.

Burress McCombe loves living in the Shenandoah Valley and has had the privilege of serving at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg, VA as the Pastor of Worship for the past thirteen years. 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.

Peyton Miller has an undergraduate degree in Parks and Recreation Management and a master’s in special education as well as decades of practical experience designing and implementing activities for children and youth. She has used her education and experience to craft specific guidelines and practices to create activities that provide deeper connections in relationships with God and others.

J.D Patton is a Ruling Elder at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg, VA.  He has been involved in various aspects of children’s ministry at Covenant for the past 29 years. One of the major highlights of J.D.’s month is when he gets to teach the lesson for children’s church. He and his wife, Teresa, have four grown children.

Sarah Pruett leads the Through the Roof disability ministry at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg, VA. She has experience with disability both professionally and personally. As an occupational therapist for 11 years she has spent most of her practice in rehabilitation settings and currently runs a non-profit with her husband, Scott, to design universally accessible homes. Scott uses a wheelchair from a spinal cord injury (20+ years) and they have a 2-year-old daughter. Her passion to serve families affected by disability at Covenant and the broader community has been shaped by participating in Family Retreats and Wounded Warrior Getaways through the organization Joni and Friends. She enjoys planning inclusive opportunities for people to feel loved and giving parents opportunities for respite and support.

Todd Pruitt has been the Lead Pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg, VA since 2013. Originally from Houston, Texas, Todd was raised and educated as a Southern Baptist. He is a graduate of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City. Over a period of years, he came to embrace the Reformed faith and has been a happy Presbyterian ever since. In his free time Todd is a cohost of the Mortification of Spin podcast and blog. Since 1990 Todd has been married to Karen and they have three children. They love living in the Shenandoah Valley and are grateful to call Covenant Presbyterian Church their home.

Aaron Roberts joined the staff of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg, VA in 2016. he As the pastor of Adult Discipleship, he thoughtfully develops a scope and sequence for the adult Sunday school programs and oversees he home group ministry of Covenant. Born and raised in West Boylston, Massachusetts, he made his way to Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. After Dickinson College, he attended Westminster Theological Seminary outside Philadelphia. Aaron loves to play the guitar, talk theology, and spend time with friends. He and his wife, Jacey, were married in 2010 and have four children whom he leads in family worship.

Dr. Ken Scheel is a professional toy inventor and the founder and Chief Education Officer of KEVA Planks (a unique building block). Ken’s workshops are always playful, practical, and easy to implement, and create compelling interactive experiences for people of all ages and all skill levels. He has provided creative KEVA experiences for DreamWorks Animation and LinkedIn and his popular KEVA planks museum exhibits are displayed at over twenty leading science centers and children’s museums. Ken uses his unique professional background to make family devotions, Sunday School and Children’s church more engaging, powerful and fun for both teachers and students.

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. 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 has been on staff since 2013. Originally from Northern Virginia, she attended JMU where she received a Bachelor of Music Education. Her extensive ministry experience includes homeschooling, teaching at Grace Christian School, consulting with teachers at Blue Ridge Christian School, and working as a learning disabilities therapist. She also has spearheaded children’s programs in several churches and is currently serving on the CDM Children’s Ministry Team. She takes great delight in seeing children grow in their knowledge and love of their Savior, Jesus. She and her husband, Kevin, have been married since 1989 and are blessed with 4 children.

Kris Zwanzig has been a member of Covenant Presbyterian Church, in Harrisonburg VA for 35 years and has been involved in Children’s ministry for all 35 years. She has been the nursery coordinator at Cov-Pres for 6 years. Kris is mom to five children, seven grandchildren, and has been married to her husband, Kevin, for 33 years. She has a heart for children and loves sharing the gospel with little ones. She enjoys reading and exploring the children’s section of a bookstore.

Ms. Sarah began connecting with the community through a local mission trip of Covenant Presbyterian Church 11 years ago. She fell in love with the children of the community and decided to move into a neighborhood near the church to connect further with our refugee and immigrant neighbors. She leads a weekly Kids’ Club in the neighborhood and connects the kids to Sunday morning church.  Sarah is on staff with Mission to North America (MNA-PCA).


