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Key Leadership Training 2022

Every other year CBA sponsors a regional event designed to help you train leaders for ministry teams in your church. (This year we’re honored to be partnering with GBMB’s annual Spark Conference). Special attention is always given to the basics of small group/Sunday School ministry at each age level. But breakout sessions are also provided for just about every type of ministry our churches pursue.  

This year’s conference is on August 29th at Christ Place Church. Please click the button below to access individual or group registration.

View our brochure for more details by clicking the button below or keep scrolling for a list of all available breakout sessions.

Key Leadership/Spark 2022 KEYNOTE ADDRESS

“Collaborative Leadership”
Jimmy Scroggins

Description: Our culture is fascinated with individual rights and accomplishments. Even as believers in Jesus we can default to the “Moses model” of leadership, but Jesus calls us to collaborative leadership. The Apostle Paul says it this way, “For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building” (1 Cor. 3:9). Let’s talk about how we can co-labor to build our neighborhood churches, advance the gospel, and transform our communities.

More About Jimmy: Jimmy is the Lead Pastor of Family Church in S. Florida, where he has served since 2008.  He and his wife Kristin have 8 children & 2 grandchildren.  Under Jimmy’s leadership, Family Church has grown to a network of neighborhood churches across 3 counties & in 4 languages.  They are passionate about building families… while carrying out their vision of taking the Gospel to every person, in every family & neighborhood of S. Florida. 

Key Leadership/Spark 2022 Breakout Descriptions

“Leading Change: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly”
Jeff Crook

Description: The wise leader understands there’s a price involved in leading a church closer to God’s ideal.  Learn how to count the cost, avoid the pitfalls, weather the process of change, and invite others to journey with you into God’s future.

More About Jeff: Jeff and his wife Becky live in Buford, GA with their two children, Macie and Josiah. He became the Lead Pastor of Christ Place Church in Nov. 2003. Since then, Christ Place has celebrated more than 3,000 baptisms, and God has blessed by adding over 4,000 new members. Jeff is a graduate of the Baptist College of Florida and NOBTS. 

“Finding an Oasis in Ministry”
(Pastor/Staff Wives)
Kristin Scroggins & Jennifer Sutton

Description: Ministry can be a lonely place for wives.  Connect with fellow travellers who understand both the joys and burdens of serving God’s people.  And learn approaches to keep your soul and marriage healthy as you keep saying “yes” to God’s call.

More About Kristin: Kristin Scroggins is a gifted Bible teacher and speaker. She is a frequent mentor to young moms. She has a passion to help women in ministry (especially wives of pastors) thrive in their marriages and their parenting. Kristin can be heard on The Mom Village podcast at

More About Jennifer: Jennifer Sutton has been encouraging ladies in their spiritual walks through teaching, speaking and leading for many years.  She particularly loves pouring into the lives of pastor/staff wives.  Jennifer has been married to Pastor Grady Sutton for 25 yrs and they have 6 beautiful children.

“Ministering to the Smartphone Generation”
Jamie Willis & Chris Hargrove

Description: How do we help our students wisely navigate today’s digital world? How do we equip our parents to stay involved in the digital lives of their teenagers? How do we create some healthy boundaries with technology in our ministries? In this seminar, we’ll address these questions and talk about how to leverage the benefits of technology while avoiding some of the pitfalls. Whether you lead teenagers at church or in your home, this breakout will give you the tools you need to help teenagers make wise choices as they navigate today’s digital world.

More About Jamie: Jamie Willis is the Next Generation Pastor at Lakewood Baptist Church in Gainesville, GA where he leads a staff team that oversees ministries from birth through high school graduation. He has served in ministry for over 25 years and is passionate about investing in kids, students, leaders and parents so that the next generation would live for God, love the church and lead others to Christ. He is married to his gorgeous wife Joy and they have 3 beautiful daughters. In his spare time, he likes to eat ice cream, drink coffee and dominate teenagers in ping-pong! You can connect with Jamie @jwillis356.

