March 20th & 21st

Quick Access:


THURSDAY   |    March 20 [Pre-Conference]

Pre Conference Intensives

Registration | 9:00 - 9:30 a.m.

Workshops | 9:30 - 12:00 a.m.

Lunch for Pre-Conference attendees | 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.


THURSDAY   |    March 20

Conference Schedule

Registration | 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

General Session 1 | 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

Break | 2:00 - 2:30 p.m.

Breakout 1 Workshops | 2:30 - 3:45 p.m.

Break | 3:45 - 4:15 p.m.

Breakout 2 Workshops | 4:15 - 5:30 p.m.

Dinner | 5:30 - 6:45 p.m.

General Session 2 | 6:45 - 8:00 p.m.


Friday   |    March 21

General Session 3 | 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.

Break | 10:00 – 10:30 a.m.

Breakout 3 Workshops | 10:30 – 11:45 a.m.

Lunch | 11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Breakout 4 Workshops | 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.

Break | 2:15 – 2:30 p.m.

General Session 4 | 2:30 - 3:30 p.m.



Please use the buttons below to filter your search.

  • Discipleship
  • Children
  • Care
  • Children
  • Communicator
  • Discipleship
  • Leadership
  • Marketing/Social Media
  • Missions & Outreach
  • Operations
  • Recovery
  • Students
  • Technology
  • Worship Arts



    SCORRE is the only training of its kind to go deeper than just overcoming fear and worn out delivery techniques. With our unique, proven SCORRETM system, we drill down to the foundation of your speaking - your preparation. You will learn to prepare powerfully focused, crystal clear talks and then deliver them with confidence and power. This workshop with Ken will help you with communicating your message.  Ken Davis

  • Tech Systems

    This intensive will touch on all production technology systems. From design to maintenance, you will learn the key components to bring your worship technology to the next level. There will also be an opportunity to have one on one time with our staff and industry professionals to answer any questions you have.  Corey Schob, Andrew Davis, Matt Stiller, Larry Brown, & Fowler Media

  • Building a Successful Puppet or Creative Arts Youth Ministry

    Van Dyke has had an award winning puppetry/creative arts team called PfC, for 15 years as a youth ministry outreach.  In this workshop, we'll discuss how to create a fun, successful ministry that both mentors and helps disciple youth and ministers to an audience of any age.  We'll discuss how to find and select appropriate material, black light puppetry, how to organize performances for any age audience, and how to put together a tour.   We'll also show you many of our puppets and props and discuss other creative arts we use for PfC. Becky Bonanno, Sandy Graves

  • Engaging and Growing Unchurched Youth

    Are you passionate about the lost, but just not sure where to start?  Are you looking for more than just an "outreach" and instead desire a process that leads unchurched youth into a developed relationship with Christ?  This workshop will collaboratively discuss how youth ministries can practically reach out to unchurched youth relationally, strategically, and programmatically. We will dive deeper and discuss how these programs and outreaches can turn in to opportunities for students to say "yes" to Jesus and begin a foundation of growing deeper in Him. Taylor Foley

  • Back-to-School Outreach Event and Adopt a School

    Part 1: Back-to-School Outreach Event
    Shoes of Hope is an annual outreach event of Grace Church where children receive new shoes and supplies to start the new school year equipped for success.  Learn about this ministry and see how you too can offer a back-to-school outreach at your church that will create community among your members, provide hope for struggling families, and touch the lives of everyone involved.  Heather Evans
    Part 2: Adopt a School

    There is an average of 14 churches for every public school in the US.  The unique position of churches in our communities provides a great opportunity to work with students, parents and school staff to enhance the educational experience.  In doing so, the church can actively share the love of Christ.  In this workshop, you will be provided with the details for creating a partnership with a local school.  You will also learn how to develop programs and services that match your church’s strengths with school needs.  Cheryl Jackson, Zenia Robertson

  • Team Leadership

    It doesn’t have to be “lonely at the top!” This workshop will provide the tools needed to begin to overcome heroic solo leadership and move to team leadership in ministry. We will identify different types of essential teamwork; discuss common team dysfunctions and proven, basic tools and methods to overcome them. We will also offer steps to start building your dream team.  Wes Olds, Craig Robertson

  • Organizing Yourself and Your Ministry

    Organization and time management are learned behaviors. None of us where born organized.  Jim will not only give you 5 things you need to be organized, he will teach you 4 steps to effective time management and give away his 10 leadership secrets for organizing your life and ministry. Jim will also help you learn how to develop a plan to get your ministry from here to there.  Jim Wideman

