Empower is a workshop hosted by the Green Lawn Church of Christ for Bible teachers, church leaders and parents, equipping them for more effective Bible teaching.

Besides the annual in-person workshop, Empower also provides online resources and conversations throughout the year.  Use these resources – and share your ideas with others – as we all help one another glorify God by making disciples and strengthening the Kingdom.

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Workshop Tracks for Teachers of All Ages ... and More!

Older children are encouraged to attend workshop sessions,
but childcare is available for those who register and request it in advance.

Download a copy of the workshop program.


Teachers of Babies and Toddlers

Kathy Rogers

Session 1
Do we really need to offer Nursery and Toddler classes?
What are the developmental benefits to be gained in Nursery and Toddler classes? In addition to what these can do for the children, there are also great benefits for families and the church.

Session 2
Can babies and toddlers have a Spiritual connection to God?
What are the Spiritual dimensions to babies' and toddlers' developmental growth? Help children and families cultivate their connection with God.

Session 3
How do I teach babies and toddlers?
What makes a great class for babies and toddlers? Explore several ideas for teaching babies and toddlers and how to make sure your curriculum is meeting the needs of your children.

Session 4
Let's wrap this up!
Now what do I do? This session will put some of what has been talked about into practice by playing and singing. There will also be time to ask questions and to learn from one another through guided discussion.

Kathy Rogers has a love for God and music.  Her personal mission is to share her love of teaching by planting seeds for Christ and helping those placed before her to develop a lifelong love of Christ, music and learning.

Kathy has spent her career as an educator of all ages. She is an early childhood music specialist. Kathy has taught hundreds of children through her own music studio and her years of teaching at Wichita Christian School. There she taught classes for ages two years through high school.

Kathy began teaching Bible classes for cradle roll and toddlers under the leadership of Lavonne Randolph at Faith Village Church of Christ in Wichita Falls, Texas. Kathy and her husband Randy have been Bible Hour leaders, Small Group facilitators, and served in many other roles through the years at churches in Wichita Falls. Most recently, Kathy was Coordinator for Children and Family Life at Edgemere Church of Christ in Wichita Falls.

Fun Fact: Kathy and Randy have flipped two large old houses but now live in a 40 foot RV in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Teachers of Young Children

Becky Koehler

Kay Shepard

Session 1
The Extras Make all the Difference

Session 2
The Wow Factor for VBS

Session 3
Combining Montessori Methods and Bible Stories for Fantastic Lessons

Session 4
What to Do with Two-Year-Olds

Becky Koehler is a 23-year veteran public school teacher. Becky has taught high school English, 4th and 5th grade reading and social studies, and is no the librarian at Parsons Elementary School in Lubbock. Becky has a Bachelor's degree in English from Lubbock Christian University, a Master's degree in Administration and Supervision from the University of West Georgia, and a Library Science certification from Texas A&M Commerce. Becky has taught Bible class for the two-year-olds, pre-kindergarten, and kindergarten for over twenty years. She has also taught pre-k in VBS and loves to make her classes an interactive, unforgettable experience. Becky has one son, Saban, who will be a senior this year. He plays on the Varsity football team and has gained a love for teaching young children in Bible classes also.

Dr. Kay Shepard is a 23-year music education veteran. She has taught music for 23 years at Bayless Elementary School in Lubbock. She loves being a Bayless Plainsman and enjoys teaching her students to love and appreciate music. She has conducted countless musical programs with all her students from pre-K to 5th grade and always does an amazing job. Kay graduated from Lubbock Christian University with a degree in music education. She then earned her Master's in Administration and Supervision from LCU. Finally, she earned her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Texas Tech University. Kay has written the curriculum for the 2-year-old class which she teaches at Sunset Church of Christ. She has taught in the children's Bible department at Sunset since 1997. She has numerous interactive Bible lessons for VBS and has directed the children's chorus for Leadership Training for Christ. Kay and her husband Johnny have two boys. Collin is going into the 7th grade, and Grant will be in the 4th grade. Both are avid musicians.

Teachers of Elementary Ages

Kathy Petrillo

Session 1
It's just a Bible story!

Session 2
Hook 'em and keep 'em!

Session 3
Spice it up!

Session 4
I have hidden Your word in my heart!

"There are few things better than watching children marvel at the glorious workings of God as revealed in the pages of Scripture. My first teaching experience was when I was 17 years old. I did not have a clue what I was doing, but I was not deterred since I knew I wanted to succeed at teaching kids all about God. Fast-forward 50 years, and here I am sharing experience and ideas garnered since that first feeble teaching effort."

Teachers of Teen Students

Carter Shuman

Session 1
The Structure Matters 
What are the things that actually form us spiritually? How does anyone really fall in love with God? In this session we will talk about spiritual formation in repetition and ritual. In a chaotic world sometimes the best thing the church can be for young people is consistent and present.