More About Chris: Chris Hargrove has been in youth ministry for over ten years and has a huge passion for seeing students grow in their relationship with Christ and connecting with other youth workers. He serves as the Middle School Pastor and leads the student ministry team at Lakewood Baptist Church in Gainesville, GA, and thinks middle schoolers are some of the coolest people in the world! Chris is married to his awesome wife, Carrie, and the proud dad of two beautiful daughters. He works hard to quote The Office at some point in conversation every day and absolutely destroy people in Ping Pong. You can connect with Chris on Instagram and Twitter at @HargroveChris.

“Working From Rest”
Nathan Raynor

Description: Jesus says, “Come unto Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  (Mt. 11: 28)  Yet every leader struggles with the challenge of “too much to do”… sometimes to the point of burnout.  Learn how to develop a leadership culture that doesn’t burn people out.  Even more, learn practical applications for what a “Sabbath” can look like in your own life.

More About Nathan: Nathan has served as an Elder & the Preaching/Teaching Pastor of Christ Family Church (Murrayville, Ga.) for the past 13 years.  He & his wife Samantha recently celebrated 16 years of marriage.  God has blessed them with 3 wonderful sons:  Caedmon, Judah, & Silas.

“Building a Pipeline of
Future Leaders”
Rick Hermann & Ben Garrison

Description: One of the most challenging areas of ministry is finding, developing, and keeping great next generation leaders.  In this breakout, you’ll learn some mistakes to avoid…and also some lessons that will put you on a path to growing the leaders who will open doors for the future.

More About Rick: Rick Hermann has served on the staff of Christ Place Church for 12 years.  He currently provides leadership to the development of new campuses, missions ministry, the residency program & leadership pipeline. 

More About Ben: Ben Garrison is currently serving as campus pastor at Christ Place North.  Having personally experienced the development process at Christ Place, he is now building/nurturing the team to lead that ministry. 

“What a Teenager Needs from a Youth Worker”
Chris Trent

Description: If you’re a volunteer that works with teenagers, this breakout is for you! We’ll take a look at current trends among teenagers and think through what teenagers really need from the adults in their lives.

More About Chris: Chris serves at the Next Gen Catalyst at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board. Having recently wrapped up almost 17 years as the Middle School and Student Pastor at Johnson Ferry Baptist in Marietta, Georgia, he has a passion for pointing teenagers to Jesus and investing in leaders who are impacting the next generation for Christ.  He lives in Marietta, GA with his wife, Wendy. They have two grown up kids, Dillon and Abby. As an “old guy” in youth ministry (now 30+ years), he is the author of Consider This: A Youth Minister’s Guide to Longevity

"Ride the Waves”

Description: “Ups and downs” can be a challenge to leaders.  But if you view them rightly, they can open up an opportunity.  Learn how to leverage the natural attendance bumps in your church year & get clarity to maximize Kingdom impact.

More About Levi: Levi currently serves as the lead strategist for the Church Strengthening team of the GBMB.  He graduated from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and earned his Doctor of Ministry degree in 2009 from Luther Rice Seminary. During his tenure as pastor of Concord BC in Clermont, Ga. (2010-2019), baptisms increased by 122%, Sunday School attendance by 115%, and four additional campuses were birthed. Levi is the author of the discipleship tools “Resolved”, “Spiritual Avalanche”, and “Marriage in the Red”. He and his wife, Christa, have four children: Garrison, Mattie, Gavin, and Marlee.

“Passing Faith to the Next Generation”
Rod Zwemke

Description: Raising faith-filled kids has always been a challenge.  Learn how God provided “handles” for the task from the very beginning… and how you can build on Old Testament foundations to encourage your kids in their faith.  

More About Rod: Rod has been pastor of Crossroads Church of Jackson County since its beginning in 2006.  During that time Crossroads has grown from a small core group to a church averaging just under 250 each week.  They’ve also given birth to Refuge Church in Pendergrass, Ga.  He & his wife Gabrien have been married 26 years, and are blessed with 3 children:  Addison, Dane, and Shea.  Rod recently published his first book:  How Else Will They Know?

