Workshops & Plenaries


Plenary 1: Inhabiting Place – The Wild Way of the Church

with Christiana Rice

As society woos us toward a more virtual and disembodied expression of the church, what is the invitation of Christ, who took on flesh and inhabited a world in need of tangible love? Could it be that this two dimensional connectivity is constraining our faith and limiting our collective power to confront injustice and live as a sacramental presence of love? Let’s reimagine and reengage our wild roots in Christ as we learn to be the church in our neighborhoods.

Plenary 2:  The Shalom-Making Church – Imaginative Practices for Public Witness

with Rev. José Humphreys 

In this new season where church finds itself, healing, bridging and repairing the breaches are a necessity for any church embarking into mission in 2021. As shalom-makers, what is the potential “leap into faith” we can begin to consider endeavoring forth? This talk will highlight 3 postures and practices grounded in imagination, communal self-reflection, and interpreting the heavenly data for our work with established churches and church plants to consider.

Plenary 3: The Myth of Control & the Art of Loving our Neighbors

with Maria-José “Coté” Soerens

How do we break away from structures that stifle innovation? Jesus’ command to Love God and Neighbor as Ourselves is an invitation to creativity, freedom, and adventure. In this session we will look at the relationship between Love and Risk as a framework for Church Renewal. 


Detailed schedule with workshop times (PDF)

Anabaptist Distinctives in Church Planting

Led by Ryan Braught and Nate Polzin

The Church of the Brethren heritage is a distinctive and magnetic expression of the Christian faith. We believe the beliefs and practices of the Church of the Brethren are uniquely suited to reach this generation with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, leading many of us to plant new communities of faith rooted in the Church of the Brethren.

What is it that makes a Church of the Brethren church plant distinctive? This workshop will explore the fascinating confluence of Radical Pietistic and Anabaptist thought that gave rise to our movement. We will illustrate how those beliefs are embodied and practiced in modern church plants and how we can use them to establish even more new congregations of the Church of the Brethren. Anyone interested in planting a new Brethren congregation, supporting new ministries, or congregational renewal will benefit from this workshop

Do This: Ordinances and Community Discipleship

Led by Josh Brockway

We don’t think ourselves into new ways of being, we practice ourselves into new ways of being. For the early Brethren, practices of faith, especially the ordinances, were just as important as what they believed. The entire Brethren movement began with the action of baptizing. In this session we will explore the role of practices and ordinances in the shaping of our communities of faith into more Christ-like communities. We will discuss the importance of practices in formation and the larger cycle of practices shaping behaviors, behaviors shaping habits, and habits shaping ideas. 

Don’t Lose Focus of Your Calling during Difficult Times!
No Pierdas el Enfoque de tu Llamado Durante Tiempos Dificiles! 

Led by Lidia Gonzalez and Raul Gonzalez

En este taller los pastores Raúl y Lidia Gonzáles hablan sobre las luchas del profeta Habacuc, quien perdió de vista la instrucción de Dios y lo relacionan con los plantadores de iglesias y sus luchas cuando surgen conflictos con su llamado a obedecer la instrucción de Dios.  

In this workshop Pastors Raul and Lidia Gonzalez speak on the struggles of the Prophet Habakkuk, who lost sight of God’s instruction and relates it to church planters and their struggles when conflicts arise with the call to obey instructions from God.  

Exegeting (Understanding) Your Neighborhood

Led by Ryan Braught

Many of us have been taught how to exegete (i.e. to interpret) the Scriptures as a part of our leadership within the church.  But how many of us, as part of our leadership within the church, have been taught how to exegete the neighborhoods in which we live, work, worship and play in?  To faithfully do ministry in our neighborhoods,  we must know what good news is for the people within our own contexts.  And we can’t do that unless we exegete the neighborhoods.  This workshop will give you the tools and resources that will help you faithfully interpret your community and understand what good news is to the people that God has sent you to. 

Flourishing Multivocational Ministry: What Does THAT Look Like?

Led by Dana Cassell

There is plenty of research and writing about how to thrive in ministry, but life for multi-vocational ministers often looks very different than it does for our full-time colleagues. How can part-time, bivocational and multivocational ministers find ways of flourishing in our many ministry contexts? This session will use researcher Matt Bloom’s work on “Flourishing in Ministry” to explore possibilities. 

How Leadership Must Change for The Incarnational Church Plant

Led by David Fitch

David Fitch, a veteran of seven church plants of various kinds, discusses how leadership in a church im-planted in a context for mission must differ from more traditional forms of church leadership. He will discuss the posture of leadership, the co-vocational nature of such leadership, the polycentric multiple leadership structure, the 15-hr rule (no leader works more than 15 hours a week in the work of organizing church), and many other aspects of the leadership needed to engage context and sustain leaders together in the work of mission in church planting.

A Nonviolence method of Transforming Trauma

Led by Samuel Sarpiya

Fighting injustice can trigger trauma; we need to learn how to process it and take healing action.

