Calvary Curriculum Children’s Ministry

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Conference Provides Training & Encouragement for Children’s and Youth Ministers

Story by Matt Enterline & Rebekah Enterline of Calvary Curriculum
Photos courtesy of Calvary Curriculum

In anticipation of Calvary Curriculum’s Children’s Ministry Conference coming up February 18-19, Calvary Chapel Magazine brings you a report from last year’s conference held at Calvary Chapel Golden Springs in Diamond Bar, CA. This year’s conference, held at the same location, marks the 25th anniversary of this popular event.

For more information about this ministry, visit Calvary Curriculum. For information about the annual conference, visit CCCM-Conference. Late registration ends February 14.

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Evan and Sandy Wickham lead a powerful time of worship between sessions at Calvary Curriculum’s Children’s Ministry Conference in 2021. Evan’s dad, John Wickham, accompanies them on lead guitar.

In mid-February 2021, 550 children’s ministry workers from 13 different states—representing 125 different churches—gathered for a time of equipping, encouragement, and fellowship. The two-day conference offered four general sessions with worship and teaching and a total of 95 training workshops, taught by over 40 men and women who serve in this special ministry. Though the conference’s in-person attendance was cut by 50% due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, reports poured in of churches gathering to watch online, including several churches in Canada which joined together to watch the livestream of the conference. There were 2,500+ livestreams active over the weekend.


(Calvary Bible Institute: Equipping the saints for the work of the ministry CBI is a one-year program designed to equip those who feel called to serve the Lord in full-time ministry. Click here to learn more about their programsCBILettersLogoHorizontalWhite

The theme of the conference was “Hope for This Generation.” General session speakers consisted of both past and present children’s ministry pastors, including Steve West from CC Golden Springs, CA; Mark Carson from CC Modesto, CA; John Deming from CC San Bernardino, CA; and Calvary Curriculum’s founder and president Larry Enterline. Larry began the conferences in 1994 under the ministry of Calvary Chapel founder Pastor Chuck Smith. The many workshops covered a wide range of subjects, including leadership, organization and safety, outreach and evangelism, Bible teaching, preschool, elementary, special needs, youth ministry, and parenting.

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14

Calvary Curriculum is dedicated to training and equipping Sunday school workers, parents, missionaries, and anyone else teaching God’s Word to children. The website offers its resources for free to users outside of the U.S., with a small yearly membership fee for those within the country to fund the international outreach. The website offers 700+ Bible studies (preschool through elementary-aged children), classroom posters, 100+ hours of audio and video trainings, and many other resources.

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John Schneider, children’s pastor at Calvary Chapel Living Word in Irvine, CA, demonstrates how to use drama while storytelling. John uses visuals and voice animation to show how to help the Bible story come to life for the children. The conference was held at Calvary Chapel Golden Springs in Diamond Bar, CA. The 2022 conference will be held there February 18-19.

Don’t Give Up

Many face discouragement while serving the Lord, and the attendees arrived ready and eager to hear a word from the Lord during this season. Children’s Pastor Mark Carson from CC Modesto taught from Galatians 6:9: And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Mark warned against the temptation we have as Christians to give up and to stop working the fields that God has given us to work in. He exhorted the listeners, “To give up hope means to walk away, to not finish the work that God has for you. We’re all tempted to give up and give up hope, but we can’t. Like [the disciple] Peter said, ‘Where else are we gonna go?’ What else are you going to do with that little ol’ life He’s given you? Do you think the world has something better than the riches of Christ? … Not a chance!”

He described Satan’s most common and effectively used weapon against Christians: discouragement. The devil will use this weapon to day-by-day wear us down and pressure us to give up. But we have to silence him and once again place our faith in the Lord, the One who’s placed us in the ministry. 2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Zachariah 4:6b also exhorts us: "'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts."