“Reaching Women… Without Leaving Home”
Christa Skipper

Description: God has already given you what you need to reach out to the women around you.  This breakout will show you how you can use a simple tool – the Gather Box – to be on mission without ever leaving your home!

More About Christa: As a minister’s daughter and pastor’s wife, Christa is no stranger to ministry.  Most days her life includes teaching school, and running kids somewhere.  But whenever possible she loves to pursue her God-given ministry of equipping women to connect with their friends/neighbors… and lead them to Jesus.

“Every Woman.In Community.On Mission”
Lauren Sullens

Description: What would happen if all Georgia Baptist women were growing in God’s word, growing in unity, confident in sharing their faith, intimate with God through prayer and living on mission for Him each day?  Join us as we explore sharing “Hope In Christ” in our every day life.  

More About Lauren: Lauren is a pastor’s wife and homeschooling mom of five.  Called to ministry at 14 years old, she first served as a WMU Director at age 21.  She and her husband began vocational ministry as church planters in Eastern Kentucky, but have served Georgia churches most of their adult lives.  Her calling is to be a Titus 2 woman, looking to teach those younger and learn from those who are older.  Lauren is currently serving Georgia WMU President.

“Building a Great Team/Volunteer Culture”
Greg Worley

Description: Growing ministries thrive on an ever-increasing pool of leaders.  But not every church has developed a culture to make that possible.  Learn how you can build (and keep!) great ministry teams & create a flow of new leaders.

More About Greg: Greg has over 25 years of ministry experience in North Ga. churches. During that time, he’s served both bi-vocationally and in full-time roles.  He currently serves as Executive Pastor of Ministries at Chestnut Mountain Church in Flowery Branch, Ga., where his focus is on discovering, developing, and deploying the leaders that make ministry happen.

“Church Finances - Caring for God’s Ministry and God’s Servants”
Tony Neal

Description: While our “business” is spiritual, we can’t avoid the need to be faithful stewards of what God has entrusted to us.  Guarding the integrity of His church and caring well for His servants are both high on that list.  Learn how your church can make sure funds are safe, the confidence of members remains high, and your pastors are cared for.  

More About Tony: Tony serves as Executive Pastor at FBC in Blairsville, Ga.  Prior to his current role he served wi. 15 years with Church Financial Services at GBMB.  In that capacity he regularly trained churches across Georgia to help them remain above reproach.   As a Certified Public Accountant, he also consulted with pastors & ministry organizations on tax and financial matters.

“Helping Your ‘Under 250’ Church Thrive”
Karl Vaters

Description: 90% of the pastors in America serve a church under 250 in attendance.  Yet nearly all of the books, conferences, and resources produced to help pastors don’t really “fit” their context.  Come learn how to understand and lead effectively in the unique context of a “normal size” church.

More About Karl: Karl serves as teaching pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship, in Orange Co., California.  In addition, he is the author of 4 books and writes for “Helping Small Churches Thrive” on  His heart is to encourage pastors of small churches lead well.

“Planting Churches Bivocationally”
Stephen Partrick

Description: Bivocational church planting can provide a sustainable model for missional engagement, financial stability, and healthy leadership structures.  Learn how a bivocational approach can deliver excellent ministry, fuel a vision for multiplication, and lay a practical foundation for progress.

More About Stephen: Stephen Partrick is the Lead Pastor of The Branch Church in Dahlonega, Ga. (2021) and President of 27 Networks (2017).  Prior to his current roles he planted Trinity Church in Oak Cliff, Texas (2014).  He and Megan have three children and reside in Gainesville, Ga.

“Multiplying Your Church’s Impact”
(Panel Discussion)
Joe Payton, George Thomasson, & Seth Harvey

Description: Entrenched ways of thinking, poor reputation, cramped facilities, aging membership – all can leave a church at what feels like a “dead end.”  But God is never without a way forward.  Learn from 3 men who are leading churches into a new future via finding ways to launch a brand new growth curve. 

