Passionate about the church and about kids, Melissa J. MacDonald travels extensively in the U.S. and abroad speaking, training, coaching, and consulting. She’s the author of Missing: An Urgent Call for the Church to Rescue Kids. With a fresh and unique perspective Melissa boldly calls the church to be The Church everywhere she goes. She’s been to over 30 countries and seeks out the best ethnic food in every city she visits. She and her new husband, Luis, make their home in Iowa.
Find out more at melissajmacdonald.com
Breakout Session - Making Every Minute Count
Brad Klassen has spent the last 20 years bringing the Bible to life for people of all ages. From camps to church sermons, 3 year olds to 90 year olds, his passion is to help people see how the Bible speaks to their lives today. When he is not speaking, he works with young adults, enjoys playing games, loves a good campfire, and is still young enough to longboard. Brad, along with his wife and 4 awesome kids, call Steinbach home.
Breakout Session - Bringing the Bible to Life
Dan Doerksen is the Family Ministries Pastor at Winkler MB Church. After almost 15 years of ministry with the younger generation, he is still passionate about seeing the church community rise up to invest in families and give kids a better future. He loves walking alongside paid and volunteer ministry leaders to discover meaningful, creative ways to influence young people with the message of God’s story.
Breakout Session - Leading a Small Group: What Exactly am I Supposed to be Doing?
Heidi Driedger is a parent, has a Masters degree in Counselling and is registered with the CCPA. Some people do extreme sports; she and her husband do extreme parenting as evidence through over 17 years of fostering high needs kids. She is also an adoptive and bio parent. Her kids have more "ABC's" behind their names than she does hers, so she has been taught by some of the best. She is passionate about creating connections between people in creative ways through highly interactive and non-traditional therapeutic practices, but then again, 2 chairs and 4 walls work, too.
Breakout Session - Understanding the Culture of Our Indigenous Kids
Kelly Rempel & Melanie Mushaluk each have more than 30 years experience serving in a variety of children’s ministry settings, including day camps, VBS, Sunday school, youth groups and church staff. They work with One Hope Canada, a national organization that partners with the local church to develop life-long followers of Jesus by clearly communicating the Gospel to more than 28,000 children and youth each year through camps, community outreaches, and creative ministry strategies.
Breakout Session - Beyond Being Good: Sharing the Gospel with Children
Linda Unruh One of Linda’s passions, whether as a leader, a parent or friend, is helping people grow in their relationship with Jesus. She’s been married 44 years, has 3 married children, 9 grandchildren and considers herself a ‘life-long-learner’. Having spent 10 years as Director of Children's Ministry at The Meeting Place, she now serves at TMP as a volunteer. Over the years, and as recent as this past year, she’s had fresh and simple experiences engaging in God’s Word – and it’s contributed to a life-changing spiritual journey.
Breakout Session: The BIBLE for Every-Day Life
Lorelle Perry A graduate of the University of Winnipeg's B.Ed programme (2000), Lorelle has enjoyed teaching children of all ages in Winnipeg's inner city as well as overseas. Ten years ago Lorelle founded KidBridge - an early years drop-in playgroup for preschoolers and their mothers who are new to Canada. She continues to lead KidBridge today as well as serve as Executive Director of their growing social enterprise, One Nation Exchange. Lorelle currently volunteers as a creative communicator in early years children's ministry at The Meeting Place, where she attends with her husband and two children. She is eager to share her passion and experience cultivated over more than 28 years of children's ministry.
Breakout Session - Let the Little Ones Come to Jesus
Naomi Warkentin is a worship leader and Sunday school teacher at Westwood Community Church. Through the experience of being a worship leader for children and adults for almost 30 years, Naomi is looking forward to sharing a few pearls of wisdom that she has gleaned. God's call in her life has revolved around music, even in a childcare setting. With a household full of 5 other members who all play a variety of instruments, it is safe to say that music is ever-present in her home and there are even some “fights” over who gets to play what music and when.