Key to workshop categories:

CP=Child Protection; L=Ministry Leaders (Directors of Children’s Ministries); P= Parent; SN= Special Needs; T=Teachers; Th=Theology

Workshops #1

  • Child Sexual Abuse in the Church: Its Prevalence and Prevention (Steve Collins) What steps can be taken to protect children from this ever-growing abuse crisis? Participants will receive valuable resources that will help in writing and implementing child protection policies and procedures. (CP/L)
  • Creating a Nursery to Shepherd Little Hearts (Kris Zwanzig) Church nursery is not merely childcare; it is so much more! When parents bring their precious little ones to the nursery, we have the opportunity to partner with them in nurturing the tender hearts of our covenant children. The way we welcome babies into the classroom, the toys and books, the activities and structure, even the policies and procedures, are tools to point our children to Jesus. (L/T)
  • Leading Family Worship (Aaron Roberts) Often we hear “family worship” and want to replicate what we experience on a Sunday morning, while some of us hear “family worship” and just want to throw up our hands in defeat. As God commands us to disciple our families in the home, how can we best think about family worship and how do we not overwhelm ourselves trying? This workshop gives you the needed encouragement and tools to see family worship in a new light for the good of your household and for God’s glory. (P/L)
  • Providing a Place for Every Child (Kristen Harnly) Every church has different families touched by disability, each with unique needs. So, there is no one-size-fits-all disability ministry. Whether you have one child with a disability or many, we want you to be confident in assessing needs in light of your children’s ministry context and in connecting with families to facilitate growth. Let’s discuss how to engage disability in children’s ministry so that every child is included and growing in their knowledge of God as part of the church family. (SN/L)
  • Reaching your Community with the Gospel (Sandy Hernandez and Ms. Sarah) Children next door, children at the bus stop, on the playground, riding bikes on your street, children in your daughter’s school, children hanging out with your son, on the soccer field, in your church’s neighborhood, there are CHILDREN EVERYWHERE! These are the young ones the Lord has placed on your path…Minister to them! This workshop will share practical, creative ways to reach-out to the non-churched children in your midst. (L/P)
  • Why Theology Matters in Children’s Ministries (Sue Jakes) We do not want to spend a lot of time, energy, money and people skills and miss teaching the Truth to our children. How do we love our children well by asking in every ministry setting, “What are we learning about God and living our life with Him?”

Workshops #2

  • A Bible Lesson that Even Preschoolers Can Get (JD Patton) Have you ever been frustrated in knowing how to present a lesson to preschoolers in a way they can understand and relate to? Have you ever been tempted to believe the big truths of the Bible are just too difficult for our young children to grasp? In this interactive session, we will be discussing how to prepare and present a lesson for the precious little ones in our church in a way that is understandable and interesting to them, yet faithful to the scriptural text. We will be sharing practical ideas of methods to accomplish the ultimate goal of pointing children to the Savior. (T)
  • Classroom Management – Who’s in Charge Here Anyway? (BA Snider)  Who is in class today? Did they all have donuts for breakfast? Did they sleep well last night or were they up late? Did I sleep well last night or was I up late? All of these questions and many more effect how our classroom runs on any given Sunday. Some practical tips for classroom management, but ultimately dependence upon the one who is really in charge. (T)
  • Fun with A Purpose (Peyton Miller) Everybody likes to have fun, especially kids. But how can we have a good time together with a sense of purpose? In this workshop, we will explore how to use play to provide meaningful lessons and create connections that build deeper relationships. (L/T)
  • Memory Techniques (Lisa Updike) What’s in our mind matters! Let’s help our kids fill their minds with things of value. This workshop will present creative, engaging, and fun tools to help children (and even adults!) memorize gospel truths. (T)
  • Supporting Families with Special Needs (Sarah Pruett) This session will explore practical ways the church can provide support for individuals and families affected by disability through relationships, programs, and events. The ideas presented can be implemented in congregations big and small and provides realistic ways church members and leadership can make a big impact on those in the church and surrounding community. (SN/L)
  • Talking About Sex with Kids (John Kidd) Sex is talked about all the time. Pop music, YouTube, and peers are the primary voices educating our children. Parents as well as the church are often hesitant to discuss sexuality, puberty, pornography, and gender expression and identity. These are complex topics that have gospel implications and distinct social ramifications. This seminar will address many topics including: how and when to have conversations about sex and sexuality, and what God has said concerning gender and orientation. (P)
  • What is Reformed and Covenantal Anyway? (Stephen Estock) “Reformed” and “covenant” are words often thrown around in our churches. But what do they mean? And so what? What difference does it make that we are “reformed and covenantal?” This workshop will explore how our understanding of Scripture shapes how we view children among us, as well as how we shape our ministries. (Th/L)