More About Joe, George, and Seth: Joe serves as Sr. Pastor at Riverbend Church; George serves as Multi-Site mobilizer at Christ Place; and Seth serves at Emmanuel Community Church in Gillsville.  All 3 men have personal experience pastoring a local church, and also finding a creative path to multiply their church’s impact via merger, “re-planting,” or launching a new campus. 

“Engage Your Church’s Audience with Social Media”
Madisen Mayfield

Description: Few pastors are experts in branding, websites, social media, or graphic design, yet all these have become increasingly important to reach today’s culture.  Learn how your church can take simple steps to engage the audience God has called you to reach, and be connected with resources to help your church take the next step with social media.

More About Madisen: Madisen has been serving churches and organizations for nearly 10 years.  She is the founder/owner of MK CRTV (, a creative agency specializing in equipping faith-based organizations for all things branding, communications, graphic design, and marketing. In addition to MK CRTV, Madisen is the author of Making Church Marketing Simple:  The 6 Questions Every Church Leader Needs to AnswerShe has a heart for the local church, and loves training people to help their churches reach the audience God has for them.

“Serving the Least of These…”
Alex Gailey

Description: Hundreds of kids in North Georgia can’t live with their birth families.  They constitute a huge need within our communities… and a huge opportunity for God’s Church.  Learn how you can help your church become part of a local network to bless a foster child, and open doors for the Gospel.

More About Alex: Alex is the lead pastor at Sola City church in Gainesville, GA. He is the husband to Jessy and father to Ezra, Elisha, and Elias. They have a heart to see healthy churches saturate the Gainesville area with the Gospel. 

“Building a Discipleship Culture” (Pt. 1 & 2)
Carlos Velez

Description: Creativity has taken Christianity from being relational to becoming a philosophy, an institution, a reformation, a conquest, and a business.  God is calling the Church back to relational discipleship.  Learn how to become a church that teaches, lives out, and multiplies.  

More About Carlos: Carlos Velez is the Founder and President of OikosUSA, an international organization that teaches leadership, discipleship, and finances. He is an author, pastor, and coach.  He’s also a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico, Haggai Institute of Leadership in Singapore, and has a degree in Organizational Leadership from Regent University in Virginia. 

"Great 1st Impressions"
Marlana Carpenter

Description: Great hospitality is Biblical… and it’s also the key to whether guests return. Learn how to instill a vision for ministry that starts before they step on campus, exceeds every expectation while they’re present, and brings them back again!

More About Marlana: Marlana loves connecting people to the mission and vision of the local church.  She currently leads the First Impressions and Communications ministry at Christ Place Church in Flowery Branch, Ga. She’s a graduate of the Baptist College of Florida and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv). She and her husband Matt are expecting a baby girl in December 2022! 

"The Structure of Worship"
Nicholas Costello

Description: Worship is primary for God’s people, and God loves every form of genuine worship.  This breakout will explore biblical principles that are foundational to developing our worship ministries, and how you can apply them regardless of church culture, style, size.

More About Nicholas: Nicholas serves as the Gather Team Pastor at Christ Place Church and provides leadership for Worship, Production and First Impressions ministries. He has devoted his life to developing leaders, and teaching principles of worship that equip Christ-followers to fully experience God, develop their gifts, and serve as part of something larger than individual accomplishment.  Nicholas and his wife Melissa, have two children, Kerrington and Landon. 

Jenny Kent

Description: Behavior management is always on a teacher’s mind. Discover why children display certain behaviors. We will learn some strategies for handling behavior issues so that everyone can have a positive experience.

Description: Today’s world is filled with things that capture our children’s attention.  How can we make learning on Sunday morning so exciting and interesting that children are drawn to Jesus.

More About Jenny: Jenny Kent has served as a Minister to children for 40 years. She has been a Georgia Baptist Sunday School equipper and a state VBS trainer. Recently retired, she and her husband Alvin reside in Loganville.

