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Seminar Presenters

The conference seminars are taught by an amazing selection of speakers from around the world. Whether they are a pastor, professor, author, teacher, parent or grandparent; are serving in a large or small church; involved in traditional children's ministry, missions or the business world, each speaker uses their unique background and experience to equip you with practical training on a variety of topics for real life ministry to children, parents and volunteers.

Don Bartemus
Don is the Pastor of Compassion Ministries at College Park Church in Indianapolis. Previously he served for 18 years as the Pastor of Next Generations at College Park. He and his wife, Cheryl, have been in ministry since 1987. Don attended Cedarville University, received a B.A. in Bible. He attended Grace Seminary and earned a M.Div. in Biblical Studies and later a Doctorate of Ministries from Grace Seminary. Don and Cheryl have three grown children: Joshua, Tim and Debra and three grandchildren.

Seminar: Prayer Is Essential for Reaching the Next Generation
Amy Bell
Wife to Tim, busy mother of four, Amy loves to tell of God's faithfulness and how memorizing God's Word gives her a way to live in continuous hope-filled truth. She has served at Grace Fellowship in Cumming, Ga. as the first grade teacher, teaching the ABC's of God for nine years and leads a 9th grade girl's small group on Sunday evenings. She enjoys include baking and decorating cakes, hiking, reading, playing games and traveling.

Seminar: Practical Tips for Teaching with Passion and Purpose (Co-Presenter with Tim Bell)
Tim Bell
Tim has served as a non-vocational pastor at Grace Fellowship in Cumming, Ga. since 2010 and has been involved with the children's ministry for over seven years, primarily serving as the lead teacher for third grade (In the Beginning Jesus). Tim is married to his precious wife, Amy, since 1996 and God has blessed them with four children (ages 11-17). Vocationally he is employed as a regional sales manager at Informa Software. He enjoys writing, poetry, gardening, holding hands with his wife and family activities.

Seminar: Practical Tips for Teaching with Passion and Purpose (Co-Presenter with Amy Bell)
Patrick Dirrim
Patrick is the Pastor for Students and Families at Grace Fellowship of Cumming, Ga. Prior to this position, he and his family lived and served as missionaries in Guatemala. He has served as a teacher in various ministries within the church since its founding in 2003 and currently is teaching Open My Eyes to the high school students. Patrick and his wife Barbara have seven children ranging in age from 8 to 17 years old. Patrick is an avid CrossFitter and enjoys working out with his family.

Seminar: A Big Vision of Youth Ministry
Brian Eaton
Brian has served as Executive Director at Children Desiring God in Minneapolis since 2006 when, at that time, the Lord redirected his vocational steps from informational technology management. Brian led the Fighter Verses Team at Bethlehem Baptist Church for many years and is passionate for the next generation to store God's word in their hearts. He and his wife, Cindy, have been married for 30 years and have five children.

Seminars: The Power of the Memorized Word in the Fight of Faith; Reaching the Heart: The Importance of Application
Jenna Farley
Jenna serves as the Elementary Coordinator at Journey Christian Church in Rochester, N.Y., where she oversees the K-6th grade classes. She is passionate about portraying the great truths of the Bible in engaging ways. Jenna has been teaching in the church for over ten years and in the public schools for five years. She also enjoys reading, singing and snuggling with her cat.

Seminars: Strategies for Multi-Age Classrooms
Ian Fry
Ian has a background in education and youth work. He currently pastors Christ Church, Fetcham in the UK. Prior to this, he was the Director of Youth and Children's Ministry Training at Oak Hill Theological College in London. Ian enjoys most sports but especially rugby and also gardening.

Seminars: The Importance of Sharing a Vision for Children in Your Church; Sins or Synapse? Are Teens Controlled by Their Brains (Co-Presenter with Nina Fry)
Nina Fry
Nina has a background in education and children's work. Married to Ian she teaches the children's Sunday school at Christ Church. When not helping out with their six granddaughters, Nina enjoys room design, reading and walking.

Seminars: The Importance of Sharing a Vision for Children in Your Church; Sins or Synapse? Are Teens Controlled by Their Brains (Co-Presenter with Ian Fry)
Kristin Gilbert
Kristin serves as the Director of Children's Ministries at College Park Church in Indianapolis. Her prayer is that the next generation would passionately follow Jesus! She desires to come alongside of the church body to continue to lay a foundation of truth for the next generation to build their faith upon. Kristin enjoys engaging with the children and volunteers she works with on Sunday mornings and encouraging them to fix their eyes on our One True God.

Seminar: Praying for the Next Generation and Your Volunteers
Joyce Heinrich
Joyce served as the Minister for Early Childhood under the shepherding ministry of David Michael from 1999 to 2013 at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. She gave oversight to the staff and ministry to children, newborn through age three. Joyce, also, piloted A Sure Foundation, the Children Desiring God nursery and toddler curriculum. Joyce loves spending time with her two sons, four daughters and 16 grandchildren.