Workshops #3

  • Learning Styles (BA Snider) How do we take in and understand information? How do we remember information? How does this help me in the classroom on Sunday morning? How does this help me to teach God’s Word to my covenant kids? Each child is fearfully and wonderfully made. This workshop will explore how we learn (SN/P/T)
  • Recognizing the signs of child maltreatment and how to react responsibly (Steve Collins) As mandated reporters, children’s ministry staff and volunteers need to recognize the signs of all the forms of child maltreatment. In this session, we will learn what those signs are and how to react responsibly to the child and as mandated reporters. (T/L/ CP)
  • Technology (Tim Frost) Cell phones, computers, tablets, internet, apps…Things are constantly changing and our kids often know more than we do! As a Christian parent and children’s leader, what do I need to know as I shepherd children who interact with technology and how do I help protect them from those who would seek to use technology to harm their souls? (P/L)
  • Think Outside the Blocks – Not Your Typical Bible Lesson (Ken Scheel) Family devotions and Bible lessons should be enjoyable and meaningful but sometimes the kids are just not into it. Ken will lead you through simple, open-ended challenges in a playful, hands-on workshop using KEVA Planks (Wood Blocks) as a tool to generate enthusiastic participation and easy conversations about Bible stories and Christian truths.  (T/P)
  • Welcoming Children Into Big Church (Lisa Updike) Let’s be honest; the church service can be a challenging, dare I say it, even boring place for a child. In this workshop we will explore tools that can help our children engage and participate in the worship service alongside of adults. (L)
  • Why Do Some People Baptize Babies? (Todd Pruitt) Baptism is an important sign for the believer. We pretty much all agree on that. But what about infants? The Bible never says to baptize infants, so why do Presbyterians practice infant baptism? This workshop will explore what the Bible has to say about this important (and sometimes divisive) topic. (Th/L)

Key to Workshop Categories:

CP=Child Protection

L=Ministry Leaders (Directors of Children’s Ministries)

P= Parent

SN= Special Needs



Location: Harrisonburg, VA

Covenant Presbyterian Church

Worship Facility: 546 West Mosby Road, Harrisonburg, VA 22801

Mailing Address: 32 Southgate Ct., Ste 101, Harrisonburg, VA 22801

Conference Schedule: Harrisonburg, VA

Friday, November 13

3:00-6:00 pm – ESTABLISHED: Children’s Ministry 101  – Sue Jakes and Lisa Updike

Spend the afternoon reviewing the new book by this title, unpacking all the basics of beginning, developing and sustaining ministry to children in your local congregation.

3:00-6:00 pm – Individual Appointments Register for a one-hour appointment with:

  • Kristen Harnly – Engaging Disability With The Gospel
  • Stephen Estock – CDM Coordinator
  • B.A. Snider – Great Commission Publications
  • Steve Collins — Adults Protecting Children

Browse Bookstore and Exhibits

6:30-7:15 pm – Dinner

7:30-8:30 pm – Opening Session

“Psalm 78 – The Great Value of Ministry to Children” – Todd Pruitt, Lead Pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church

8:30-9:30 pm – Dessert Social – Visit Exhibits and Bookstore

Saturday, November 14

8:00-8:30 am – Continental Breakfast

8:30-9:30 am – Introductions, Instructions and A Charge for the Day

“Psalm 78: The Great Hope that is Ours” – Sue Jakes, CDM’s Children’s Ministry Coordinator

9:40-10:40 am – Workshop Session #1

10:40-11:00 am – Break

11:00-Noon – Workshop Session #2

Noon – Lunch and Panel Discussion

1:15-2:15 pm – Workshop Session #3

2:30-3:00 pm – Closing Session

“Psalm 78:  Established – THE Covenant Promise” – Dr. Stephen Estock, CDM’s Coordinator of Discipleship Ministries

Pre-Conference Optional Training and Appointment Opportunities:

Friday, November 13

CM 101 Children’s Ministry Training – Friday 3-6 pm. – Additional cost is $15/person – Sue Jakes and Lisa Updike

This 3-hour workshop is designed to review the entire CM101 resource book with an emphasis on how to start, develop and maintain a vibrant children’s ministry. Everything from parental support, recruiting and keeping volunteers to teacher training and community outreach will be included. There will be time to ask questions as you are directed to people and resources that will help strengthen your local church’s ministry to children.