“The Superpower of ‘Babysitters’”

“Coaching Parents of Young Children’”

Miss Pattycake
(Jean Thomason)

Description: Think nursery is “child care?”   Think again!  Paul told Timothy, “From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures (2 Tim. 3: 15)   Real spiritual formation can begin with babies & toddlers.  Learn how your church can partner with moms & dads from the very first days of a child’s life.

Description:  In today’s climate parents need special encouragement, wisdom, and resources.  Explore biblical directives and creative ideas empowering parents as they guide and teach young children in the home.



More About Jean “Miss Pattycake”: As “Miss Pattycake,” Jean Thomason draws on many years of experience as a Bible teacher, worship leader, singer, songwriter, MOTHER, and early childhood minister.  Her ministry exists to share God’s BIG LOVE with little lives, and help parents, grandparents, teachers & caregivers teach God’s Word.

“5 Essentials for a Great Small Grp/SS Leader”
Scott Sullivan

Description: Learn five key characteristics of group leaders who excel every week at teaching and leading. This session is packed with practical content to help you take the next step in making disciple makers in a group setting.

More About Scott: Scott is married to the love of his life, Elizabeth. They have four children: Erika, Austin, Caleb, and Noah. Scott serves as the discipleship catalyst for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board and directs the SPARK Conference, which trains thousands worldwide. Scott is an author, think leader, national discipleship consultant, personal disciple maker, and speaker. He is passionate about Jesus, family, disciple making, and the outdoors.

“The Inspired Teacher” (Video)
Allan Taylor

Description: Teaching the Bible is a basic, core function of every New Testament church. It affects everything we do. Teaching affects the way we do evangelism, discipleship, ministry, worship, fellowship, prayer, service, relationships – everything. You can’t grow a groups ministry with ineffective teachers. We will consider why we teach, what we teach, how to prepare, how to teach, and how to connect.

More About Allan: Allan is the Executive Pastor of Ministries at First Baptist Concord in Knoxville, Tennessee. Previously, he served as the Director of Sunday School & Church Education Ministries at LifeWay Christian Resources and the Minister of Education at First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Georgia.

“Building a Culture of Discipleship”
PJ Dunn

Description: What really changes the culture of discipleship in a church? A program? A pastor? Curriculum? Only when we change the culture of discipleship at our church will we see our church make disciples.

More About PJ: Dr. PJ Dunn has a master’s degree in education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and a passion for discipleship. He has served in the local church for over 15 years before joining the Discipleship team at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board in 2020. He enjoys traveling the state with his family to find all the exciting things Georgia offers.

“Men’s Ministry that Changes the World”
Ken Adams

Description: The last thing you (or your church) need is another event to attend.  What if you could launch a ministry that actually changes men, who then change their families, their communities, and finally the world?  Come learn how to get started.

More About Kim: Ken is the pastor of Crossroads Church in Newnan, Georgia, and the director of Impact Ministries. He is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Ken is married to his wife, Val, and they have three grown children. Ken planted Crossroads Church in 1989 and founded Impact Ministries in 1999. Ken is passionate about seeing the church become a movement of multiplying disciples.

“SPICE: Blueprint for Building an Evangelistic Church”
Brad Marchman

Description: Every pastor wants to reach more lost people with the gospel. Every pastor wants to see their people actively participating in the in the task of evangelism. SPICE training is a tool that will help make this a reality for your church. SPICE stands for Strategic Plan for Intentional and Continuous Evangelism. The SPICE training will help you develop a plan not only to reach more lost people in your community, but also lead your people to be more gospel focused and mobilized to participate in the process. SPICE is a tool that will help you change the culture of your church and have your people looking to impact their community with the gospel.

