Children, Adults #SayYesToJesus at Leadership Training

September 27, 2018 | Heidi Baumgartner

Eleven-year-old Angie came with her mother to the first ever Washington Conference Children’s Ministry Leadership Retreat. Her task was to be one of the retreat helpers.

Angie is shy. Yet she faithfully helped in the background, watched the puppet shows, went with fellow helpers to a session on helping children learn how to pray and slowly emerged from her shy shell.

By the end of the weekend, Angie was transformed to #SayYesToJesus. She was often the first to volunteer for the next task or errand and frequently asked, “What else can I do?”

While the leadership retreat was primarily aimed at training adults, it also became a time for training young people.

“We ended up capturing the attention of adults and children,” says Abby Pozo, Washington Conference children’s ministry coordinator. “It was an all-around blessing!”

An Idea Is Born

Pozo first came to Washington Conference nine years ago and began coaching churches in children’s ministry and evangelism. She guided Vacation Bible School and eXperience curriculum selection, helped children’s Sabbath School leaders individually with ideas and solutions, and attended or hosted ministry training sessions.

She was excited when the North American Division rolled out an eight-part certification program for children’s ministry leaders.

But Pozo felt like God was impressing her to do something more: to host a leadership retreat weekend.

That long-term dream almost didn’t happen after Pozo’s pastor-husband recently accepted a new district in another conference. Pozo wanted to fulfill the dream God had given her and arranged to stay for a few more months in Washington to host the much prayed for leadership retreat.

Finally, the weekend in late August arrived. Eighty-five guests, volunteers and presenters convened on the campus of Sunset Lake Camp in Wilkeson, Wash. The retreat featured Sabbath School demonstrations, certification classes in English and Spanish (on stewardship, children’s evangelism, health, prayer, witnessing and more), and keynote presentations from children’s ministry experts.

“It was a wonderful revival and great for new ideas,” wrote one participant.

Another attendee added, “We all can learn more and get inspired when we come together and collaborate. I would like to see more frequent gatherings.”

Still another attendee shared, “I appreciated connecting with others who care about children’s ministry as much as I do.”

“This retreat is truly a dream come true,” Pozo says. “We learned together how to be more fruitful in investing in the faith-development of our children.”