Seminars: Starting Right! Laying a Biblical Foundation in the Nursery for Infants and Toddlers; Dynamite Concept! Laying a "Sure Foundation" in the Nurseries
Tim Keeter
As an aerospace engineer in Huntsville, Ala. with over 22 years of experience, Tim has a serious appreciation for technology and understands its benefits more than most. As a husband, a father of three, an elder in his church, a certified biblical counselor and passionate follower of Jesus, Tim also understands the potential threat of technology to our souls and our families.

Seminar: Picking Up the Digital Blitz: Recognizing and Countering the Technology Rush in Our Homes
John Knight
John is Director of Donor Partnerships at Desiring God in Minneapolis. He is married to Dianne, and together they parent their four children: Paul, Hannah, Daniel and Johnny. Paul lives with multiple disabilities including blindness, autism, cognitive impairments and a seizure disorder. John writes on issues of disability, the Bible and the church at The Works of God.

Seminar: From Genesis to Revelation: Disability and His Sure Promises of Help
Gil McConnell
Gil is the Pastor for Children and Family Discipleship at Bethlehem Baptist Church, North Campus in Mounds View, Minn. For the past decade he has taken great joy in coming alongside parents and volunteers to help point children to joy in Jesus. Gil and his wife, JoAnna, have four children: Sophia, Micah, Joshua and Benaiah. Gil enjoys good humor, music and time with his family.

Seminars: Partnering with Parents to Spread a Passion; Recruiting and Training Volunteers
David Michael
David is a co-founder of Children Desiring God. In April, 2014, David was called to serve as the Pastor for Next Generations at College Park Church in Indianapolis. For 28 years (1986-2013) David served under the shepherding ministry of John Piper; the last 16 years as the Pastor for Parenting and Family Discipleship. He and his wife, Sally, have two daughters and three grandchildren.

Seminars: "Let the Children Come to Me" in Worship; Equipping Parents for Vision-Oriented Discipleship of Children and Youth
Sally Michael
Sally is a co-founder of Children Desiring God and has authored many books and curricula. For 15 years, Sally was also the Minister for Resources and Program Development serving under the leadership of John Piper and David Michael. Her ministry has been marked by a passion for developing God-centered resources for the spiritual development of children. Sally and her husband, David, enjoy spending time with their daughter Kristi, daughter Amy and son-in-law Gary and three grandchildren.

Seminars: Strategies for Engaging Children in the Worship Service; Teaching Youth and Engaging Their Hearts; Intergenerational Teaching: Why and How?; Catechism: Out of Date or a Tried and True Teaching Tool of Eternal Truths
Peter Morris
Peter Morris serves as the City Team Leader with ReachGlobal in San Jose, Costa Rica where he leads a team of 12 missionaries as they work with national partners to multiply transformational churches. He has over 20 years experience in family ministry, first in his home country of Australia and then as the Family Ministries Director for eight years at Ambassador Bible Church near Washington, D.C. His most important family ministry partnership is with his wife Melanie as they raise their three young children: Samuel, Madeleine and Benjamin. He enjoys reading, listening to music and exploring the beauty of Costa Rica.

Seminars: Implementing Children Desiring God in Small to Medium-Sized Churches; Strengthening the Church-Home Partnership in the First Three Years
Lori Myers
Lori has worked with Children Desiring God materials since 2004. She has served in churches for many years as small group leader, worship leader, preschool teacher and administrator of family discipleship ministry. Lori has also served on staff with Children Desiring God in Minneapolis as a customer service specialist. She and her husband Paul have two married daughters, Jessica and Angela, two sons-in-law and four grandchildren that she has delighted in caring for over the years.

Seminars: Beyond Classroom Management; The Nuts and Bolts of Small Group Leading; Leading Children in God-Centered Worship
Jill Nelson
Jill has been teaching Sunday school for over 25 years. Her passion for God-centered teaching led her to develop and write children's curriculum for Children Desiring God beginning in 1996, including Jesus, What A Savior!, In the Beginning Jesus, and To Be Like Jesus. Jill also is the primary writer for the Children Desiring God Blog. She and her husband Bruce enjoy spending time with their son and daughter and four grandchildren. Jill and Bruce are also avid bird-watchers and enjoy camping and hiking wherever they can find some secluded wilderness.

Seminars: Encouraging Active Minds in the Learning Process; Making a Strategic Plan for Teaching the Whole Counsel of God; Communicating the Gospel Within the Whole Counsel of God
Carol Nettleton
Carol is the Director of Children's Ministry at Journey Christian Church in Rochester, N.Y. She has been ministering to families and volunteers for over 10 years. Carol is passionate about leading a God- centered ministry and shepherding her volunteers. Carol enjoys family vacations, time with her family, cooking, baking and she just began gardening this year.