Session 2
The Narrative Matters
This class will be a workshop on how to craft a Bible class for youth as you draw from the biblical narratives.

Session 3
The Poetry Matters
This class will be a workshop on how to craft a Bible class for youth as you draw from biblical poetry.

Session 4
The Prose Matters
This class will be a workshop on how to craft a Bible class for youth as you draw from biblical prose.

Carter Shuman is the husband of Trish Shuman and father of Amelia (8) and Brighten (6). He is a graduate of the LCU Smith College of Biblical Studies where he received a Bachelors of Science in Youth and Family Ministry. He has been a youth minister for 12 years, the last 8 of which he has spent at South Plains Church of Christ in Lubbock. Carter has a passion for developing a love for God in students as they navigate through adolescence and into adulthood. He is currently pursuing his masters in Christian Ministry at LCU. He is also the proud owner of two delightful golden retrievers.

Teachers of Adults

John Moore

Seeing the Bible in 3-D. The Necessity and Importance of using Bible Geography in the classroom
Geography, history, and religion are so inextricably bound together in the Bible that the religious message cannot be truly understood without attention to the setting and conditions of the revelation. In this session attention will be given to not only the importance of using geography in the classroom, but also show how it can be used to enhance the Bible story, impact the senses, and defend the faith.

Session 2
Way More than Maps: Bringing the Bible to Life
True Bible geography entails the use of numerous interrelated disciplines. The sessions will focus on how the sciences of hydrology, archaeology, climatology, sociology, cartography, and geology, can all be used in helping students to better understand the Bible story, and how to apply its message to their lives.

Session 3
Bridging the Gap: Effective Strategies and Tools for Integrating Bible Geography into the Classroom
This session will focus on practical ways to utilize the various aspects of geography for teaching every book of the Bible. Attention will also be given to learning about the various tools and helps available for both teacher preparation and classroom presentation.

Session 4
Bridging the Gap: Practicum. Effective Strategies and Tools for Integrating Bible Geography into the Classroom
This session will focus on practical ways to utilize the various aspects of geography for teaching every book of the Bible. Attention will also be given to learning about the various tools and helps available for both teacher preparation and classroom presentation.

A native of Dripping Springs, Texas, John has served as an evangelist, teacher, preacher and minister of the gospel for over 30 years. He and his wife Carla are working with Bear Valley Bible Institute International, and serve as the directors of Bible Passages, a ministry dedicated to training preachers, equipping the saints, defending the faith, and guiding souls to Jesus. They reside both in Denver and Dripping Springs, Texas. Prior to his work with Bible Passages, John served as the pulpit minister for the Dripping Springs church of Christ, an instructor at the Southwest School of Bible Studies in Austin, and as a campus minister and director of the Bible chair at the University church of Christ in San Marcos, Texas. He is a certified public school teacher and a graduate of Southwest Texas State University, where he earned both a B.S. in Education and a Masters in Education degree in the department of Counseling and Psychological Services. He has also done postgraduate work at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, Jerusalem University, Austin Graduate School of Theology, and Abilene Christian University where he was enrolled in the Master of Arts in Religious Studies program. He has also served as an adjunct faculty member of the Austin Graduate School of Theology teaching college accredited Bible classes in the Dripping Springs community. John also serves on the advisory board of World Video Bible School, and completed 9 years of service as a school board trustee for the Dripping Springs Independent School District. He has worked extensively in educational programs of the church and has many years of experience in assisting and directing youth church and leadership camps. He is the narrator and author of both the book and video, Searching For Truth, and served from 2005 through 2008 as a co-editor of the monthly periodical The Gospel Journal. John is also the narrator and instructor of Learning to Use the Greek New Testament, a thorough study of New Testament Greek presented in 35 lessons on 13 DVDs.  John’s most recent endeavor includes his directorship of the Bible Land Passages Project as well as serving as one of the script writers and narrators of the Bible Land Passages documentaries, and the Connections: Exploring Faith and Fact videos. He and his wife Carla are also the directors of Bible Land Passage Tours, Expeditions, and Studies. Carla is the author of the blog, Walking Where Jesus Walked and The Scripture Writing Project. Since 1986 John has preached in Gospel Meetings in over eighteen states, and has conducted or participated in yearly campaigns to various foreign countries including Jamaica, Tobago, Malaysia, and Singapore.  John and Carla have three sons, Jordan (daughter-in-law, Erin), Jacob (daughter-in-law, Alyssa), and Micah (daughter-in-law. Courtney), and four grandchildren.

Spirituality and Resilience in Children

Holly Allen

Connecting Spirituality and Resilience:
Helping Children Cope when Life Falls Down

Session 1
How are Spirituality and Resilience Connected?
Spirituality is one of the protective factors that is connected to resilience in children who have faced loss, grief, or trauma. How and why is this so? What does it look like to connect spirituality and resilience? First we will define these two concepts, then we will unpack a short video of four-year-old Blake and her conversation with her parents that keenly exhibits the interconnections between these two concepts.