Mark reminded listeners of the truth that “the Spirit never wears out, His Spirit never weakens, His Spirit is never exhausted, His Spirit is always powerful, always ready to set fire to the bones of any Christian … old, young, weak, poor, rich … it doesn’t matter; He is going to do His work and He will have His way.”

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Pastor Mark Carson and his wife Sarah (left) from Calvary Chapel Modesto, CA, share a moment of fellowship with Pastor Larry Enterline (center) and his daughter Annie (right) in the hallway before the next workshop begins.

Encouraged in the Work

Pastor Mike from Wildwood Calvary Chapel in California attended the conference with six other staff members and two volunteers. He began directing the children’s ministry in January 2020; but when the church closed down by March for COVID-19 lockdowns, he found himself having no children at church. The Lord used the 2021 conference to solidify his calling, one that he had wrestled with during the challenges of the previous year. Mike said he found his spirit being lifted as he was encouraged in what God had called him to. He reflected, “I really felt it was the Lord saying, ‘Do you still trust Me, do you love Me, are you willing to do the work?’”

Megan came to the conference from Transformation Calvary in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. She has been serving in children’s ministry since the summer of 2020. “Kids need to be so saturated with the Word more and more, especially in these days we’re living in,” said Megan. “They are happier to learn the Bible. They want answers because of everything that’s going on, and the key tool is using the Bible more than anything [else]. That’s something the Lord has always taught me—that His Word is our Number One answer to everything, and just applying that even more so with the kids.” Megan added how eager she was to implement aspects of what she had learned at the conference, including “teaching the kids how to share the Gospel with their peers. Evangelism has been something that’s been on my heart, and I want to teach that to the kids.”

Anastasia, from Calvary Chapel Monrovia, CA, has served in children’s ministry for six years and has attended the conference twice. She shared, “I see that even in difficult times [God] is still faithful and that we’re called to be [faithful]. It’s helped me to see how we need Him more.” She also noted, “There’s something in the societal shift that’s happened, that has made more of an urgency in a lot of ways.”

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Pastor Matt Enterline (left) of Calvary Curriculum teaches how to use games to reinforce Bible studies in the classroom. Mynor Bardales (right) of CC Golden Springs shares in an exciting game along with other participants.

Renee, from Connection Church in Corona, CA, has seen her approach to teaching the children change in positive ways since attending the conference for the past four years. She explained, “Really encouraging the kids to be more in their Bibles has been a big thing. We do a lot more Bible reading and providing Bibles for them to look through and feel the pages and get to know [it], because it’s like a best friend.”

Emily is from Calvary Chapel Bozeman, MT, and was attending the Calvary Bible Institute in Yucca Valley, CA, where she was encouraged to attend the conference for further equipping in the ministry. Emily remarked how “so many of these kids are coming from broken homes and [needing] someone to be stable for them. Our foundation is Jesus. Pointing them to Jesus is just vital.”

Many people expressed their gratitude that the conference was still held despite the uncertainties of the times in which we live. Eleyn from CC Monrovia, CA, exclaimed, “It’s a blessing through this pandemic to have this, to be in fellowship with likeminded people.” She and her husband Ben attended the conference for their second year, and both have served in ministry between 16 and 18 years. Ben stated, “The Holy Spirit is absolutely moving at the conference. It’s amazing to be here and to be a part of it and just to be around likeminded people that are constantly pursuing Him. The Holy Spirit is just awesome.” Eleyn received fresh encouragement that “God is truly with us and that there is no need to be discouraged by small numbers, but to just keep going.”

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Calvary Curriculum's Children's Ministry Conference is open for registration. It will be held February 18-19 at CC Golden Springs in Diamond Bar, CA. Ministry leaders may also participate by livestream.


For information about the 2022 Calvary Curriculum Children’s Ministry Conference, visit CCCM-Conference, where you can view descriptions of the over 80+ workshops which will be offered, along with the conference schedule, registration, and more.


(To learn more about Calvary Bible Institute, visit their website or read our past coverage on the school)

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All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2022 Calvary Chapel Magazine (CCM). All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.