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Hi, I’m Vanessa Yoakem.

Arvada, CO

Experience

Red Rocks Church
Children's Ministry Head Volunteer

Education

Colorado Christian University
BA in Biblical Studies

Church Affiliation

Non-denominational

Years In Ministry

7 years

Personality

ENFP

Skills

Teaching, Writing curriculum, Leadership development, Recruiting, Leading worship

Tools & Software

Microsoft Office Suite, ProPresenter, CCB?, Planning Center?

Personal

Single

Top 3 Strengths

Passionate0%

Team-Oriented0%

Social/People Skills0%

Kid's Pastor Questionnaire Responses
Personal Info
Please share briefly how you became a Christian.
My testimony starts with my childhood. I grew up in a non-Christian home; my parents never believed in God. Growing up in a small, predominately southern Baptist of town was hard since everyone went to church except my family. However, my family is supportive, loving, and caring towards my older brother and me. We moved to Colorado when I was 12 years old and this was the hardest in my life. One day my dad was working outside and passed out unexpectedly. He was rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed with a pulmonary aneurysm. He was given less than 24 hours to live. Miraculously he survived, however, he was laid off due to health concerns. He developed anxiety and depression that has hindered his life to this day. He still suffers from multiple health issues as well as his mental health concerns.

Jumping forward to when I was 18 years old. I met a guy that I fell hard and fast with. At first, it was the perfect late-teenage relationship. It was a loving and caring one with lots of laughs and good memories. After a couple of months of dating, we decided to get engaged. Right afterword everything changed. He started controlling small things in my life like my clothing choices or changing my plans with my friends to instead hanging with him. Then he started to manage my work and school schedule. He wanted me be in school during the time he worked. Then he started making me do things that I could never want to do like sleeping with his friends so he can get money, to be his slave in the housework and the bedroom. He started drinking heavily and began using drugs heavily. Since I was around him and he was my only support at the time, I did what he did. Many times, he physically abused me, and many times, he used verbal and physical aggression. When we finally broke it off, I was so broken that I left my friends and family behind. I moved to Denver and started using online dating to fill all of my emptiness. Most guys I met I slept with and drank with and did drugs together. Most of the time, I would sleep with one guy one night, and the next night, I would have another guy.

I stared making new friends and one day, when my friend finally was able to see how broken I had become, she invited me to a free “concert” at a local amusement park. I walked into the building, and she kept talking to me and letting me new people before they started. When the worship band came on, I immediately got up and tried to leave. My friend quickly said, “they lock the doors” being never in a church service I believed her. I sat there like a little kid, crossing my arms and not listing. Then the pastor started talking about his testimony, including the fact that when he accepted Jesus, there were drugs in his pockets. I accepted Jesus that day and got baptized a few months later. Today I am so in love with Jesus and the life he has given me. I would not change my past at all since it was all to glorify him today.