More About Brad: Brad is the evangelism consultant for the central regions of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board. Brad’s entire ministry is marked by a passion for evangelism. He has served as the Evangelism Pastor at one of the leading baptism churches in Louisiana and spent close to 15 years leading a church in Georgia to have a passion to reach the lost. His favorite thing to do in ministry is to help pastors develop a plan for their church to have an outward focus. Brad has been married to Casey for 26 years, and they have three children: Brady (22), Griffin (20), and Mary Beth (19).

“Ages & Stages/Discipleship for Home & Church” (Video)
Landry Homes

Description: Today’s parents feel ill-equipped to spiritually train and educate their preschoolers and elementary-aged kids. Based on the principle that preschoolers and kids learn and comprehend concepts differently as they grow in maturity, we will look at how to provide an age-suitable discipleship approach at home and at church.

More About Landry: Landry is the Manager of Lifeway Kids Ongoing Bible Studies and Network Partnerships, Nashville, and is a graduate of Howard Payne University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of “It’s Worth It: Uncovering How One Week Can Transform Your Church,” co-author of “Every Age, Every Stage: Teaching God’s Truth at Church and Home,” and a general editor of the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids. Landry is a church leader, writer, workshop facilitator, and publisher. He teaches kids at his church in Middle Tennessee, where his wife Janetta is the Preschool Minister.

“Preaching the Bible in a Changing Culture” (Video)
Andy Blanks

Description: Our world has changed. The pandemic has reshaped every aspect of our culture, including the rhythms surrounding our faith. When preaching the Bible to teenagers, some best practices are timeless and unchanging. And there are also new variables that must be considered. In this session, Andy will walk youth workers through the non-negotiables of effectively preaching the Word to students in a culture that is radically changing around us.

More About Andy: Andy is an author, speaker, and podcast host who has been communicating the transformational power of God’s Word for over two decades. He is passionate about helping people grasp God’s call to live with purpose and meaning, spending their lives well for the sake of the gospel. Andy has authored countless books, Bible studies, and articles, and is a sought-after speaker. He also hosts a weekly podcast with his wife, Brenda.

“Sexual Abuse Risk/Changes in the Landscape” (Video)
Greg Love

Description: This session will describe the new challenges related to child sexual abuse in ministry: insurance requirements, legislative changes and how predators have adapted. The session will conclude with an overview of steps to take to deal with the ‘old’ challenge while correctly navigating the ‘new’ challenges.

More About Greg: Gregory Love is the managing partner at the law firm of Love & Norris. He is the co-founder of MinistrySafe and Abuse Prevention Systems. His clients include denominations, churches, universities, private schools, public and private charities, and youth sports groups. He is an expert in legal standards of care related to child sexual abuse. Love regularly provides instruction and continuing education training to lawyers and risk management professionals.

“Making/Keeping Your Church Safe"
Ben o'NEAL

Description: We will be discussing how to start a security program in your church and if you have one already, how to improve your existing team. We will discuss behaviors and indicators and what types of responsibilities will be needed to effectively protect a church and their congregations. We will also discuss what Georgia law says about carrying weapons in church.

More About Ben: William “Ben” O’Neal enlisted in the Army in February 1996. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and his master’s degree in Security Management. He has been deployed five times and traveled to 39 countries. He retired in March 2019 as a Major with 23 years, one-month Active-duty service. With the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, Ben oversees security needs, the two summer camp locations, and 14 BCM buildings as well as all the security for any major events. He travels to Georgia Baptist churches and helps them start and/or improve their security programs at their church.

"The Power of the Neighborhood Church"
Jimmy Scroggins

Description:Hear how Family Church grew from one church in one location speaking one language to a family of neighborhood churches with multiple pastors, locations, and languages.

More About Jimmy: Jimmy is the Lead Pastor of Family Church in S. Florida, where he has served since 2008.  He and his wife Kristin have 8 children & 2 grandchildren.  Under Jimmy’s leadership, Family Church has grown to a network of neighborhood churches across 3 counties & in 4 languages.  They are passionate about building families… while carrying out their vision of taking the Gospel to every person, in every family & neighborhood of S. Florida.