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Ministry Tracks

"Thriving Churches" Ministry Tracks

During the afternoon on Friday, ministry leaders from Thrive churches will lead presentations and discussion panels aimed at highlighting best practices and encouraging dialogue and cooperation among churches in 4 key ministry areas (Worship, Youth, Children, Adult Discipleship). These ministry tracks are specifically designed for ministry staff and volunteer leaders, and those passionate about these ministry areas at their churches. Participants are asked to choose one track in which they intend to participate when registering for the conference.

Each ministry track will feature two 60-minute sessions on Friday afternoon (2:15 - 3:15 and 3:30 - 4:30).  Cohort dinners are planned at local restaurants following the ministry tracts (information will be sent to registered participants). 


Ministry Tracks and Leaders

Children's Ministry  (Barbara Burrill - Brewster Baptist Church)

Youth Ministry  (Emelio Gassibe - Living Hope Family Church)

Worship/Music Ministry  (Kimo Baker - Osterville Baptist Church)

Adult Discipleship  (Tom Maine - Cape Cod Church)

Click on the toggle bars below for descriptions of each Ministry Track.


Ministry Track Descriptions

Children's Ministry Track

Developing strategies and networking churches for ministry to children (nursery through elementary grades) on Cape Cod and in your church. Developing approaches and programs to engage parents and volunteers and to disciple a new generation of kids growing up in a culture of social media, Sunday sports and secularism.

This Ministry Track is especially suited for church ministry staff members and key volunteer leaders serving in or overseeing Children's Ministry at their church.

This Ministry Track will take place in the Kids Town area on the first floor of Cape Cod Church on Friday, March 9th from 2 pm to 4:15 pm.  A no-host cohort dinner will follow at Bobby Byrne's Restaurant in Mashpee Commons.

Track Leader:  Barbara Burrill, Pastor of Student and Children's Ministries, Brewster Baptist Church.  

Panelists/Presentators:  

  • Ruthie Seiders, Pastor of Next Generation Ministries, Grace Chapel, Lexington
  • Evy Sirignano, Children's Pastor, Northside UMC, Brewster
  • Karla Lorig, Director of Children's Ministry, Osterville Baptist Church
  • Leiko McSherry, Children's Ministry Director, Cape Cod Church

Panels/Presentations:  

Children's Ministry Panel - A Group of Children's Ministry Leaders from local churches will lead an interactive discussion that will tackle some relevant issues in Children's Ministry today, including:

  • Coaching Parents Toward Spiritual Formation at Home
  • Children in Worship Services
  • Volunteer Recruitment and Retention
  • Curriculum Options and Development
  • Public Milestones
  • Children with Special Needs
  • Outreach Efforts
  • Summer Programs

Panelist Information:  

  • Barbara Burrill grew up in Billerica, MA, graduated from Gordon College in Wenham MA with a degree in education, and is taking classes at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary to further her education. Barbara has taught public school, private school and most recently served as a Director of Children’s Ministry at Grace Chapel in Lexington, MA. Barbara’s vision of ministry is to come alongside parents on this journey, creating a space where children and students are irresistibly drawn to Christ.

  • Ruthie Seiders grew up in Maine and has been serving at Grace Chapel March, 2015. Previously she served in churches in New York, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Ruthie is passionate not only about the Next Generation, but also about casting a vision congregation-wide for parents to be equipped for their role as the primary disciplers of their children. helping them know that they are an integral part of our church family. 

    After attending the University of New Hampshire, Ruthie moved on to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary where she received a Master of Arts in Theological Studies with a concentration in Christian Education. After serving as a Christian Educator, she attended Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, PA, receiving a Master of Divinity degree and was ordained as a pastor in 2003. In May of 2014 she received her Doctor of Ministry degree in Ministry to Emerging Generations from Gordon-Conwell.