How would you describe yourself?
  • Fun
  • Motivational
  • Flexible
  • Inspirational
  • Loving
  • Organized
Personality Type
StrengthFinder-
1. Woo
2. Positivity
3. Belief
4. Achiever
5. FuturisticDISC- ISDCMyers Briggs- ENFP
Tell me about some people (i.e. authors, mentors, and ministry leaders) that have had a big impact on you.
Chad Veach- He is one of my favorite pastors. He speaks truth and he shows love to everyone he meets. Watching him and his wife pastor their church as well as raise their children, including a daughter with special needs, helps me see the vision God has put in my heart come to life.
Parents/Volunteers
How do you plan to engage and inform parents or guardians about your ministry objectives and progress?
Encourage and maintain regular interaction between families.
Everyone is treated with respect.
The church culture develops a sense of community and caring relationships.
Parents are involved in church activities.
Everyone feels safe and secure.
Send home a parent and child involvement letter saying what we talked about that week and simple questions to ask during dinner.
Tell me about a time when you developed a new team of volunteers into a strong working group. What did you do?
Working with a church plant it is 100%, new volunteers and new staff. I got to know each volunteer’s likes and dislikes and tried to incorporate it into the classroom. For instance, I had someone who loved to dance. I made them the worship leader for the time being so she can express herself and still have fun with the kids.
How would you alleviate the confusion when you are communicating with volunteers and it becomes apparent that they don’t understand what you’re saying or vice versa?
Always allow questions at the end and be open communication with them. Allow them to express their concerns or ideas with me so they always have the chance to communicate.
Spiritual Growth
Once you lead a student/child to Christ, how do you communicate their decision to their parents? Once a child accepts Christ as their Savior, how do you begin discipling them?
Let them know the simple truths.
Their sin and need for a Savior
The significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection
God’s faithful presence in a believer’s life.
For their parents, I would let the child tell their parents and offer the parents. some resources and offer them to ask any questions they need.
As the spiritual leader of the children’s ministry, how are you going to help volunteers grow in their faith?
Connect them with others- make sure they are able to connect with the kids but also the other volunteers of the rooms.Say thank you often= thank you can go a long way. Saying thank you either by word of mouth or by giving a simple gift card to get coffee you. Pray for them. Give them an opportunity to submit prayer requests weekly, and gather your everyone to pray for them and for the team as a whole.
Ministry Growth
Share with me what you would do to deal with a fast-paced, always changing environment. Have you had this experience in a previous position?
I have been at a church plant. So daily we could have either 20 kids or 1 kid it was different daily. I prefer faster-paced environments just due to my personality.
How would you evaluate systems and structures to see if there could be improvement?
Talk to the volunteers to see if anything they believe might need to be changed. Go into the classroom and observe it to see if anything might need some help.
What was the most creative idea you introduced in your last ministry role? What steps did you take to implement that idea with leadership, volunteers, and families if applicable?
In my internship, they were still using felt boards. I led them to use technology in the classrooms as well as bringing some easy games they can play instead of sitting reading the story and the kids rolled on the floor. I allowed families to see the changes and allowed them to see how it affected the kids.
What goals have you set in the past for your ministry area. Did you accomplish them and if so, how did you accomplish them?
My biggest goal was to update the way they did things. I did update some not all of the things (Budget was the biggest obstacle)
What would it take to grow a children’s/youth program?
God, God allows the ministry to grow. Second is the volunteers if the volunteers are passionate about what they do then the kids will be and would want to come back weekly.
Children come to church with specialized needs, different learning styles, and family stresses. Do you have a strategy to provide significant ministry to meet these needs?
Special needs is a major component of my life. I love working with them and love how they change everyone around them. I want to start a ministry for them. I used to work with families of low income so I learned their challenges and how to help them overcome a lot of them.
Describe the diversity of some of the ministries with which you’ve worked. …races, income levels, perspectives. Were there challenges that caused you to change your ministry approach?
Church: Red Rocks Church
Income levels- Multiple
Races- MultipleChurch: Generations church
Income levels- Lowerclass
Races- MultipleChurch:Westminster
Income levels- Lowerclass and upper-class
Races- White
Is there a process that you go through when choosing a platform for screening volunteers, curriculum choices?
Screening Volunteers- Get coffee with them. Get to know them. Allow them to do a week of shadowing the kids. Then a background check and reference check.
Curriculum- Decide on one and try it for a month if it did not work find out why and see if you can change that only aspect of it or do you have to go with another one.
What have you done in the past to ensure your church has a safe environment for children, including emergency procedures.
Safety should be the first priority. The tag system works great and only allows the parents with that tag to walk into where the children are. If they do not have a tag they are asked not go back. Get to know each parent and child and make sure they are leaving with the right parent. If a parent has concerns about their child being safe around others (for instance an ex-husband/wife that has no rights to the child) let the volunteers know that so they can be extra diligent.

Favorite Bible Story

The Story of Ruth

Favorite Scripture

Deuteronomy 31:6