COVENANT PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH • Chattanooga, TN • Sept. 15, 2018

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

  • Care for the Caregiver
  • Partnerships with Retirement Communities
  • Aging in Place & the Senior Care Continuum
  • Recognizing Dementia
  • Planting Seeds for Gospel-centered Older Adult Ministry
  • Church Ministry to Care for Caregivers
  • Navigating Palliative and Hospice Care
  • How to Honor Your Parents in Hard Decisions
  • A Covenantal Approach to Older Adult Ministry

Special Speakers:

  • Dr. Bill Davis
  • Rev. Jake Bennett
  • Jeff Bird
  • Dr. Kellie Flood
  • Alex Patterson
  • Rev. Doug Merkey
  • Rev. Thomas Harr
  • Dr. Stephen Estock

Conference Details


  • Early Registration (deadline is August 15, 2018): $50 each; includes Saturday lunch
  • Registration (deadline is September 10, 2018): $65 each; includes Saturday lunch

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

Conference Schedule: Chattanooga, TN

Saturday, September 15, 2018

8:00 am – Continental Breakfast
8:30 am – Welcome
8:45 am – Opening Session – Rev. Joe Novenson
9:40 am – Workshops
 –   Care for the Caregiver (Rev. Jake Bennett)
 –   Partnerships with Retirement Communities (Alex Patterson)
 –   A Covenantal Approach to Older Adult Ministry (Dr. Stephen Estock)
10:45 am – Workshops
 –   Aging in Place & the Senior Care Continuum (Jeff BIrd)
 –   Recognizing Dementia (Dr. Kellie Flood)
 –   Planting Seeds for Gospel-centered Older Adult Ministry (Rev. Doug Merkey)
Noon – Lunch – Q & A with Panel
1:10 pm – Workshops
 –   Church Ministry to Care for Caregivers (Rev. Jake Bennett)
 –   Navigating Palliative and Hospice Care (Dr. Kellie Flood)
 –   Aging in Place & the Senior Care Continuum (Jeff Bird)
3:00 pm – Closing Session – Dr. Bill Davis
3:30 pm – Departure


Jake Bennett has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Covenant College. He also holds both a Master of Divinity and Master of Counseling degrees from Covenant Theological Seminary. Prior to coming to Covenant, Jake served as the Director of Pastoral Care/Chaplain at Friendship Village Chesterfield, a 500+ resident retirement community in Chesterfield, MO. He is a licensed professional counselor and also serves as the Older Adult Consultant for the Committee on Discipleship Ministries (CDM). Jake is married to Rebekah and has four children, Anna, Micah, Elizabeth and Lydia.

Jeff Bird began his career in senior living in 2003 as comptroller, executive director and geriatric care consultant. He has 30 years’ experience as a project manager, consultant, senior living executive, strategic planner, and team leader. He has a B.B.A. in Management from Georgia State University; CASP – Certified Aging Services Professional, University of North Texas; Certified Medicare Counselor; Masters of Science, Organizational Development, Mercer University; Theological Studies, Reformed Theological Seminary; and Board member – King’s Bridge Retirement Community; Georgia Institute of Aging; Center for Positive Aging. In 2012, Jeff began consulting, and last year launched Parkview Aging Services to equip families caring for aging loved ones.

Bill Davis (MA, Westminster Seminary California; PhD, University of Notre Dame) is professor of philosophy at Covenant College, adjunct professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, and an elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.

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.

Kellie Flood, MD received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Baylor University and her MD from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. She completed her residency training in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Geriatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO.  She then remained as faculty in the Division of Geriatrics and Nutritional Science at Washington University and served as Medical Director for the nation’s first Oncology-Acute Care for Elders Unit.

Dr. Flood joined the UAB faculty in the Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care in 2006 and was the founding Medical Director for the UAB Acute Care for Elders Unit.  She now leads the development and implementation of all UAB inpatient geriatric clinical, educational, quality, and outcomes research programs and serves as UAB Hospital’s first Geriatric Quality Officer.  In 2015 Dr. Flood was also appointed UAB’s first Assistant Chief Medical Officer for Care Transitions.   Dr. Flood’s research focus is outcomes in hospitalized older adults and interdisciplinary team models of care. This work was recognized by the American Geriatrics Society in 2011 with an Outstanding Excellence in Geriatric Research award and in 2013 when the UAB Acute Care for Elders study demonstrating reduced patient-care costs and readmissions was recognized as one of the eight most impactful geriatric publications of the year.