  • 5 Ways to Move Past Ministry Challenges

    Got Problems?  Ministry Challenges?  Limiting Factors? During this session we'll cover 5 ways to view ministry obstacles and move past them.  We'll address budget challenges, space restrictions, event creativity, daily innovation, lack of volunteerism, curriculum woes, and more.  Before we're done, you'll be challenged to love challenges and you'll get to do it in a VERY FUN, highly interactive way.  Julie Giles, Bryce Du Mont, Vickie Partridge

  • Discover Why Nobody Volunteers in Church and Ways to Help Volunteers Say Yes

    Can you use a couple more volunteers, or maybe more than a couple? Sometimes it feels like we’re standing on the steps of our churches shouting for people to please come in and help us. In this workshop, you’ll discover how to overcome the most common excuses potential volunteers offer, explore a proven strategy to engage volunteers in ministry and get a 90-second tool to invite people into service opportunities. Plus, you’ll practice every technique you’ll learn and walk away ready to grow your volunteer ministry.  Patty Smith


  • Audio Mixing

    Mixing your worship experience can be stressful. Your comfort level with your mixes will instantly improve in this hands-on workshop. Learn more about the art of EQ, compression, and effects.  Corey Schob, Andrew Davis

  • Better Systems and Processes for Student Ministry

    How do you find and keep good volunteers?  How do you keep track of the students that have come through your ministry and keep them involved?  Build better systems for ministry growth and retention. It's worth it!  Todd Leet, Lara McCay 

  • Burnout: Lead Effectively Without Leaving Yourself Behind

    Often times in ministry we become great leaders of others at the expense of our own growth and health. Leadership like this pushes us and our families to burnout. Through this session we will explore the causes and proper preventions of ministry and leadership burnout. It truly is possible to lead others well without giving yourself and your family the leftovers.  Corey Wolloff

  • Managing Mission Partnerships and Expectations

    Come hear how to develop successful mission partnerships that will align with your heartbeat for mission. This workshop will provide practical lessons on how to find the "perfect" mission partner and what to do when none exists.  Steve Batchellor

  • The Creative Church – The Gap

    Viewing what your church creates on a daily basis and comparing it with other churches can be uncomfortable and dangerous.  Whether its sermons, music, or an event for Children's Ministry, seeing the gap between you and those you admire is a necessary step in becoming a better creative mind.  Come and let’s learn how to become better every day.  Zac Collins

  • Turn Around Church Strategies

    Leading local churches in a turn-around is more art than science.  In this workshop, two seasoned church leaders will help pastors and church leaders with guiding, transferable principles that facilitate local church turn-arounds.  Craig Robertson is the Executive Director for Spiritual Leadership, Inc and has led dozens of local churches in turn around processes.  Jorge Acevedo has been the Lead Pastor of Grace Church, a multi-site congregation with three turn around campuses.  Jorge Acevedo, Craig Robertson

  • Prayer

    Powerful-Refreshing-Transforming…the one ingredient required to release God’s Power!  Come learn simple and yet powerful ideas to help you, your members and your community access God’s power.  Remember Satan rejoices when we fail to pray… but TREMBLES when we do.  Hear inspiring stories of God’s response to prayer and leave with next steps to ignite a heart for prayer in your church. Don’t leave the conference without this powerful tool that impacts all other areas.  Bill Atkinson

  • Small Church Operations

    Intended for staff and lay individuals with church administrative responsibilities including finance and facilities.  Learn how ministry can thrive even with small budgets and limited resources.  Nuts and bolts of maximizing God’s resources for Kingdom work. Carol Musselman, Charlotte Nesta

  • 10 Minutes To Go

    The service has run over again, you're less prepared than you want to be, or you don't have the supplies you needed - you need a quick plan to engage kids in the message and you need it fast.  We'll equip you with a ton of ideas, games, and ready-to-use ideas that will stretch your service plan 10 minutes longer, you just need to prepare a few things now to be ready then. Bryce Du Mont 

  • Nursery Basics

    Policies, procedures, and purpose are part of every nursery, regardless of size.  Our nurseries are much more than babysitting, and we believe that children need to hear the message of Jesus of Christ even before they can talk.  See how we have created programs, integrated paid staff and volunteers, expanded our ministry to offer childcare for events and adult small groups.  Discover how we invest in the lives of children, parents, and volunteers through our ministry.  Take away tools that are easy to duplicate, and resources that can be implemented into your birth through age three ministry. Marcia Navas

