Top 20 Leading the Way in Children’s Ministry


Meet Children’s Ministry Magazine’s picks for the top 20 leading the way in children’s ministry. These are the most influential and impacting voices in children’s ministry today!

Here at Children’s Ministry Magazine, we believe that you-children’s ministers in the daily trenches of ministry-are true heroes. And that’s the big reason we’re aiming to make our 2011 20th anniversary a year-long celebration of children’s ministers everywhere! To kick off the celebration, we’re looking back at heroes who’ve made a significant, positive impact in children’s ministry. We’re delighted to present-drumroll, please, Children’s Ministry Magazine’s Top-20 Children’s Ministry Influencers in the last 20 years!


Karl Bastian, founder of

Karl, a self-proclaimed children’s minister since childhood, is driven to support and resource children’s ministers. He created, a pioneering website developed in the mid-1990s as a resource for leaders and volunteers. Today the site contains online training, discussion forums, hundreds of lesson plans and ideas, links to other children’s ministry resources, and a near encyclopedia of other helpful material.

Karl developed Kidology not only as a source for valuable information and resources, but also for children’s ministers to connect with one other to share concerns and prayer requests, to ask questions and hopefully find answers from others. Through his writing, blogging, and social media efforts, Karl has left an indelible imprint on children’s ministry.

Through Kidology, Karl’s passion is to “reach and teach as many children as possible with the Good News of God’s Love and in the process to enlist, equip, and encourage others to do the same.”


Jerome Berryman, author, curriculum developer

Jerome’s and the the late Sonja Stewart’s book Young Children in Worship is considered a landmark work on how to introduce 3- to 7-year-olds to the wonder of worship. Jerome’s work inspired the Godly Play “I Wonder” series that leads children in reflective worship as they interact with Scripture. Jerome’s extensive catalog of writing whether through Godly Play curriculum or through his numerous other writings has helped to transform thousands of churches’ approach to children’s ministry by helping them see that meaningful, lasting learning comes from childlike curiosity and play.

Jerome continues to lead the way in workshops and training avenues to transform the way children’s ministers look at how children encounter God.


Rob Bradbury, children’s pastor, national director

Rob is a well-known leader in children’s ministry in Australia. He’s the state and national director for KIDS R US, a national children’s ministry in Australia. He also serves as the international director for the Kidshaper Conference, where he provides resources, leads workshops, and encourages other children’s ministers.

He’s released six children’s music albums. He speaks around the world at training seminars and workshops for children’s ministry leaders and volunteers. And he’s authored four books: Fly, Sound, Quadrants,and Taste.

Rob and his wife have been in children’s ministry for 21 years, and they lead the successful and far-reaching PlanetKids children’s ministry at Planetshakers, a 4500-member church in Melbourne.



Sylvia Foth, founder of Kidzana Ministry

In 1998, Sylvia founded Kidzana Ministries, an international ministry that’s gone on to train and equip more than 10,000 volunteers and leaders all over the world to minister to children and transform their lives for Jesus.

In addition, Sylvia took on key roles in several other far-reaching initiatives to spread the gospel to all children across the globe. Among these: 1 for 50 Training Initiative, gcmEQUIP conference, and International Training.

Sylvia recently wrote the book, Daddy, Are We There Yet? about where the Christian community stands in reaching the whole world for Christ. Her diligent efforts in education, equipping, training, and in-the-trenches ministry have had a profoundly positive impact on global children’s ministry.

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Dick Gruber, author, professor

Dick Gruber has long been a voice of wisdom, practicality, and encouragement in the realm of children’s ministry. He’s dedicated much of his professional life to equipping effective children’s ministers through education. He created the children’s ministry program at Valley Forge College in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, nine years ago and co-founded Children’s Ministries University Online, an accredited educational program.

Dick served as the national leader of children’s ministries for the Assemblies of God Church for eight years. He’s known for the book Children’s Church: Turning your Circus into a Service, and he created the popular character Sam Saint Super Sleuth.

About his legacy, Dick says, “Hopefully I’ll be known as a voice of true worship in the children’s church and that deeper study of God’s Word will be encouraged in all aspects of children’s ministry.”


Jeff Harmon, ministry pioneer, children’s pastor

Jeff Harmon was intregal in the inception of the pioneering children and family ministry program at Vanguard Bible College in Alberta, Canada, and he directed the program for its first two years. He continues to teach the introduction to children and family ministry course.

Jeff has worked for 21 years in the same church where he became a Christian, and he serves as the children’s pastor interacting with all departments, a creative team, volunteers, teachers, and, most of all, children.

His passion for kids and the importance of children’s ministry is unwavering. He currently speaks at conferences, workshops, and preteen and youth camps in Canada and beyond. Jeff continues to network with local children’s ministry leaders by providing resources, training, and encouragement to them.

He says his key focus in ministry is a revised motto of Billy Graham’s: “Children anchored by 12 won’t be lost at sea at 21.”


Dale Hudson, author of Relevant Children’s Ministry

Dale has served as a children’s pastor for over 21 years in some of the most dynamic ministries. He co-wrote Children’s Ministry in the 21st Century, 100 Best Ideas to Turbocharge Your Children’s Ministry, and 100 Best Ideas to Turbocharge Your Preschool Ministry. He’s also the columnist for volunteer leadership for Children’s Ministry Magazine. He’s written articles such as “Lessons From Walt” focusing on the importance of family- and child-centered environments, atmospheres, and relationships.

Dale is the director of children’s ministry at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Christ Fellowship has 9 campuses and ministers to over 22,000 people on weekends. He leads a staff team of over 70 and a volunteer team of over 2,600. His expertise on creating magnetic ministries makes him a sought-after speaker and author.

Top 20 Leading the Way in Children’s Ministry
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Children's Ministry Magazine

Children's Ministry Magazine is the most read magazine for people who minister to children from birth through sixth grade. We're partnering with you to make Jesus irresistible to kids.


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