Douglas Merkey received a marketing degree from Penn State University which led to 10+ years’ experience in Fortune 500, international, and consulting business contexts. Then, after receiving his MDiv from Covenant Theological Seminary, Doug served in a large PCA church in St. Louis as Pastor of Young Adults and Pastor of Life Ministries. God used these experiences, plus Board and chaplaincy experience at a local, multi-site Pregnancy Care Center, to compel Doug to begin a national ministry that equips local churches to dignify human life at every stage in the beauty of the gospel. In 2017, Doug transitioned from his role as a ministry president to equip individuals, churches, and other organizations for gospel-centered leadership and organizational effectiveness.

Joe Novenson serves as senior teaching pastor at Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church in Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. In addition to his role at LMPC, Joe has spoken widely within the country and overseas. Joe and his wife, Barb, have three children and three grandchildren. When Joe gets free time, he likes to hike the trails of Lookout Mountain. His favorite part of serving at LMPC is living with and learning from older members about life in Christ.

Alex Patterson joined Presbyterian Homes of Georgia, Inc. in November of 2009 as Senior Executive Director of Presbyterian Home, Quitman, Inc. and in January of 2015 Alex was promoted to Vice President.

Alex has over 16 years of experience in the healthcare industry dating back to December of 2001 when he
was the youngest licensed Nursing Home Administrator in Georgia. From then until he joined the
Presbyterian Homes of Georgia, Alex served as the administrator of several skilled nursing centers in
Georgia and South Carolina, the operations director for a medical supply company, and the Chief System
Officer of a regional hospital in Valdosta Georgia.
Alex has served in various state level healthcare industry leadership positions such as President of the
Georgia Chapter of American College of Healthcare Administrators, Southwest Council President of the
Georgia Healthcare Association, and Board Member for the Georgia Healthcare Association. Beyond the
healthcare industry Alex was a member of the Leadership Georgia class of 2011 and served in a leadership
position during the 2015 class year as a program chair. Alex is always involved in the communities where he
lives and has served as the President of the Quitman/Brooks County Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of
the Southeast Georgia Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Board member of the Brooks County Family
Connection, and is a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International of which he has been a member since 2002.
Alex earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in May of 2001 and his Master of Business
Administration degree in May of 2005 from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business in Athens.


Care for the Caregiver (Rev. Jake Bennett) – “A faintly burning wick He will not quench…” -Isaiah 42:3. Our Lord is the ultimate care giver and many in our churches are exemplifying His love by caring for loved ones who are greatly struggling physically, emotionally and mentally. Such care can leave these caregivers exhausted, weary and discouraged. This workshop will help look at caring for caregivers from a Gospel-driven approach.

Partnerships with Retirement Communities (Alex Patterson) – I will be discussing various “in-patient” care options available to senior adults as they age as well as ways in which churches might partner with providers, like the Presbyterian Homes of Georgia, throughout the year to insure that the care their members receive goes uninterrupted even in tough financial circumstances. Specifically I will cover some of the nuances of Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) now becoming known as Life Plan Communities (LPC), Assisted Living, Memory Supported Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing Centers, and Affordable Housing options.

Aging in Place and & the Senior Care Continuum (Jeff Bird) – Overview and in-depth analysis of how to age in place, navigate senior care continuum to receive the best quality of care. According to the Administration on Aging (AOA) the U.S. 65+ population in 2014 was 46,000,000. By 2060 it’s expected to reach 97,000,000. Families are caring for aging loved ones at home; pastors and staff want to be equipped to better understand the senior care continuum. This workshop will address these challenges.

Recognizing Dementia (Dr. Kellie Flood) – In this interactive workshop, participants will learn what dementia is and how the different stages of dementia impact patients and their loved ones. Participants will then learn practical skills and tips for engaging persons experiencing dementia when ministering to these special patients and their families.

Planting Seeds for Gospel-centered Older Adult Ministry (Rev. Doug Merkey) – This interactive workshop will help you shape your own and others’ ministry to older adults in the joy and freedom of the gospel. Come, get equipped to experience and express the gospel as “cared for caregivers,” “comforted comforters,” “rescued rescuers,” and “loved lovers” regarding older adult ministry!

Church Ministry to Care for Caregivers (Rev. Jake Bennett) – “… casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7. How can churches care for the caregivers? Building upon a Gospel-driven approach to individual care for caregivers, this workshop will explore opportunities that churches have in partnering and equipping their congregants for sustaining caregiving ministry.

Navigating Palliative and Hospice Care (Dr. Kellie Flood) – In this session we will define palliative care, review the spectrum of palliative care services and team members, and when patients and families should consider seeking this support from a palliative care team.

A Covenantal Approach to Older Adult Ministry (Dr. Stephen Estock) – A ministry BY and FOR older adults should be one element in a congregation’s overall ministry of multi-generational discipleship. This seminar will explore the biblical and theological framework for developing a ministry to engage older adults. We will consider how to respond to the opportunities and obstacles that such a ministry can bring.

Location: Chattanooga, TN

Covenant Presbyterian Church

8451 East Brainerd Road
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37421