  • Adapting From Big to Little

    At Van Dyke Church our attendance varies between services.  We've learned to adapt programming for big groups and little groups, facilitate curriculum when we have ten kids or a few hundred, and we've learned to create events that work with a handful of volunteers or a complete abundance of help. The key is planning perspective.  We'll help you transform your perspective and help you embrace the ministry adaptation you face regardless of the size of your church.  Vickie Partridge

  • Elevating Your Children’s Ministry

    Come learn how Fellowship Church uses their Creative Children's Curriculum around the world and in their multiple campuses to take their Children’s Ministry to the next level! Learn how key principles, like excellence and interactive ideas, can take your Children's Ministry to new heights! Ryan and Alisha McMackin

  • Energized and Inspired

    Ever feel like you need a little boost in your spiritual life?  Ever feel like you could take a few minutes and reflect on just the good things going on in your ministry?  Let go of the stress, let go of the needs of others, take your shoes off, relax for a few minutes and find yourself encouraged in this workshop.  Discover ways to re-center your focus on God while remaining deep in the midst of caring for others, leading teams, planning events, and being pulled in a million directions.  God's got great things ahead in kingdom work, and you need to be equipped to invest in others day after day. Plan to go back to your church energized and encouraged.  Julie Giles

  • Welcome Ministry: The Message Before the Message

    How do you create an experience so people are open to the message and compelled to return to your church?  Come learn how Van Dyke creates that welcoming experience.  We will provide you with details about each team that makes up our Guest Services Ministry and how to recruit and train these volunteers. You’ll discover how this ministry is about simple things you can do with little or no budget, but will make a big difference in people’s lives and your church.  Karen Peel

  • Q & A with Ken Davis

    Come and get answers on communicating effectively! Ken Davis

  • Large Group/Small Group Model Bible Study

    Life-changing small groups can be an integral part of a large group Bible study.  Hear how Van Dyke draws adults to Bible study and gives them a small group experience at the same time.  Lynne Fukutani, Jenny Gemmill, David Gonzalez


  • Creating the Experience

    How does a worship service go from conception to experience?  We want to answer this question for you. Sit with Van Dyke Church's programming staff and get the answers to your questions.  Corey Schob, Zac Collins, Brad Iturriaga

  • Irreducible Minimums

    Together, we will identify what matters most and how to make these things happen often.  With fresh perspective and seasoned experience, we will assist you in reducing all we do in our ministries to what’s most important.  We will create a filter of irreducible minimums to work with that make ministry most effective.  Michelle Weger, Sherrie Leatherwood

  • How to Build a Student Band

    We will talk about the processes involved with building a healthy and vibrant student band.  You’ll also learn how to institute both music theory and spiritual application for the students.  Chris Stephen

  • Creating Excellent Short Term Mission Teams

    Learn how to develop an Acts: 1:8 strategy for Missions.  You will discover the benefits and characteristics of sending out successful short term mission teams.  Patti Nemazie

  • Ministering to Incarcerated Youth

    Your church can do this!  We will explain and describe the mission of Jesus for Juveniles, while outlining details of each program implemented in the juvenile residential facilities across Florida. You will hear powerful stories of youth that have come to Christ because of the number of volunteers that have committed to go into these facilities and offer hope through the love of Jesus Christ. We’ll help identify which area of service a church might be interested in exploring and participating with JFJ.  Ginny Coffey, Cindy Lane

  • Leadership Basics

    You will learn the art of finding and keeping great leaders in your church.  Come discover simple, proven techniques and systems to expand your ministry.  Todd Leet

  • Leading Small and Medium Sized Vital Churches

    Pastor Shari and Pastor Arlene serve at two very different types of churches: one small and urban, one medium-sized and more country.  They will share transferrable principles they have learned about leading vital congregations (churches that make disciples of Jesus Christ), and tell how these same principles play out in their very different contexts.  You will have the opportunity to ask lots of questions and share your own insights. Arlene Jackson, Shari Lacey

  • Expand Your Reach Into the Community Through Health Ministry Volunteers

    Learn about the various models for health ministry teams and the process of developing one in your faith community.  Identify available resources to assist your team development and impact your community. Discover Parish Nursing and the professional assistance they may provide on the Health Ministry Team.  Explore health promotion/ disease prevention activities that address physical, emotional, and spiritual factors.  Judie Shahbazian

  • Presenting the Gospel

    Learn how to give an effective invitation for people to surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Help your church develop a heart for lost people.  Inspire and equip your people to invest in friends, neighbors, and co-workers and invite them to church.  Create a system for follow-up with new believers that will encourage them to experience baptism and growth in Christ.  Matthew Hartsfield

  • Local Church Support Systems

    We will share information on many of the support systems that the church can use today to increase their effectiveness of ministry.  Some systems will deal with membership records, growing/tracking groups, donations, church wide emails, accounting, and credit cards.  Come learn and share about systems that God is using to equip volunteers and staff to change our world.  Bill Atkinson, Carol Mussleman

  • Change!