Breakout Session - Never Too Young to Worship
Pam Friesen has been attending Emmanuel EFC since her family moved to Steinbach in high school. She has been involved in Children’s Ministry in one way or another for over 20 years and has been on staff part-time for over 10 years. Pam has also worked alongside her husband with Awana International Canada and has loved training people to teach and reach children. Pam is married to Len and they have 3 grown children and 2 amazing daughters-in-law. She loves to read, bake, spend time with family and be in or near water whenever possible. Pam and Len enjoy travelling and have been known to “off-road” to find lighthouses in their travels.
Breakout Session - It's Just a Phase
Rhonda Braun Braun is the First Look Team Director at First Baptist Church in Lloydminster, Alberta. Together with her husband, she has been blessed with 4 amazing kids who all love and serve God. Rhonda oversees the Nursery and Preschool areas of her church and sees that as a huge blessing. She loves seeing Jesus through the eyes of little ones. Proverbs 22:6.
Breakout Session - Personal Ministry in Nursery: Making our Personal God Visible to Our 0-2s and Their Families
Tim Fletcher has been a pastor for 35 years and for the past 16 years, he has combined pastoring with being an addictions and trauma counselor. Tim has founded Finding Freedom, a weekly program that gives support and teaching to those affected by addiction and trauma, as well as RE:ACT (Recovery Education for Addiction and Complex Trauma), a treatment centre for those struggling with addiction and trauma. Tim's research points to the long term, devastating effects complex trauma can have on a child. Tim has 3 adult children, and his wife, Kim, helps in many ways at RE:ACT and Finding Freedom.
Leadership Lab - Childhood Trauma; Causes, Effects and Healing
Reg Froese is the Manitoba program coordinator for Journey Canada and speaks regularly in churches and to pastors and ministry leaders to help the church think well and act compassionately around issues of relationships and sexuality. He also coordinates discipleship programs and support groups that provide safe places for people to talk about their experiences in these areas and encounter Jesus and receive the love of God. Reg has been involved in this work for 10 years but, prior to that, worked in the non-profit sector both in Canada and abroad. In his spare time, Reg enjoys watching hockey, pick-up basketball, and road trips.
Breakout Session - The Changing Landscape of Gender and Sexuality in this Generation
Carolyn Klassen has completed a Master of Arts degree in Marriage, Family, and Child Counselling in Fresno, California and also has a degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Manitoba. She is a therapist and director at Conexus Counselling in Winnipeg. She believes that fundamentally, all of us are wired for connection, and that meaningful relationships have tremendous healing power. Carolyn taught for many years at the University of Manitoba, speaks widely and writes about aspects of connection, including 3 books. She has a weekly conversation with Hal Anderson on 680CJOB, and teaches at The Meeting Place. She loves lattés with friends, suppers with kids who come over, and watching the birds visit the backyard bird feeder.
Leadership Lab - Wholehearted Leadership: Love Thy Neighbour as Thyself
Breakout Session - Feeling-God's Smile
Darlene Wall is a resource teacher who loves to share God’s word with children. She is an author of 8 children’s devotional style storybooks. She has been teaching Sunday School as a large group teacher, program organizer and classroom teacher for over 30 years and has been actively involved in presenting the Gospel to children through VBS for the past 21 years as “the Bible Lady.” For the past 12 years she has either been on the leadership team or the director of various church’s VBS programs. She is passionate about making the word of the Lord come alive for young listeners…and those young at heart as well.
Breakout Session - VBS Matters: Running a Godly, Kid-Friendly Summer Vacation Bible School Program
Jeffrey Schau is a certified Coach, Consultant, Trainer and Speaker with the John Maxwell Team. Although his primary focus is in corporate and church leadership, he recognizes the significant leadership role teachers have as they influence children and has a passion to help equip them in their ministry. He has volunteered leading the youth group at St. Vital EMC Church, worked with the Leadership Development Camp at Beaver Creek, and is developing a program for schools to help children understand how God has made them unique and for a purpose. Along with his wife and children, he was born and raised in good old Winterpeg.
