“Break Through” is the theme of the 24th annual FOCUS Church of God Children’s Ministries Leadership Training Conference to be held March 1-3 at the Marriott Hotel in Knoxville, Tennessee. In January 1994 at an interdenominational children’s ministry conference, nine local-church Church of God children’s ministers covenanted to help advance Church of God ministry to children. In September of that year, a two-day children’s leaders retreat was held near Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Twenty-seven children’s leaders from nine states met and formed Children’s Pastors Fellowship, which later became the National Children’s Leaders Association. In 2011, the name of the fellowship was changed from National Children’s Leaders Association to Children’s Leaders Association. The name change was more inclusive of international leaders who are a part of this fellowship. On May 13-15, 1995, the first national children’s ministries conference, called “For the Kids!” drew 300 people to a three-day event in Asheville, North Carolina. This annual conference, now called “FOCUS Children’s Ministries Conference,” has continued for 21 years. It has expanded to include Middle School leaders, as well as Spanish speaking delegates. There are 32 workshops, four general sessions, and several pre-conference workshops. Each general session includes worship, entertainment, inspiration and fellowship. Guest speakers for the “FOCUS 2018 Conference” include Seth Dahl, a world-wide speaker who trains parents and children’s workers in raising up the next generation of revivalists. Also speaking will be Beth Guckenberger. Beth serves as Co-Executive Director of Back2Back Ministries. She is the author of 8 books including adult and children’s titles. She travels and speaks regularly at conferences, youth gatherings and church services. Brenda Marshall, has been clowning around as “Flower” since 1981. Her ministry will provide the Focus Conference a variety of creative programming. Javaris Wright will lead in worship during the general sessions. Hannah Maggard, an aspiring artist, who uses her gifting to enhance an atmosphere of worship and convey a message of faith, hope and love, will also be a special guest at the conference this year. In addition to the variety of workshops, there will also be SMT’s, Specialized Ministry Tracks, providing an in-depth series of sessions. SMT’s provide in-depth training on specific areas of ministry. Dr. Mary Bellofatto, a Church of God counselor from Naples, FL, will lead a course in Counseling and Healing in Action. She will also be available to provide counseling for ministerial couples. Becky Fischer will lead training on teaching children about the supernatural. John Tasch, a conference favorite, will teach about effective kids’ church programming. Jeff Smith, Salt and Light, will be sharing training on Creative Arts. Coming back to Focus again this year will be Scott Hunter, Lead Pastor of Genesis Church in Tallahassee, Florida and Genesis Kidmin and Special Needs Director, Rachel Ritter. They will once again offer a special a set of specialized ministry workshops on ministering to children with special needs. The Genesis church is intentionally reaching special needs children in their community. Under the umbrella of a non-profit called Shine, the church has partnered with organizations such as the Tim Tebow Foundation. Each year, at an event called “Night to Shine,” they celebrate the uniqueness of each individual providing an unforgettable experience where children are welcomed, valued, and loved! Even their church facilities are designed to better minister to special needs children and families. Their goal is to help those with special needs realize that their church can be a place where they are loved and feel welcomed. Their goal is to help those with special needs feel loved and welcomed!

It is our desire to bring a high-quality event at a reasonable price in order to allow as many children’s ministry leaders and workers as possible. The cost of the Focus Conference weekend includes hotel accommodation for Thursday and Friday night and three meals during the general sessions (dinner on Thursday & Friday, as well as Friday lunch). All other meals are on your own.

The price per person is based on the number of people in the room. In order to secure your spot a deposit of 50% of the total cost must accompany the registration.

Please note that online registration and registrations with a credit card carry a 5% service charge.

Late Registration Rate (After January 20, 2018)
• 1 Person Room $475.00
• 2 Person Room $385.00 per person
• 3 Person Room $360.00 per person
• 4 Person Room $325.00 per person

Conference & Meals Only $189.00 per person (Does not include hotel accommodation.)

Additional night lodging for Wednesday and/or Saturday night is $135.00 per night.

11:00am – 5:00pm Check-In at Focus Conference check in desk

12:00pm Exhibits Open

1:00pm Breakout Session #1

2:15pm Breakout Session #2

3:30pm Breakout Session #3

5:00pm Focus First Timers Meeting

6:30pm Dinner / General Session 1

8:30pm Exhibits Open

8:30am Breakout Session #4

10:00am Breakout Session #5

11:30am Lunch /

1:30pm Breakout Session #6

3:00pm Breakout Session #7

5:30pm Dinner / General Session 2

8:30pm Children’s Leaders Association Members Only Meeting

8:00am Breakout Session #8

9:30am Commissioning Service

11:00am Prize Giveaways/Dismissal

Click here to download schedule

Specialized Tracks:
Kids & the Supernatural – Becky Fischer
Dynamic Kids Church – John Tasch
Counseling – Mary Bellofatto
Creative Arts – Jeff Smith
Special Needs – Pastor Scott Hunter and Rachel Ritter
Royal Rangers – John Hicks

Other workshops include:
The Power of Play – Hillary May
Engaging Kids in Genuine Worship
Clown Ministry: An Introduction – Brenda Marshall
Recruiting Volunteers – Lynn Miller
Girls Ministry – Janet Blair
Engaging Parents in Spiritual Discipleship fo their Kids – Alicia White
Training Youth Teams for Church & Evangelism – Trent Black & Retta Graham
Using Creative Arts in Children’s Ministry – Trent and Jessica Black
Chaos vs. Control: Discipline that Works – Lynn Miller
Interactive Games & Skits that Teach – Remix Education
Clown Ministry: Storytelling & Magic – Brenda Marshall
Administration: The Unsolved Mystery in Ministry – Lynn Miller
Fix My Kid! – Hillary May
Community Outreach in Schools & Parks – Remix Education

For more details see the Breakout Schedule here!


The focus conference is held at the Knoxville Marriott located at 501 E. Hill Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37915
Before February 1, 2018 a 50% refund is available. No cancellations or refunds may be made after February 1, 2018. Registration may be transferred to another person.

If you need to change the names on your registration please contact Jamie Avery at javery@churchofgod.org as soon as possible.

While we adore and love children… childcare is not provided during the conference. The purpose of the Focus Conference is to bring encouragement and enrichment to the workers to children in a refreshing atmosphere, so they can in return to their ministries fully charged to go to the next level.
– Informative Workshops
– Inspiring General Sessions
– Fun and Entertainment
– Children’s Ministry Resources
– Children’s Ministry Networking


Discipleship and Children’s Ministries Coordinator
Tony Lane
Email: tlane@churchofgod.org
Phone: 423-478-7229
Assistant: Jamie Avery
Email:  javery@churchofgod.org