    You either love it or you hate it!  The technology world around you is changing at the speed of light!  Smart Phones, iPads, Twitter and Instagram are just the start, and many of us are still trying to figure out the buttons on our remote controls.  Regardless of your level of tech savvy, adaptation is necessary in your personal life as well as your ministry. This workshop will challenge you to embrace change and discover why it's vital as we minister to the next generation.  (Note:  This is not a technical workshop, although Smart Phones are welcomed!)  Julie Giles

  • Connecting with Kids

    Jesus was all about relationships!  At this workshop we will uncover the basics of building relationships with children and youth in a church setting.  Get helpful tools for nurturing these relationships and making connections between church and home.  Heather Evans, Jena Curnoles

  • Accessorizing Your Nursery Ministry

    This workshop is for those who have the basics under their belt but want to add a little flair to their birth-3 year old ministry.  Discover next steps that will make your nursery or childcare ministry have those extra special touches that will make a difference in the lives of the parents, volunteers, and children you influence.  Marcia Navas

  • Make your Bible Stories Come to Life

    The object lesson is the most interesting part of your lesson each weekend, right?  Ever noticed that kids seem engaged when you're playing games?  How can you get those same ears to perk up when you're talking about the Bible lesson?  Here are 5 easy tools that will help your Preschool Ministry to become more dynamic and help kids fall in love with the Bible.  Vickie Partridge

  • 10 Things You Can Do This Sunday to Improve Your Kids Church

    It's not rocket science, it's Children's Ministry...Right!?  Sometimes the simplest things will make a difference and you can have a new ministry by Sunday.  Come find out 10 simple things that will make a difference. Bryce Du Mont

  • From the Door to the Core

    Come learn the strategies and processes Van Dyke use to engage individuals into the life of the church.  We will share how we implement connections, follow up, and the steps necessary for newcomers to connect and move to being a committed member.  You will receive the tools necessary so your church can put together a powerful connection process that will engage and empower people to become fully devoted followers of Jesus.  Karen Peel

  • Ministering to Moms

    Moms of all ages and stages need other moms to learn from, to laugh with, and to grow with.  Help your moms find one another through a weekly program designed to get moms talking to one another.  Lynne Fukutani, Sheri Wilson


  • Little Budget… Big Results!

    The idea of architecting engaging worship services on a shoestring budget can quickly send someone heading for the hills! But if God created the entire universe and we are created in his image, then creative thinking is our birthright. Church planter and seasoned veteran alike, come and learn about some unique resources and approaches that will help you get the most out of every dollar you have… or don't have!  Michelle Weger

  • Worship Rehearsal: LIVE!

    Get a firsthand look at a live worship rehearsal. You will have the opportunity to see how the worship team runs a rehearsal and experience every step of the process firsthand. The coolest part is, this will be an open forum for any questions you may have for the team as they rehearse the music for one of the general sessions.  Brad Iturriaga, Adam Klingman, Mick Allison

  • Front End Video/IMAG

    Quality video is all about the quality of the content. Gear can change, but the fundamentals do not. Learn concepts based around lighting, audio, and video techniques that will improve your video ministry. Concepts will include lighting for video, audio for video, video shooting fundamentals, and IMAG (Image Magnification in worship services) fundamentals.  Shawn Teague, Fowler Media

  • Connecting Millennials to the Church

    This breakout is for churches that want to engage with the next generation of adults.  Learn how to make church compelling for people 18-30.  Discuss the importance of relationships over programming and authenticity over style.  David Wildes

  • Using 12 Steps as a Discipleship Tool

    We all have an "it" - the thing that keeps us apart from God, and keeps us lacking the complete depth of relationship with Jesus that He would like for us, and that we need.  The 12 Steps (originally from Alcoholics Anonymous) are a Biblically based tool that can be a basis for healing people with a variety of issues in your church setting and bringing people into closer relationship with Jesus!  The 12 Steps are not just for alcoholics!  Greg Mulkey

  • Building Open and Positive Communication Between School and Families

    In this presentation, participants will be able to understand positive and effective communications with families.  Topics covered will include written communication, resolving challenges to home-school communication, guidelines for successful parent conferences and the importance of building family and community relationships.  Handouts with tips and strategies for written, oral, and technological communication will be provided.  Liliana Rogers