Breakout Session - Winning Over that Difficult Child: Because "Kicking Them Out" is not an Option
Kent Martens serves with the Family Ministry at Emmanuel Evangelical Free Church in Steinbach aligning and combining the faith building forces of the local church and the family. He encourages, equips and challenges families through conversations, counselling, writing, coaching, seminars and through creative, practical Bible teaching. Kent and his wife Pam raised four kids: Mitchell, married to Becca, Kyle, married to Alex, Jaden and Kelsey. Their family enjoys sports, music, board games and eating together. Kent and Pam like an occasional golf game and watching the Winnipeg Jets play hockey.
Breakout Session - Serving Parents Well
Megan Kropp has had the privilege of participating in the building of a unique movement in the city of Brandon, Mb called Cities Church. She has been a member of the church board since 2014 and currently serves as the Cities Kids Ministry Director. Megan is also a wife and a mother to two young kids. Cities Church has been given a large and influential assignment to plant 100 churches in Canada, each with 1000 people within the next 10 years. That also means 100 Kids ministry teams! Megan is excited to be a part of the vision God has given Cities Church and is dedicated to training and discipling leaders for the glory of God!
Leadership Lab - Foundational Leadership: Building and Empowering a Team that Reproduces Teams
Breakout Session - Relationships in Leadership: A Key to Developing a Sustainable Kids Team
Paige Bergman attends Westside Community Church in Morden, Manitoba. She has been a Sunday school leader for four years, is a co-leader of her church’s young adults group, helps lead worship, has completed three summers of interning at her church, and has been a youth leader in the past. She is passionate about people of all ages finding unique ways to connect with God, and believes the freedom and passion young children have when celebrating Christ is an example we can all learn from!
Breakout Session - Engaging Preschoolers in Worship
Rachel Price is as an author, speaker, ministry leader, and consultant. She is passionate about creating resources to equip parents and leaders to raise up a generation of Christ-followers. She currently serves as the Children’s Ministries Pastor at Northwest Church in Bentonville, Arkansas. During her ten years in ministry, Rachel has hosted radio programs, appeared on national television, and traveled internationally sharing her passion for the Lord. However, her favorite calling is that of a wife and mother of two kids, ages 7½ and 21.
Leadership Lab - Communicating in the Digital Age
Breakout Session - The Power of Effective Time Management
Rose is a Special Education Resource Teacher in the Winnipeg School Division. Rose gets to collaborate with a fabulous collection of professionals and is passionate about the success of children with challenges. When not at work, Rose loves being part of the worship team at The Meeting Place. You can hear her yelling or whistling at anything sports or talking to herself about anything at any time. Rose is married to John and they have three adult children, one who is married. John and Rose live in Winnipeg where John is the pastor of TMP.
Breakout Session - When the Kid in Your Small Group is Your "Neighbour"
Shellie Power is the Director of Hope Centre Ministries, a local organization that provides Spiritual Care and belonging for individuals who live with disabilities. Shellie holds a degree in Special Education and has worked as a special Ed teacher for 13 years before moving into the field of Disability Ministry in 2008. She is passionate about inclusion of people with disabilities in faith communities. Her varied experience has helped to develop her repertoire of practical strategies for inclusion.
Breakout Session - Autism and Your Church
Terry Doerksen is currently the Youth and Children's Pastor at Westwood Community church with 18 years of experience as a Youth Pastor. Through the challenging circumstances of his life, God has given him a passion for ministry and for young people because he believes we are all broken and need someone to believe in us and help us see the way through the brokenness. The things that drive him are his 4 grandchildren and seeing leaders and students “get it”.
Breakout Session - Herding Cats: Making a Difference in Middle School Ministry