Session 2
Resilience, Spirituality, and the Role of Stories
How are stories connected to spirituality and how do they promote resilience in children? We will share several stories that illustrate how stories interconnect with spirituality and resilience.

Session 3
Fostering Resilience in our Children's Ministries
How do we foster spiritual development in Sunday school and children’s church? As we teach the Bible, how do we draw children into a relationship with God, themselves, and others in ways that will sustain them when hardships come? We will experience two activities that open the door to understanding more fully how spirituality can promote resilience in our regular Sunday school settings.

Session 4
Powerful Ways the Whole Church Can Foster Resilience in our Children
From the beginning, God intended the generations to be together to form each other spiritually. How does this happen? What does this look like? We will experience together two practices that connect children with God and the whole intergenerational body of Christ in ways that nurture them (and us) spiritually and promote resilience.

Dr. Holly Catterton Allen is professor of Christian ministries and family science at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. She teaches undergraduate courses such as Family Ministry and Nurturing Spiritual Development in Children. Her areas of interest are children’s spiritual formation and intergenerational ministry; from 2015-2021, she chaired two biennial international, cross-denominational conferences: InterGenerate and the Children’s Spirituality Summit. Dr. Allen has previously taught at John Brown University, Biola University, and Abilene Christian University.

Dr. Allen’s most recent book is Forming Resilient Children: The Role of Spiritual Formation for Healthy Development (InterVarsity, 2021). She also edited InterGenerate: Transforming Churches through Intergenerational Ministry (ACU Press, 2018). She is the co-author of Intergenerational Christian Formation: Bringing the Whole Church Together in Ministry, Community, and Worship (InterVarsity Press, 2012). Her first book, Nurturing Children’s Spirituality: Christian Perspectives and Best Practices (Cascade), an edited volume, was released in 2008. Dr. Allen has published articles in journals such as Christian Education Journal, Lutheran Education, Lifelong Faith, and Christian Scholar’s Review as well as in Christianity Today; she has also authored chapters in twenty books.

Resources for Helping through Crisis

Beverly Ross

Walking Beside One Another through Grief and Anxiety

Session 1
Let's explore some physical activities to encourage children and adults to receive peace and calm.
Grief is always hard, but watching children struggle with loss and anxiety ups the anté to a whole new level. How can we walk beside them with awareness and courage? Our bodies recognize stress before our minds are aware anything is wrong. This session will offer practical, calming techniques we can teach our children (and ourselves) to use during times of stress and/or crisis.

Session 2
Let's explore some activities to provide emotional support for children and adults.
Let’s explore ways we can help one another learn to get curious about emotions rather than suppressing them or getting stuck in unhealthy cycles.

Session 3
Let's explore some activities to provide relational support for children and adults.
Grief can change everything, including relationships. Since God has hard-wired humans for connection, let’s discuss some ways we can gather courage and bravery to continue embracing friendships.

Session 4
Let's explore some activities to provide spiritual support for children and adults.
During sadness and grief is not the time to speak in religious clichés. How can we speak a word of Truth without making God look like a monster? How can we encourage deep faith with honesty and openness?

Beverly Ross, M.A., LPC-S, is the Founder and Executive Director for Wise County Christian Counseling. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor.  Beverly is a certified facilitator in the life-changing curriculum based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown.  She uses these curricula in individual counseling and with groups.  She is experienced in helping marriages and families experience connection and reconciliation. She provides individual counseling for issues such as depression, anxiety and grief support.

Beverly is a sought-after speaker, frequently conducting workshops about finding and experiencing Light when the way gets dark and about learning to walk in freedom.

In September, 2018, Beverly opened Jenny’s Hope, a grief center for children and their families, in honor of her daughter, Jenny Bizaillion. Jenny loved children! Jenny’s favorite word was Hope. She would love this ministry to help young people and their families walk out their path of pain and suffering. Jenny’s Hope also provides grief support for adults, including couples following a stillbirth.

In September, 2020, Beverly and her oldest son, Josh, co-authored a book, Scarred Hope: A Mother and Son Learn to Carry Grief and Live with Joy

Beverly received a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Stephen F. Austin University and completed a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Amberton University in November, 2001.

Beverly and Rick (her husband) have three adult children and five precious grandchildren.  Jenny, their daughter, died in February, 2010.  Since then, Hope has been an intentional focus of her counseling ministry. Romans 15:13 is quoted at the end of every event at WCCC.  She is clinging to Hope, Joy and Peace.

8:30am to 2:30pm

Green Lawn Church of Christ

5701 19th Street
Lubbock, Texas

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