  • Evy Sirignano was born and raised on Cape Cod. She graduated from Eastern Nazarene College in 2004 with an Associates in Lay Ministries and in 2006 with a Bachelors in Religion with a minor in Youth Ministry. Evy has served at Northside UMC since 2007, first as coordinator of Sunday School, Youth, and family events and activities. Recently her work has expanded to include discipleship of Young Adults & Adults. She resides in Centerville with her husband and their two dogs, Jamie & Remington. 

  • Karla Lorig grew up in Orange CT. She graduated from The King's College with a Bachelors in Psychology and Counseling and Southern Connecticut State University with a Masters in Special Education. She taught for 14 years in both private and public schools. In 2001, she became the Director of Children's Ministry at Osterville Baptist Church on Cape Cod. As a wife, mom and teacher, she is passionate about using her gifts to connect with families and equip them to build a solid foundation of faith for their children. She lives in Mashpee MA, but will soon be making a new home in New Hampshire.

  • Leiko McSherry has been involved in Youth Ministry for over 19 years. In 2016 she was brought on board as Kids Town Director at Cape Cod Church overseeing ministry for children K-5th grade. She graduated from Boston College with a BA in Political Science which is pretty much useless in performing her duties in Children's Ministry. She dreams of being able to take master's level ministry courses and becoming a legitimate Children's Pastor but she is raising three children, a rabbit, a guinea pig, and a dog so that dream is on hold for now. Her passion is developing engaging and meaningful curriculum that presents the gospel message with grace and truth.

Youth Ministry Track

Developing strategies and networking churches for ministry to teen students (Junior High and High School) on Cape Cod and in your church. Developing approaches and programs to engage and disciple students of a new generation in a culture that often does not support discipleship.

This Ministry Track is especially suited for church ministry staff members and key volunteer leaders serving in or overseeing Youth Ministry at their church.

The Youth Ministry Track will be held in the Upper Level Classroom on the second floor of Cape Cod Church on Friday, March 9th from 2 pm to 4:15 pm. A no-host cohort dinner will follow; location TBD.

Track Leader:  Emelio Gassibe, Youth Pastor, Living Hope Family Church (Hyannis)

Panels/Presentations:  

"Empowering Students as Campus Missionaries" - This presentation aims to empower leaders to train their students on how to reach their peers for Christ. We’ll look at resources and discipleship training for students to be encouraged as they take the challenge to see their schools and communities as a mission field.  (Presenter: Kevin Zurrica)

Youth Ministry Panel - A Group of Youth Pastors/Leaders will tackle some relevant questions in Youth Ministry today, including:

  • How Do I Handle Youth That Who Wired Differently?
  • How Do I Handle High Risk Youth?
  • How Do I Work With Youth Cross Culturally?

Panelists/Presenters:    

  • Katie Ballah - Youth/Young Adult Pastor, N. Providence Assembly of God; 
  • Lisa Williamson - Dean of Academics, Trinity Christian Academy 
  • Kevin Zurrica - Director, Southern New England Youth Alive Ministry (AOG)

Panelist Information:    

  • Emelio Gassibe serves as the Director of Youth Ministries at Living Hope Family Church and concurrently as the Upper Level Campus Ministry Director for Trinity Christian Academy.  His previous experience includes serving as Centre Director for Youth for Christ in Cape Town, South Africa, and has many years of ministerial volunteer work with youth, including music ministry. He is currently completing his Bachelors in Theology from South African Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Claudine, have two children.

  • Katie Ballah - Youth/Young Adult Pastor, N. Providence Assembly of God; 

  • Lisa Williamson received a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy with a minor in Classical Studies from Tufts University, where she was involved with Intervarsity as a small group Bible study leader.  She recently completed a Masters of Science in Education with an emphasis in cognitive neuroscience and brain based teaching from Nova Southeastern University. She has worked as a pediatric Occupational Therapist for 31 years and is a certified Early Intervention Specialist through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and has been a consultant to Cape Cod Child Development Program for 20 years. Lisa lives with her husband Scott on the Lower Cape, where they have both been involved in Youth Ministry and short-term mission trips for over 20 years. They have two sons, Evan and Ryan.

