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Leslie Kingenmeier

Lesli Klingenmeier
NextGen Director
Mid-Atlantic District
Lorain, Ohio

A few years after completing her master’s degree in occupational therapy, Lesli reasoned that “there had to be more to life.” So, 16 years ago, the Amherst, Ohio, resident said yes to the only ministry opportunity available: children’s director at her home church. Despite no formal training, Lesli stuck with it, because she saw God doing tremendous things. She especially enjoys teaching creative concepts to pre-teens. As her district’s NextGen director, Lesli strives to help children’s ministers become more effective. “Build a strong team around you,” she advises. “God will give you what you make room for, so reproduce yourself in others.”

Paul Duris

Paul Duris
Children’s Pastor
East Hill Church Family
(Gresham Foursquare Church)
Gresham, Ore.

Although children’s ministry was never on his radar in college, after graduating from Life Pacific College (LPC, also called LIFE Bible College) 26 years ago, Paul’s pastor asked him to work with kids. Recalling his pastor’s suggestion to “make it fun,” he says that great piece of wisdom pointed him in the right direction. Paul calls childhood an incredible season of harvest, because 80 percent of those who choose to follow Christ make that decision between ages 5 and 13. “Wouldn’t you want to go where the fish are biting?” he asks. “I like to catch fish. Maybe that’s why I’ve stuck with it for so long.”

Doreen Quist

Doreen Quist
Children’s Pastor
New Song Community Church
(Bismarck Foursquare Church)
Bismarck, N.D.

Nineteen years ago, this mother of three started in children’s ministry as a volunteer, helping her connect with other parents. A gifted teacher, Doreen found that her volunteer hours kept expanding. Finally, she joined the staff in 2008 and now oversees kids from nursery age through 6th grade. Although holding an associate degree with an emphasis in elementary education, Doreen says the key to ministry is a willingness to be a team player. “I learned from my predecessors not to go it alone, or you burn out,” she says. “I am truly blessed and will be here until God opens the door for something else.”

Jeff Allen

Jeff Allen
3rd-5th Grade Pastor
Winning Edge Sports Director
Grace Covenant
(Cornelius Foursquare Church)
Cornelius, N.C.

Jeff’s roots in ministry go back to childhood, when he helped his mother with her children’s ministry. Those roots grew while attending Bible college, when he volunteered at a juvenile detention center. Jeff has witnessed the difference love makes with hardened youngsters, including some at his church. After 18 years of service, he knows the importance of reaching kids at a young age. He asserts that those who want to minister to kids must recognize it is a calling: “You likely won’t make a lot of money, but it offers many other rewards.”

Stevie Mitchell

Stevie Mitchell
Family Pastor
Grace North Church
(Anthem Foursquare Church)
Anthem, Ariz.

While leading a young adult ministry team 20 years ago, Stephanie “Stevie” Mitchell offered to oversee Sunday morning kids’ activities. However, after 13 weeks, this temporary position became permanent: “God grabbed my heart for children by showing me His heart for families.” Although Stevie has a degree in Christian ministry, she knew formal education wasn’t enough. When she cried out to God for wisdom, He answered. Passionate about helping churches and parents join hands to make a lasting impact, she advises children’s ministers to remain humble. “God may use adults to teach children, but we have so much to learn from them,” Stevie says.

Stacey Pfeifer

Stacey Pfeifer
Children’s Minister
New Hope Foursquare Church
(Salem East Foursquare Church)
Salem, Ore.

As a young teen, Stacey sensed God's proclaiming she would be a children’s minister. Initially, she tried to compromise by agreeing to “just be a teacher.” God wouldn’t give up, though—and Stacey has devoted nearly 18 years to children’s ministry. She strongly believes in shepherding kids to become Christ’s disciples, something she says can happen at any age. “I have always had a love for kids,” says Stacey, whose husband, Abe, is New Hope’s senior pastor. “Now, being a mother of three kids, I see every day where they help me learn and grow in how I work with children.”

Joanne DeJesus

Joanne DeJesus
Children’s Minister
(Waxahachie Foursquare Church)
Waxahachie, Texas

The daughter of a pastor and a teacher, Joanne grew up doing door-to-door evangelism, assisting with children’s choir, and going on youth missions trips. During Bible college, she did an internship at a kids’ summer camp, where God revealed to her how He had prepared her to minister to children. Passionate about discipling children and raising up leaders to minister to them, she encourages people looking to work with children to seek God’s perspective. “So many times we limit His vision for kids,” Joanne says. “We are unable to see how key they are to bringing God’s kingdom here on Earth.”

More Children’s Ministers to Know

Linda Richey
International Children’s Evangelist
La Mision del Rey
(North Hills Foursquare Church)
North Hills, Calif. 

Linda has been in children’s ministry for 43 years, primarily in Latin America. “I stick with it because children are the most ready harvest field in the world today,” Linda says.

Nancy Gorke
Retired Children’s Minister
Hope Chapel
(Quartz Hill Foursquare Church)
Quartz Hill, Calif.

Though formally retired, Nancy still tells stories at a preschool’s chapel services. Saying that God gifted her to work with children, she calls kids ministry “50 percent passion and 50 percent education.”

Elizabeth Ewens
Children’s Pastor
The Church On The Way
(Van Nuys Foursquare Church)
Van Nuys, Calif.

Elizabeth has loved investing her life in “our greatest resources” for 40 years. With proper spiritual training, children will be well prepared and equipped to face the world, she says.

Fran Rottman
Preschool Worker
Retired Christian Education Minister
Angelus Temple Foursquare Church
Los Angeles

Before retiring, Fran served for 45 years at Angelus Temple and currently coordinates weekly chapels for her church’s preschool. The 20 minutes she spends with the children are “the highlight of my week!”

Cynthia Brandt
Christian Education Minister
23rd Avenue Church
(Greeley Foursquare Church)
Greeley, Colo.

A 40-year children’s ministry veteran, Cynthia says the creativity of sharing the gospel with children never grows old. She calls it especially rewarding to watch those she once taught now teaching new generations.

By: Ken Walker, an award-winning freelance writer living in Huntington, W.Va.

Know children’s ministers in your community who create dynamic experiences for your church’s kids? Recognize them in the comments section below.

is a freelance writer and book editor in Huntington, W.Va.