3 learnings from CEF’s 2018 Annual Conference

Oct 23, 2018 7:00:00 AM / by Deb Hetherington



Earlier this month, Christians Engaged in Faith Formation (CEF) celebrated their golden anniversary in Des Moines, Iowa at their annual conference. During the week-long event, ministry leaders from across the country gathered around the theme “curious.church” to learn, inspire, enrich, support, worship, celebrate, have fun, and most importantly, build community.

Over the course of the event, I had the opportunity to hear about the challenges facing ministry leaders, as well as hearing stories of inspiration and how leaders are sparking faith in their communities.

And today, I’m excited to share my favorite moments from CEF’s annual conference. 

Learning about creativity in Sunday school

Let’s face it, many church leaders face smaller budgets and limited resources. I was inspired to hear about the creativity that many are employing in their Sunday school programs! 

Specifically, I spoke with many leaders about they were doing to adapt to the needs of kids with special needs. Using a curriculum that removes language as a barrier in their learning helped them connect with these kids and help them build their connection with God.

Finding ways to connect with adults

As adults continue to get busier and busier in their lives, it makes it harder and harder for us leaders in ministry to connect with them. And when we do, it can be hard to have an authentic connection because of the increased technology connection (read: not putting devices down).

Just as leaders are using creativity in Sunday school, many are taking this to their adult and small group programs. From finding options to spur conversations around social justice issues to digging deep into the faith journey, building authentic connections remains a focus, perhaps more than ever. 

Growing as ministry leaders and partners

Fun fact: Sparkhouse first attended CEF in 2010 in Louisville, just over eight years ago! It’s amazing to see how much our community has grown since then; and how much we have changed as well! It was wonderful to continue to build connections and learn how ministry leaders build the “curious” church to meet the needs of today’s kids, families, and adults.


Stay connected with Sparkhouse on Facebook to find out our upcoming event schedule!


Topics: General Ministry, Events and Holidays

Deb Hetherington

Written by Deb Hetherington

Deb is passionate about supporting faith formation for all of God’s children from babies to adults, at church and at home. At Sparkhouse, she has worked on early childhood, story Bibles, Sunday school, music, devotional, and Vacation Bible School products for kids, leaders, and families. She feels blessed to now sing and play with kids as a volunteer in her congregation and on mission trips to Haiti.


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