  • The Creative Church

    Church communications, whether physical or digital, is a tricky object to tackle.  Your visual brand as a church communicates a particular message to your community.  We are going to go all in and discuss basics of quality design for print and web, social media design and strategy, building a communication team, and developing and implementing communication strategies.  Zac Collins

  • Bishop Q & A

    Bishop Carter oversees more than 650 churches and 900 clergy in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church.  During this time, you will be invited to ask Bishop Carter questions about the local church and the United Methodist Church.  Kenneth Carter

  • Supporting your Community through Specific Support Groups

    Suncoast Kids Place, Center for Grieving Children, Teens and their Families specializes in providing support to 3-18 year olds that have experienced the death of a significant person in their lives and invite them to participate in groups to find hope and healing.  This workshop will help you to develop an action plan for what type of support is needed in your community and assist you with the planning and implementation of any type of support group.  After this session you will be able to identify what support groups are needed in your community, you will be able to develop a plan to engage those that are struggling in your congregation, and you will begin to create a vision for volunteers that are needed for these groups.  Deborah Brooks, Daniel Partridge, Kim Pacheco

  • Prayer

    Powerful-Refreshing-Transforming…the one ingredient required to release God’s Power!  Come learn simple and yet powerful ideas to help you, your members and your community access God’s power.  Remember Satan rejoices when we fail to pray… but TREMBLES when we do.  Hear inspiring stories of God’s response to prayer and leave with next steps to ignite a heart for prayer in your church. Don’t leave the conference without this powerful tool that impacts all other areas.  Bill Atkinson

  • Seeing Administration as Ministry

    Church administration, finance and facilities are a vital part of ministry within the local church.  Learn how church administration plays an important roll in life change and kingdom advancement. Join administrative staff from Grace Church to see how they use the talents and gifts for ministry.  Carol Musselman

  • Creating Friendly Classrooms

    A friendly and welcoming atmosphere is essential for any vibrant ministry to children—but it’s difficult on a consistent basis. In this workshop you’ll learn how to facilitate healthy friendships among children and how to train your kids to help everyone feel welcome.  Patty Smith

  • Five Things Every Leader Has to Get Right

    In this workshop Jim shares 5 common mistakes most ministry leaders make. You’ll receive practical steps to be effective and cause your ministry to thrive from his book “The Eric Trap.”  Jim Wideman

  • Special Needs Ministry

    We will create manipulatives that you can take back to your church and use immediately with your special kids.  Learn how to use pictures to communicate with non-verbal participants.  Experience how to adapt a Sunday School lesson for adaptive learning.  Learn to teach the Bible to individuals with low motor skills. Take away a wealth of knowledge and materials that will help you reach out to children and families with special needs.  Janet Atkinson, Gloria Harmon

  • Creating an Engaging Children's Environment

    Decorations and set design are more than just fun; they are key elements in capturing a child's imagination for Christ!  Come learn some of the 'nuts and bolts' of creating a children's learning environment (gaff tape solves everything), and learn some hands-on tips for building something for your Children’s Ministry.  Ryan and Alisha McMackin

  • Relational Evangelism

    This workshop will help regular church goers to boldly share their faith in winsome, genuine ways.  Participants will learn the biblical basis for relational faith-sharing.  Learn how to tell their story and train others to do the same.  Discover proven tools that increase confidence for starting conversations and win people to Jesus.  Patti Nemazie


  • Choir Relevance in a Changing World

    Lead your choir to be leaders vocally, visually and spiritually!  This workshop is for both traditional and praise Choir Directors and members.   Denise Helbig

  • Lighting for Worship 201

    This workshop takes you beyond the lighting fixtures and basic mechanics in order to explore the creative dimensions of light, as a means of defining space and creating a dynamic worship atmosphere.  In this course we will discuss steps needed to move to the next level and demonstrate how to incorporate lighting changes into your worship service.  Larry Brown

  • You Know My Name?

    With every name comes a story.  Making time to hear their stories, matters most. The value you and I place on this very concept determines the depth of our ministries. Discover how to place this as high priority no matter what the size of your student ministry.  Sherrie Leatherwood

  • Navigating the Minefield: Small Group Culture and Discipleship

    One of the things that everyone agrees on in Student Ministry is that small groups are essential. One thing hardly anyone can agree on is how they should look, feel, operate and be organized. We certainly are not "the experts" but we are going to take this session to lean into some best practices that we've encountered and investigate how we as Student Ministers can learn from some missteps of others.  Corey Wolloff