  • Kevin Zurrica has been working with students from various socioeconomic backgrounds for the last 10 years. His passion is to see students engage with the Gospel and be transformed by its truth. He currently serves as Youth Alive® Director for Southern New England, which seeks to mobilize the local church to impact the public, private, and home schools in their community with the Gospel.

Worship/Music Ministry Track

Developing strategies and networking churches for Worship/Music ministries on Cape Cod and in your church. Sharing best practices and techniques for recruiting and leading worship teams, designing worship services, and technical support (lighting, sound, etc.) to those services.

This Ministry Track is especially suited for church staff members and key volunteer leaders serving in or overseeing the Worship/Music Ministry at their church.

The Worship/Music Ministry Track will be held in the Main Auditorium at Cape Cod Church on Friday, March 9th from 2 pm to 4:15 pm.  A no-host cohort dinner will follow; location TBD.

Track Leader:  Kimo Baker, Pastor of Worship, Osterville Baptist Church

Panels/Presentations:  

"Worship Leaders, Not Rock Stars" - An in-depth look at what really matters when leading corporate worship (e.g., picking the right team, picking the right songs, designing the worship service).

Worship Leader Panel - Your fellow worship pastors, leaders, and tech specialists will tackle Frequently Asked Questions (yours!) about leading and producing worship.

Panelists/Presenters:    

  • Erik Eskelund, Pastor, Living Hope Family Church, Hyannis
  • Alan Porter, Worship Pastor, Cape Cod Church
  • Jesse Robbins, Worship Leader, Faith Baptist Church, Osterville
  • Josiah Estabrooks, Asst. Director of Worship, Osterville Baptist Church

Panelist Information:    

  • Erik Eskelund - Originally from South Africa, Erik Eskelund has been in full-time ministry in the United States since 1992. In addition to pastoring, he has over 25 years of service in international youth and young adult work, foreign missions, praise and worship leadership, marriage and family counseling, and presentations for conferences and schools. Erik served for ten years on the faculty of the annual International Worship Institute (Dallas, TX), and is the founding director of Emoyeni USA, a public charity that serves disadvantaged communities and children in South Africa. Erik has been pastor of Living Hope Family Church on Cape Cod since 2003. He and his wife, Tami, have traveled extensively, and have ministered in dozens of countries around the world.

    Married for 27 years, Erik and Tami have 2 children (Luke, age 25, and Tehillah, age 22). The Eskelunds are a musical family, and have recorded and published two independent music projects. Days of Spring and Snapshots, both produced in Nashville, Tennessee, are available on iTunes. Erik and Tami also have 2 cats and a dog, love entertaining guests in their home, and enjoy cozying up on winter nights in front of the fireplace with a good book or a British murder mystery show on Netflix.

  • Alan Porter has served as Worship Pastor at Cape Cod Church since 2005, and as Assistant Worship Leader from 2003-2005. He hails from New Brunswick, Canada, where he attended the New Brunswick Bible Institute, and served for four years in the US Coast Guard (which brought him to Cape Cod). After learning piano from his mother as a child and the trumpet in elementary school, Al began picking up a variety of other instruments, including guitar, bass, the cowbell, and the accordion (yes, the accordion...). His favorite artists include Switchfoot, U2, Hillsong, John Mayer, Coldplay, Michael Jackson, and even a little JT and Bruno Mars. He is also loves pizza, is a movie buff, and does a great Chewbacca impression. Alan and his wife Sara live in Mashpee with their two beautiful daughters, Mackenzie and Madelyn.

  • Jesse Robbins began serving as Worship Ministry Leader at Faith Baptist Church in September 2016. Before that he was the Sound & Media Leader for the church starting in 2013. He's been involved in worship ministry for over 10 years, serving multiple worship and youth ministries on the Cape. Jesse has a passion for helping local churches with tech support and provides ministry tools to help build worship ministries. He also offers live sound reinforcement skills, running multiple conferences with artists like Fernando Ortega, Charles Billingsley, and Christa Wells. He and his wife Brooke have been married since 2015 and are expecting their first child this summer.

