Speakers and Sessions

Watch 2017 Keynote addresses

Morning session

Afternoon session

Keynote Speaker: Ed Stetzer, Ph.D. 

Recognized as one of the foremost thinkers in Christianity today, prolific writer and well-known conference presenter, Pastor Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, and trained pastors and church planters on six continents.
He currently serves as the teaching pastor at Christ Fellowship, a multi-cultural megachurch in Miami, Florida, and has been serving as the co-host of the BreakPoint This Week radio program with John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.
Click on session titles to view video of the session.


THIS THING CALLED LOVE: THE MYSTERIES OF INTIMACY. Aaron and Nikki Baart: Talking about sex in healthy ways seems to be difficult for Christians. We’ll talk about why we need to develop a healthy, Biblically-grounded and grace-based approach to sexuality in marriage. 

HOPE FOR IMPERFECT PARENTS. Dr. Shawn Scholten and Dr. Dayton Vogel: Whether you’re nurturing children in the nest or helping them launch, we’ll offer valuable tips to encourage you at each stage of parenting. Expect opportunities to ask questions and participate in discussions about situations you face every day, including both the challenges and the bright spots. 

VULNERABLE PARENTING: FINDING JOY IN THE HARD STUFF. Tara Boer: The task of raising whole-hearted children in a shame-filled world is nearly over-whelming. We have to confront the hard stuff with courage and find joy in being able to lead our children through the pain. By practicing vulnerability and true connection, we can help our children feel completely worthy and loved in the safety of our homes. 


PRAISE TEAM LAB. Deb Vogel: This praise team rehearsal demonstrates how to modify contemporary songs into something your congregation can actually sing, and will look at effective ways to utilize volunteer vocalists. No matter what your worship style, this session will model some helpful tips for praise team singers and worship planners.

WORSHIP PLANNERS ROUNDTABLE. Missy Mulder: In these roundtable discussions we will share insights and ideas on structuring worship services and leading worship teams.

USING INSTRUMENTS TO CULTIVATE CHRIST-CENTERED WORSHIP. Seth and Rebekah Dekkenga: The founders of Shift115 Worship Collective will share their insights on how to incorporate instruments into worship as curators: caring for, pastoring, shepherding, and creating context for the Gospel story we’re a part of.


STICKY FAITH 101. Bob Cleveringa: Research documented by Fuller Youth Institute and continued involvement in youth ministry touch the passion Bob has for helping youth discover and grow into a faith that sticks after they graduate from high school. Findings and resources published by Fuller will be shared, as well as practical ways you can help your church understand and implement the culture shift needed to help our youth grow with a faith that sticks.

YOUTH GROUP 101. Emily Entsminger: Have you ever gotten to Tuesday night and stressed because you had nothing planned for youth group the next day? Do you wonder if you are leading your students in effective ways? Get some practical tips and suggestions that you could implement in your youth group tomorrow as we walk through a lesson, talk about leading a discussion, and share ideas together. 

MINISTRY TO TEENS IN THE BIBLE BELT. Panel discussion lead by Youth Pastor Chad Van Ginkel: If you want to know more about how to lead a vibrant and effective teen ministry in your church, come and hear first- hand from teens.

Tech Media

SOUND TECHNICIAN 101. Dale Tabbert: This hands-on session for beginners with Dale Tabbert from Absolute Productions will give you the skills to set up microphones and speakers and other basic audio functions needed during a church service.

ADVANCED SOUND TECH. Dale Tabbert: A more in-depth understanding of the sound tech skills. This hands-on session with Dale Tabbert from Absolute Productions will explore the sound board and more advanced needs related to microphones and speakers.


WHAT DO YOU KNOW BY HEART? PREACHING WHEN YOU’VE RUN OUT OF WORDS. Tim Brown: Dallas Willard once wrote, “If I had to choose between all the disciplines of the spiritual life, I would choose Bible memorization, because it is a fundamental way of filling our mind with what it needs.” Dallas Willard isn’t alone in this conviction. He is simply echoing Jesus, the Twelve, and early Church. Turning on this ancient/future conviction we will learn and practice together ways to keep on faithfully preaching when you have no more words to say. 

WHAT DO YOU KNOW BY HEART? PRAYING WHEN YOU’VE RUN OUT OF WORDS. Tim Brown: Borrowing from the prayer practices of the Rabbis, Jesus, and the early Church, we will imagine and practice together a counter-cultural way of praying that relocates the source of our praying life from the flimsiness of our best intentions and the fickleness of our human hearts to the artisan well of the Word. In this session we learn and practice together ways to keep on faithfully praying when you have no more words to pray.  


WISE AS SERPENTS, INNOCENT AS DOVES: WHAT IT MEANS TO BE REFORMED IN TODAY’S CULTURE. Jemar Tisby: The historic Protestant Reformation primarily began as a movement to reform the Church, not the non-Christian world. Activists wanted Christianity to change so it would more closely resemble the vision set forth in the Bible. Being Reformed in today’s culture carries the same mission. What aspects of the Church need reformation today? How do we interact with other Christians who share the same faith but differ with us on views of politics, gender, class, race, and more? In what ways have believers given up biblical views for cultural ones, and what do we do about it? This workshop won’t answer every question, but it will help you develop a semper reformanda, “always reforming”, disposition toward your own faith and the church that nurtures it.

THE RIPPLE EFFECT OF YOUR LEADERSHIP TEAMS. Rick Droog: Who is leading your church? Your leadership teams shape the culture, direct the mission, establish the vision, and model the values of your church. In this session we will talk about various types of church leadership formations or structures and also discuss some different strategic planning tools. As goes the leadership team, so go most other teams in your church because it sets the pace for almost everything in the life of your congregation.

THE S FACTOR. John Elzinga: In this seminar, John will talk about how we have dysfunctional tendencies in our leadership styles and how ineffective they are. In response to these tendencies you will learn how to move from dysfunctional to impactful leadership. Employing the S Factor is a way of leading that will impact your team in such a way that they will become more effective, happier, and fulfilled.

CARE OF THE SICK AND HURTING. BJ Van Kalsbeek: This session will explore how everyone in the church body can care for the sick and hurting within our church family. 

TOOLS FOR CONGREGATIONAL FAITH FORMATION. Jill Friend: This session will explore the tools available to congregations through Faith Formation Ministries. Five new toolkits will be explored along with suggestions for congregations to contextualize the toolkits for their own congregations. Other resources such as coaching, church workshops, cohort groups, and collaboration with other congregations will also be explored.