  • Growing Leaders through Recovery Ministries

    See how a recovery ministry in your church can birth new ministries or small groups. Once someone experiences healing and freedom from financial disaster, a backsliding marriage or even divorce, loss of a loved one, addictions or codependency, they feel like they have received a new lease on life. They then develop a passion to share it with others. See how they turn their mess into a message.  Greg Mulkey

  • Marketing: Sharing Your Church’s Awesomeness

    Discover where to invest your marketing dollars to get the most out of them.  We will talk about everything from social media to mailings to billboards and more.  Rob Rose

  • Leadership Discoveries and Pastor Q & A

    Join in an open dialogue and bring your ministry questions on any topic. Dive into this interactive time of learning and motivation. Matthew Hartsfield, Jorge Acevedo

  • Becoming a Caring Congregation

    Caring for each other is everyone’s ministry!   Come and hear about a model for congregational care that will spread the ministry of Care from your Pastor’s office through to the congregation.  You will learn how to assess and evaluate your church’s current care ministries and explore what elements of this model will fit your situation.  Gail Greene, Cathy Hart

  • This Ain't Your Grandma's Flannelgraph: Creative Communication Anybody Can Do

    All too often, sermons, Sunday School lessons, and Bible studies only make use of auditory forms of communication. Many people, however, learn new information best through visual, kinesthetic, or multi-sensory teaching styles. Research has proven this true for all age groups, but it has become a must for communicating effectively with younger generations born in a digital world. Learn how easy it is to incorporate props, visuals, and other creative experiences to help your teaching change lives.  Kevin Griffin

  • Raising the Abilities of Those You Lead

    Jim shares from the story of Jethro and Moses. Learn how to raise the leadership abilities of those who help you and move those who want to go from a captain of ten to a captain of thousand.  Jim Wideman

  • Charge! Putting Real Ideas into Practice

    Teams come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, and leading a team of staff and/or volunteers in Children's Ministry is no exception.  Even different teams that have the same tasks at hand may operate differently.  And what if your team isn't following so closely behind you?  As a leader, sometimes steering the ship in the right direction can be difficult, even if you know exactly where you're going.  Discover some tools that I've learned along the way that have made ship navigation a little easier.  Julie Giles

  • VBS as an Outreach

    Vacation Bible School is the perfect opportunity to reach a multitude of families in a fun, exciting, and inviting way!  See how it’s done at Grace Church and how you too can use this ministry as a way to introduce families to Jesus and His Kingdom. Heather Evans, Stacy Knight

  • Special Needs Events

    Boat outings, Fall Festivals, Movie Afternoons, Sporting Events, & More.  Van Dyke Church offers monthly opportunities for Special Needs kids to get involved in fun activities.  Here's how that's changed the way we do ministry, and can influence your church too.  Gloria Harmon, Janet Atkinson

  • Help! I’ve Got Preteens in My Kid’s Ministry

    Just when you thought you had kids figured out, they become preteens…tweens…upper-elementary-age kids! In this workshop, you’ll explore what’s going on in preteens’ changing minds and bodies—and how to help them grow spiritually. You’ll walk away with ideas that are relevant and life-changing for this great group of world-changers.  Patty Smith

  • Create a Membership Class that Transforms the Member and Church

    Do you want members that are growing, serving, tithing, and committed disciples?  Come discover how to create a powerful class that engages, empowers, and excites people about becoming fully devoted followers of Jesus in your church.  You will learn the tools and activities we use in our class that has transformed our church.  Karen Peel

  • Invitation-Friendly Events

    Learn how Van Dyke provides entry-level events designed to attract adults from both inside and outside the church. Hear from leaders of different ministry areas on the events they have through out the year.  Lynne Fukutani, Jenny Gemmill, David Gonzalez, Gayle Collins

Quick Access:

Featured Speakers


FOUNDING PASTOR   |   Willow Creek Community Church

Bill Hybels is the founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, and the chairman of the board for Willow Creek Association. He convened The Global Leadership Summit in 1995, following a God-given prompting to help develop the spiritual gift of leadership for the local church.
Both visionary and passionate about seeing every local church reach its full God-given potential, Bill speaks around the world on issues related to leadership, evangelism, and church growth. He is a best-selling author of more than 20 books, including The Power of a Whisper.


LEAD PASTOR   |   Van Dyke Church

Matthew Hartsfield is Lead Pastor of Van Dyke Church, a United Methodist Congregation in Tampa Bay. Van Dyke Church has been recognized as the most vital large church in the Florida Methodist Conference over the past five years. Matthew loves other churches and church leaders and is dedicated to encouraging and equipping other churches of all types to experience greater impact in their communities. Matthew is the author of "Shouting At Jesus: Unleash An Impolite Faith."