  • Josiah Estabrooks has been a member of Osterville Baptist Church's worship team since 2009, and quickly became plugged in with the youth worship band, helping to lead the worship time every week, in addition to Sunday morning services. In the spring of 2017, he took on the role of Worship Intern to begin working on both his leadership and musicianship ability. He has now advanced to the position of Assistant Worship Director starting in the winter of 2018, and is looking forward to continuing to use his gifts to serve God, and the OBC congregation. Josiah's main priorities with this new position are the planning of worship services, growing the church's music catalog and worship team, and using his audio technology background to keep the church as updated as possible. 

Adult Discipleship Ministry Track

Developing strategies and networking churches for discipleship of adults - from their first visit to to mature discipleship - on Cape Cod and in your church. Discussion of approaches and programs to welcome and assimilate visitors, encourage spiritual growth, and support each attender's full participation in the worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and mission activities of the church.

This panel will be held in the The Loft Teen Center on the second floor of Cape Cod Church on Friday, March 9th from 2 pm to 4:15 pm.  A no-host cohort dinner will follow at Sienna restaurant in Mashpee Commons.

Track Leader:  Tom Maine, Director of Spiritual Development, Cape Cod Church

Panels/Presentations:    

"From Seeker to Leader: Discipleship Begins at the Front Door" - Common thinking says that "discipleship" is something we do only after someone accepts the gift of grace and makes a profession of faith. It would be better, perhaps, to look at discipleship as a process that starts at (or before) the first visit - making even how we welcome and assimilate visitors a key part of the process.  (Presenter: Tom Maine)

"Lessons from Starting and Building a Small Group Ministry" - Small groups are the most effective tool for connecting attenders and members into community, where they can grow spiritually and serve the body more effectively together. This presentation will offer some practical lessons for starting and growing a small group ministry at your church. (Presenter: Mike Woodward).

Discipleship Panel Discussion - An interactive conversation about adult discipleship practices, processes and lessons learned by local churches - including yours! (See panelists below)

Panelists/Presenters:    

  • Pete Axelson - Lead Pastor, Covenant Community Church 
  • Mike Woodward - Lead Pastor, Ocean State Baptist Church (Smithfield, RI)
  • Joe Loud - Small Group Leader, Cape Cod Church

Panelist Information:    

  • Tom Maine has served as the Director of Spiritual Development at Cape Cod Church since 2014, joining the church staff after completing a 31-year career in the Coast Guard.  As Director of Spiritual Development he oversees all adult discipleship programs including visitor assimilation, discipleship classes, men's and women's ministries, small groups, and Starting Point. His passions include discipling men, playing bad golf, and bacon.

  • Pastor Pete Axelson  has made his home on the Cape for 18 years has been Lead Pastor at Covenant Community Church since August 2010. Pete and his wife Gretchen have two children; Caleb and Anna, and two dogs. He enjoys reading, attending his kids sporting events, the Red Sox, and when he's lucky an occasional round of golf. Pete graduated from Gordon College and has taken classes at Bethel Seminary of the East. 

  • Pastor Mike Woodward serves as Lead Pastor at Ocean State Baptist Church in Smithfield, RI, a church whose mission is "To grow followers of Jesus Christ for the neighborhood and the world."  He also serves as an Affiliate Professor of Christian Ministry at Boston Baptist College where he teaches spiritual development.  Michael and his wife have two children, Jake and Eve and they live in Smithfield, RI. 

  • Joe Loud is a native Cape Codder who grew up in a conservative Christian church environment, then stepped away from church for a period before visiting Cape Cod Church with his young family in 2014. Since then, through participation in visitor assimilation events and small groups, he has been discipled from "seeker/visitor" to group leader and serving member of the church. Joe works in Plymouth and lives in Sandwich with his wife Amy and their superhero son, Lukas.