About Us

This blog is for anyone passionate enough to take on the early Sunday mornings, the late, late Friday nights, the sugar highs and emotional lows, the sticky hugs and the difficult phone calls for the purpose of positively leading and influencing the next generation one small group at a time.

From pampers to pimples, every age group comes with unique joys and challenges which is why we have separated our blog into three age groups so you can better access the information most suited for you and the few you are influencing.

We also know that within each age group, every individual small group is unique. So, we set out to create a place you can hear from a diverse team of family ministry staff, veteran small group leaders and dedicated volunteers with years of experience doing just what you do. We have spent months searching high and low, from local coffee shops to churches across the nation to find the very best Coaches and Small Group Leaders this country has to offer and have invited them to share their collective wisdom, experience and wit with you!

So join the conversation! Tell us your funny stories. Ask us your toughest questions. Share your moments of powerful life-change. And together we can create a community of individuals dedicated to making a BIG difference in the next generation by leading SMALL.

Preschool Coaches

Barbara Graves

Barbara Graves

@barbaragraves
Barbara Graves

Barbara Graves

Barbara loves God, children's ministry, coffee, the Braves, and her granddaughter Eden-Grae. She's been in ministry for over 30 years and wishes she didn't have to sleep so she could write, teach, and read a little more.

Barbara Graves on Twitter
Cass Brannan

Cass Brannan

@cassbrannan
Cass Brannan

Cass Brannan

Cass is a husband, daddy, and a Groups Director in Waumba Land at Buckhead Church, in Atlanta, Georgia. He’s a graduate of Georgia Southern University and Southeastern Seminary and is passionate about preschoolers and families, and partnering them with the church. Cass loves to do anything outside including but not limited to walking, running, playing Ultimate frisbee, biking, or whatever he can do with his four amazing boys and wife, Mary Beth.

Cass Brannan on Twitter
Jenny Zimmer

Jenny Zimmer

@jenzim15
Jenny Zimmer

Jenny Zimmer

Jenny is a California native and Preschool and Family Life Director at Discovery Church in Simi Valley, CA. Jenny Zimmer is the Director of Family Life Ministries and Director of Discoveryland at Discovery Church in Simi Valley, California. For over ten years she has been doing ministry work. Working with young children is her passion, which is why she is also a part-time preschool teacher. Having two older children of her own, Paige and McKenzie, Jenny recognizes the significance of spending time with children. At the same time she knows the value of family which is why when she is not working you can find her with her husband Jim, daughters, and dogs enjoying the California atmosphere.

Jenny Zimmer on Twitter

Elementary Coaches

Jonathan Cliff

Jonathan Cliff

@jonathancliff
Jonathan Cliff

Jonathan Cliff

Jonathan Cliff is the Director of Family Ministries at Athens Church, a North Point strategic partner, in Athens, Georgia. At Athens Church, Jonathan leads a great team of leaders reaching preschoolers, children and students. He is a huge advocate for families and believes that the family can be God;s primary way of reaching the world that they live in.

Jonathan and his wife, Starr, have a full house with two sons, Ryan and Dylan, and one daughter, Lauryn. They have also served as foster parents for many kids over the years.

Jonathan Cliff on Twitter
Gina McClain

Gina McClain

@gina_mcclain
Gina McClain

Gina McClain

Gina is originally from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. A graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma, she worked in International Banking before joining the staff of LifeChurch.tv in 1999 where she remained for over a decade. Currently, Gina is the Children’s Ministry Director at Faith Promise Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Gina is driven by the idea of equipping parents for the journey of teaching their kids how to follow Christ. Based upon her experience as a mom, she identifies with the everyday challenges parents wade through. Gina and her husband, Kyle, have three kids, Keegan, Josie and Connor.

Gina McClain on Twitter
Kenny Conley

Kenny Conley

@kennyconley
Kenny Conley

Kenny Conley

Kenny Conley, a 15-year veteran of Children’s Ministry, currently serves as the NextGen pastor at Gateway Church in Austin, Texas. His passion to see the next generation come to know and follow Christ propels him to constantly rethink how the church approaches ministry to kids and their families. Kenny loves to network and collaborate with ministry leaders around the world to push ministry to new levels. He lives in Texas with is wife Sara and children, Titus and Genevieve.

Kenny Conley on Twitter

Student Coaches

Jeremy Zach

Jeremy Zach

@jeremyzach
Jeremy Zach

Jeremy Zach

Jeremy holds a B.A. in Communication from University of Minnesota as well as a Masters of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary.  He has a passion for connecting with and learning from student pastors, deliberatively researching, reading, and blogging about student ministry and family ministry, dabbling with online technology and experimenting in ministry lifestyle design and productivity in the church. Jeremy and his wife, Mikaela, live in Alpharetta, Georgia, where he serves as an Orange Specialist with the XP3 Student team.

Jeremy Zach on Twitter
Tom Shefchunas

Tom Shefchunas

@coachshef
Tom Shefchunas

Tom Shefchunas

Tom is the North Point Ministries Multi-Campus Director of Transit (Middle School). Tom’s passion involves working with campus directors and their teams, as well as recruiting and developing the hundreds of volunteer small group leaders it takes to pull off Transit at the five churches of North Point Ministries.  He is the co-founder of Uthmin.net, a place for middle school ministers to gather.  Tom also co-wrote Lead Small with Reggie Joiner, a resource for children and student small group leaders.  Tom and his wife Julie live in Cumming, Georgia, with their three children, Mac, Joey and Cooper.

Tom Shefchunas on Twitter
Blog uthmin.net
Jeffrey Wallace

Jeffrey Wallace

@iamjeffwallace
Jeffrey Wallace

Jeffrey Wallace

Jeff is nationally known as an urban ministry innovator and leader. He serves as Pastor of Youth Development at Peace Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia, where he oversees all of the children, teen, and young adult ministries. Jeff has produced several resources designed to empower and equip youth leaders, parents, and students in urban environments. He is the author of “Urban Ministry from Start to Finish” and co-author of “Everybody’s Urban” as well as “99 Thoughts Every Guy Should Know”. Jeff enjoys doing life with his wife Quovadis and three boys, Jeffrey, Christopher, and Cameron.

Jeffrey Wallace on Twitter