Ken Davis is a best-selling author, a frequent radio and television guest and a very funny guy. Ken is one of the most sought after inspirational and motivational speakers in the country. He is a master story teller who serves up life changing truth in a feast of laughter and poignant wisdom. Ken’s mixture of side-splitting humor and inspiration delights enriches audiences of all ages. His books have received national critical acclaim, including the “Book of the Year” award and the Gold Medallion Award.


LEAD PASTOR   |   Grace Church Cape Coral

Jorge Acevedo is Lead Pastor at Grace Church, a multi-site, United Methodist congregation in Southwest Florida with four sites. Grace Church is recognized for its innovation in evangelism, recovery, compassion and multi-site ministries. Jorge is the author of Vital: Churches Changing Communities and the World (Abingdon Press, 2013).

Guest Presenters

Craig Robertson

Craig is Founding member and Development Partner of Spiritual Leadership, Inc., Craig’s business experience includes founding and serving as President of Lightpath, Inc., an engineering systems integration firm. This company was purchased by one time fortune 500 company Ogden, Inc. an environmental engineering firm where Craig became National Technical Director. He was then hired by Ogeta Services a Geographic Information Services firm to serve as the Chairman of the Board and CEO. Craig has served in many roles within the church including lay leader, District lay leader, Director of New Church Development and Delegate to General and Jurisdictional Conference. Craig has now been serving within SLI since 2000. Craig is married to Jill and they have two children Amy and Jacob.

Bishop Kenneth Carter

In July 2012, Ken Carter was elected to the episcopacy of the United Methodist Church, consecrated as a Bishop and assigned to the Florida Conference. A native of Georgia, Bishop Carter is a graduate of Columbus College (B.S.), Duke University Divinity School (M.Div.), the University of Virginia (M.A.) and Princeton Theological Seminary (D.Min.). He was ordained a deacon in the Western North Carolina Conference in 1983 and an elder in 1986. Immediately prior to his election as a Bishop he was the Superintendent of the Smoky Mountain District of the Western North Carolina Conference. In the Western North Carolina Conference, the bishop chaired the Board of Ordained Ministry and the Committee on the Episcopacy. In the denomination, he has served on the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the Committee on Faith and Order, the Ministry Study Commission, the University Senate, and the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry.
He currently chairs the United Methodist Church Holistic Strategy for Latin America and the Caribbean and the Task Force on Human Rights and Investment. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Bethune-Cookman University, Florida Southern College, the Russia United Methodist Theological Seminary in Moscow and the Board of Visitors of Duke Divinity School. Bishop Carter is the author of eight books, most recently Pray for Me: The Power in Praying for Others. His books reflect on topics related to practical ministry: stewardship, spiritual gifts, baptism, the Wesleyan means of grace, and intercession. The Bishop is married to Pam and they have two adult daughters, Liz and Abby.

Rev. Cathy Hart

Rev. Cathy Hart is the Executive Minister at Palm Harbor United Methodist Church. She is a Deacon and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Her main responsibilities at PHUMC include counseling, congregational care, and missions. She developed the Stephen Ministry program 6 years ago, and adapted it to be a more comprehensive care model over the past two years. Cathy is a Florida native, born and raised in Clearwater, FL. She received her BA in Music Education from the University of Florida, her MA in Marriage and Family Therapy from Regions University, and attended Asbury Theological Seminary. She has been married 27 years to her husband, Bill and they have one son, David.

Jim Wideman

Jim is considered as an innovator, a pioneer and one of the fathers of the modern children ministry movement. He is a speaker, teacher, author, leadership coach, and ministry consultant with over 37 years of hands on experience in the local church. Jim has trained hundreds of thousands of children’s and student ministry leaders from all denominations and sizes of congregations around the world. In the 80’s The INCM awarded him with their “Ministry of Excellence Award”, in the 90’s Children’s Ministry Magazine name him one of the 10 Pioneers of the Decade, In 2010 “Children’s Ministry Magazine once again named him one of the “20 Top Influencers in Children’s Ministry, and in 2012 the INCM presented him with their first ever “Legacy Award” for his lifetime achievement in Children’s Ministry. Jim currently serves as the Executive Pastor of Northstar Church in Pryor, OK. Jim and his amazing wife Julie, have two successful daughters, and the cutest grandson ever born!

Ryan & Alisha McMakin

Ryan and his wife, Alisha, are both on staff in the Elevate curriculum and the FC Kids ministry of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas. They have one cocker spaniel named Donut, and thousands of children (but only on the weekends). Ryan’s focus is the music of Elevate children's curriculum while Alisha focuses on people, preschool, and puppets.