Seminars: Encouraging Your Teams
Deepak Reju
Raised in New Jersey, Deepak serves as an associate pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., giving oversight of the CHBC biblical counseling and family ministries. He is a George Washington University graduate, and also holds MDiv and PhD degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of several books and articles, including On Guard: Preventing and Responding to Child Abuse at Church (New Growth Press). He serves as the President for the board of directors of the Biblical Counseling Coalition and trustee for Christian Counseling and Education Foundation. Deepak and his wife, Sarah, have five children, Zachariah, Lydia, Eden, Noelle and Abraham.

Seminars: Preventing Child Abuse in Your Church; Why Discipling Matters for Children's Ministry
Ron Rudd
Ron serves as the Family and Children's Pastor at the Metropolitan Bible Church in Ottawa, Ontario and has recently joined the Children Desiring God Board of Directors. Ron's primary role, however, is as a husband and father. He and Ann have been married since 1978 and God has blessed them with 10 children (six biological and four adopted). Together, Ron and Ann believe in the value of the family and the importance of the church. Ron finds great joy in challenging people to make much of God.

Seminars: The Parent-Church Connection; Teaching Children and Youth to Stand Firm in a Hostile Culture
Mark Schuitema
Mark is the Pastor of Community Life at College Park Church in Indianapolis. His ministry scope includes shepherding and leading the small group, men's and marriage ministries. He has a passion for discipling men of all ages and helping to raise up a new generation of leaders who will in turn replicate their lives and raise up the next generation of leaders. Mark and his wife Emily have three sons and a daughter, and see discipleship as the primary focus of parenting. Mark loves being outdoors and using his hands to build or repair things, particularly when that coincides with spending time with his family.

Seminar: Foundations for Family Discipleship
Brad Schweibold
Brad is an elder and children's ministry teacher at College Park Church in Indianapolis. For the past 30 years, Brad has loved engaging the hearts and minds of children in actively learning God's Word through solid Biblical teaching. Brad and his wife Nancy have six children and four grandchildren. He is a businessman who uses the majority of his free time to spread the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Brad also enjoys the outdoors through cycling, motorcycling, bow hunting and long prayer walks.

Seminar: Helping Elders to Understand the Importance of Children's Ministry
Gary Steward
Gary is the Assistant Professor of History at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, Colo. and theological editor for Children Desiring God. He has been involved in ministry to adults and children in a wide number of settings, both as a pastor in Newfoundland and as a children's worker in a number of different churches. Gary and his wife Amy (Michael) have three children, Anna, Katie and Joshua. Gary enjoys following politics and reading theology, history and nineteenth-century literature especially Dickens, Twain, Doyle and Verne.

Seminars: Teaching Youth to Study the Bible; Teaching Youth to Rejoice in God's Good Design
Holly Urbanski
Holly has served for many years in a variety of children's ministry roles within her church. Her favorite assignments have been as teacher or team leader in preschool and elementary classrooms. Holly has a deep passion to help children to know and love the word of God and, through it, to know and love Him. She is also the Customer Service Manager at Children Desiring God in Minneapolis. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and spending time with her family. Holly and her husband Doug have two adult children.

Seminars: Team Leading in a Classroom; Opening the Box: Introduction to Children Desiring God Curriculum and Sequence; Encouraging God-Esteem in a Culture of Self- Esteem
Deb Watters
Deb is a homeschooling mom who attended Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis for 15 years. She has been active in children's ministry using Children Desiring God curriculum as a team leader and small group leader, has hosted many backyard Bible clubs and serves on the boards of Children Desiring God and Orphan's Joy. She and her husband Mike have been blessed with seven children. Deb is a former financial analyst, founded a home school academy and speaks to groups about God's faithfulness during her family's battle with pediatric cancer.

Seminar: Using Children Desiring God Curriculum in Backyard Bible Clubs and Vacation Bible School
Krista Williams
Krista is an elementary special education teacher. She is blessed to be teaching preschoolers for her 12th year at her church in the Atlanta area using He Established a Testimony and He Has Spoken By His Son. Krista and her husband Hugh have three sweet children, Lindsay, Kate and Daniel. Krista enjoys reading, spending time at the beach and road trips.

Seminar: Teaching Preschoolers: Why and How?
Joe Wittmer
Joe is the Pastor of Student Ministries at College Park Church in Indianapolis. He has ministered to students, parents and volunteers for over 14 years and loves seeing the gospel transform people and grow them closer to Jesus. Joe and his wife Ashley have two kids, Hutch and Reese. Joe spends as much times as he can with his family and doing things outside.

Seminar: Deep and Wide: Youth Ministry with Theological Depth that Reaches the Breadth of Maturity