Mental disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression are prevalent in conflict-affected cities, countries, and regions. But there has been little focus on other reactions to extreme forms of injustice, such as explosive anger that ensured as a result of PTSD. Women and minority community may be at unique risk of fierce outrage because of the particular conditions of human rights violations and hardships they suffer in today’s settings, including exposure to racial and gender-specific abuses and bearing a disproportionate burden concerning poverty and child-rearing. Explosive anger, in turn, may impact minority and women’s health and their interpersonal interactions in the family and the wider community. At a more general level, it is crucial to determine whether high levels of anger amongst minority community undermine the critical role they play in achieving social stabilization and development in the aftermath of conflict.1

Since conflict has become eminent, can the nonviolence method be of any help in transforming trauma? My workshop would attempt to show the connection and possibility for which a nonviolence approach can help an already traumatized person providing such individual with skill to develop nonviolence resilience and, therefore, be reintegrated to society, thereby becoming a productive, constructive contributor in developing a peaceful future.

1 Steel Z, Chey T, Silove D, Marnane C, Bryant RA, et al. (2009) Association of Torture and Other Potentially Traumatic Events With Mental Health Outcomes Among Populations Exposed to Mass Conflict and Displacement. JAMA 302: 537–549.

The Promise of Church in Hard Places

Led by Darryl Williamson

This workshop will address why establishing churches in neglected communities will not only bring spiritual and holistic restoration to those neighborhoods but will also usher in a mission movement in cities across the national landscape. The vision of the Crete Collective will be presented as the profile of a church planting and revitalization movement toward those communities.

Racial Justice, Discipleship & Evangelism in These Times

Led by Rev LaDonna Sanders Nkosi

As we purpose to seek God’s racial justice in these times, the ministry of Jesus offers patterns and foundations for healing racism, Christian discipleship, evangelism and healthy outreach and community building.  Together, we will look at ways both new ministries and established churches have engaged healing racism, outreach and discipleship and through doing so brought and bring new life in congregations, communities and healthy partnerships.  Tools, strategies and resources to apply to your context will be identified.

Recapturing a Pioneering Heart

Led by Jody Romero

Abraham was instructed to GO to a land he would “eventually” be shown. Pharaoh was commanded by God to let His people GO, so that they could be free from the shackles of slavery and eventually enter their promised land. Jesus’ final commandment to the disciples was, GO and make disciples of all of the nations. The people of God have always been a GOing people… a PIONEERING people. How do we recapture the pioneering heart in a settling world? How do we begin to pioneer from within a settling church? How do we find the courage to GO, when the culture says STAY? These are the questions we will navigate through together.

Renewing an Older Congregation by Becoming a Missional Community

Led by Susan Liller

Come hear the story of how an established church of a handful of elderly people, and a new church plant of inner-city people worked together to become a body of believers worshiping and working as one.  Learn how this coming together has renewed ministry on one corner in the inner-city of Dayton, Ohio.  Learn what worked and what did not work as the two groups worked at coming together, things you may want to try to renew a congregation.

Restoring Congregational Vitality

Led by Galen Hackman

The shifting landscape of culture and technology have rendered many congregations less than vibrant and vital, with aging members, ineffective methods and limited resources. Reclaiming vitality lies close to the heart of God for his people. The church, being the Body of Christ, is a pneumatic (spirit-birthed, spirit-led and spirit-empowered) community. Renewal comes through intentionally tapping into the spiritual resources given to us by Christ, the head of the church, and the courageous following of the people of the congregation. This workshop considers the spiritual and practical elements of congregational restoration.

ReWilding: Practices for an Embodied Church

Led by Christiana Rice

Practices of an embodied church hold the possibility of confronting everyday inequities, healing local communities and igniting a movement of God’s transformation around the world, one neighborhood at time. Let’s reimagine and reengage our wild roots in Christ as we learn to be the church in our neighborhoods.

Short-Term Strategic Planning… for Pirates! 

Led by Jeremy Ashworth

Do you lead a smaller church with limited resources?  Are you tired of “too much talk and not enough action” church meetings?  Perhaps you want to generate some ministry momentum but aren’t sure how?  Do you have (or need?) a sense of humor?  This simple, action-based seminar can help any church of any size be more intentional about new ministry right now.  Peg leg and eye patch optional!  Arr!  

Technology in the Life of the Church

Led by Dan Poole

We will discuss the theological implications of the use of technology in ministry. Just because we have these wonderful tools at our disposal does not require us to use them. But if we are going to use them in the life of the church, how can we be sure that we are using them responsibly? We will explore some practical aspects of technology – from social media, to websites, to online forms of worship.

Trusting God, Trusting Neighbors: Mobilizing Power and Assets in the Neighborhood

Led by Maria-José “Coté” Soerens

Despite our best intentions for missional engagement congregations can sometimes have an awkward relationship with the communities where we worship and serve. In this workshop we will explore practical ways to engage our communities in liberating, collaborative, and generative ways that build belonging and common mission.