Opportunity for individual meeting with one of our Team Members – Sign up for a 1 hour time slot to meet individually (or in a small group with others from your church) with one of these consultants on Friday afternoon. This time is an opportunity for you to ask questions, receive advice, brainstorm ideas, and consult with those who are experts in their field. They are here to help you with your ministry, your role, and your church.  Once you sign up for an appointment  you will receive an email from Bethany Belue 2 weeks in advance to confirm your specific time slot. We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity at the Established Conference.

  • Steve Collins, Adults Protecting Children
  • Kristen Harnly, Engaging Disability With The Gospel
  • Stephen Estock, CDM Coordinator
  • B.A. Snider, Great Commission Publications

Hotel Suggestions:

Holiday Inn Express – 540-433-9999 – 3325 South Main Street, Harrisonburg

Hampton Inn Harrisonburg South – 540-437-0090 – 43 Covenant Drive, Harrisonburg

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson – 540-433-2400 – 27 Covenant Drive, Harrisonburg

Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham – 540-437-3777 – 85 Pleasant Valley Road, Harrisonburg

Media Kit:


Are you looking for a roadmap to raising children in the instruction of the Lord? Something to help you nurture and grow your church’s covenant children in all stages, from infancy to young adulthood? 

 Discipling our children takes a partnership between parents and the Church. The culture around us is increasingly hostile to our faith, and we have to be really intentional at imparting Biblical truths to our children. We don’t face these challenges alone. CDM’s Established Harrisonburg will draw us together with those in our region, and beyond, who are working to establish the faith in this next generation. Some of the questions we will discuss:

How do we teach and raise our kids according to God’s design?
How do we raise our children as a covenant community? And why is this important?
How does the Bible impact how we speak to and engage with our toddler? Grade schooler? High schooler?

We want to invite you to attend. We want to encourage and equip you to minister to the smallest in your congregation. Let’s celebrate our covenant community and the promises of God that unite us. Come meet the CDM team as they share the importance of covenant theology in teaching children. Our covenant community is rich and our theology is sound, so whether your church is large or small, we want you to come and be a part!

Let’s redefine our idea of success and find encouragement from those who can share from years of ministering to children. Let’s share resources, fresh ideas, and build a community on the east coast that continues to encourage each other into eternity because all of our churches are stronger when  we learn from each other.

At this conference, you will have the opportunity to attend interactive workshops on:

  • Learning Styles & Disabilities
  • Covenant Theology & the Gospel
  • Reaching your community with the Gospel
  • Family Worship
  • Kids and Technology
  • …and much more

Who should attend an ESTABLISHED conference?

  • Children’s Bible Teachers, Sunday School Teachers, and Classroom helpers
  • Children’s Ministry Directors and Staff
  • Church Leadership
  • Parents
  • Youth Helpers
  • Nursery Coordinators
  • …and anyone willing to be more involved in “telling the next generation!”

Special Training from:

  • Stephen Estock, CDM Coordinator
  • Sue Jakes, CDM Children’s Ministry Coordinator
  • Steve Collins, Adults Protecting Children
  • Kristen Harnly, Engaging Disability With The Gospel
  • B.A. Snider, Marketing Director/Great Commission Publications
  • CDM’s Children’s Ministry Team

You’ll also have an opportunity to check out the latest resources for Parents and Children!

Pre-Conference Training and Individual Appointments on Friday Afternoon:

CM 101 Children’s Ministry Training – Friday 3-6 pm. – This 3-hour workshop is designed to review the entire CM101 resource book with an emphasis on how to start, develop and maintain a vibrant children’s ministry. Everything from parental support, recruiting and keeping volunteers to teacher training and community outreach will be included. There will be time to ask questions as you are directed to people and resources that will help strengthen your local church’s ministry to children.

Individual Appointments – You will have the opportunity to register for a one-hour appointment with one of the following team members. These will be on a first-registered basis and we will let you know the time of your appointment between 3-6 pm.

  • Kristen Harnly, Engaging Disability With The Gospel
  • Stephen Estock, CDM Coordinator
  • B.A. Snider, Great Commission Publications
  • Steve Collins, Adults Protecting Children

Each church represented will receive a free copy of Children’s Ministry 101, which gives a covenantal approach to next-generation ministry.

Register for EST Harrisonburg