Patty Smith

Patty Smith is the “unconventional” church lady who inspires and motivates people to think and act differently to reach all the generations for Christ. Currently she serves as Director of Children and Family Ministries in the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church equipping kid’s ministries in over 400 churches. Prior to this role, she developed Children’s Ministry Resources at Group Publishing. Patty is a mother of 3 unique boys, Zack (23), Connor (13) and Patch (1). She loves to run, read, and order takeout.


2014 General Sessions

  • Session 1
  • Session 2
  • Session 3
  • Session 4

Quick Access:


Registration is Now Closed | Walk-ins are welcome!

Be a part of the FUN this year at Real Ideas and answer the questions below!

Quick Access:

What YOU Need To Know!

Van Dyke Church
17030 Lakeshore Rd.
Lutz, Florida 33558

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There are two airports serving the Tampa Bay area:

Tampa International Airport
5503 West Spruce Street
Tampa, Florida 33607

St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport
14700 Terminal Boulevard, Suite 221
Clearwater, Florida 33762



Residence Inn

2101 Northpointe Parkway / Lutz, FL 33558 / 813.792.8400 / 10 min. / 6 miles

Van Dyke has a special rate with the Residence Inn Northpointe. Breakfast buffet. ROOMS: Spacious suite combines comfort and functionality, including high-speed Internet access. Fully equipped kitchen w/ refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, microwave & coffee maker. 32" high definition flat panel LCD TV's in every suite. You may call them direct at the number above and tell them you are requesting the Real Ideas Conference rate.  The rate is $119.00

Comfort Suites - Veterans Expwy/Waters Ave.

5421 West Waters Ave.  /  Tampa, FL 33634  /  813.880.8938 / 15 min. / 8 miles

They have free Wi-Fi, hot breakfast, free local calls, free airport shuttle, plus a microwave and refrigerator in room.  Real Ideas Conference room rate is $99.00.

Holiday Inn Express Suites – Veterans

9402 Corporate Lake Dr.   /  Tampa, FL 33634   /  813.885.5896    /  14 min.  /   6 miles

Free Wi-Fi access and buffet breakfast.

Hampton Inn Tampa – Veterans Expwy/Waters Ave

5628 West Waters Ave.   /   Tampa, FL 33634   /  813.901.5900   /  15 min.   /   7 miles

They have Free Wi-Fi and hot breakfast.

Country Inn & Suites, Tampa Airport North

8109 Benjamin Rd.  / Tampa FL 33634  / 800.830.5222 Toll-free   /  813.881.1800 / 15 min. / 8 miles

They have free Wi-Fi, hot breakfast, free local calls, free airport shuttle, plus a microwave and refrigerator in room.  

DoubleTree Suites by Hilton

3050 N. Rocky Point Dr. West  / Tampa, FL 33607    / 813.888.8800  / 25 min. / 16 miles

They have spacious suites with internet access, mini refrigerator, microwave, and more.  Ask for the Van Dyke rate.



Who should I bring to the conference?

Staff, leaders, and volunteers!  New ideas and practices are implemented much easier and quicker in your church if you bring a large team. 

Can I attend the conference for just one day?

We encourage you to attend the entire event.  There are no reduced registration rates for partial attendance.

I can no longer attend the conference. What are my options

Option #1: Registrations may be transferred from person to person within your group or organization at no charge. 

Option #2: You may cancel your registration and receive a partial refund until March 6.  Please email  with your name, church and the reason for cancelling your registration.

What is your cancellation policy?

We would be disappointed if you need to cancel, but understand that conflicts sometimes arise that are unavoidable.  Please email  with your name, church and the reason for cancelling your registration.  A full refund less $40.00/person will be issued if cancellation is made prior to March 6.  After March 6, we will be unable to provide a refund.  Exceptions are medical emergency for participant, death in the family, or pastoral participation in a funeral, in which case the participant’s registration fee will be transferred to the Real Ideas 2014 or you may transfer registration to another person from your church.

Can I change my workshops selections?

We will do our best to accommodate workshop changes requested prior to March 10.  After this date, you must make workshop changes on site.  Please email  with the change you would like to make.  Some workshops will fill up and may not be available.

Do you offer childcare during the conference?

We are not able to provide childcare for the conference.  Children, will not be allowed to attend any part of the conference.

What is the dress?

The conference dress is casual.  You might want to bring a light jacket or sweater. The weather should be beautiful in March, averaging mid 70s during the day and mid 50s at night.  Our workshop rooms and sanctuary are kept cool.

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