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Transforming congregations

Conference will ignite, inspire, equip leaders for change

September 24, 2010

LOUISVILLE

Transformation might seem like a broad topic for a conference, but that open-ended description is fitting, said one organizer.

"The church is going to look very different depending on what it's called to be," said the Rev. Philip Lotspeich, coordinator for Church Growth for the ministry area of Evangelism and Church Growth.

The 2010 Transformation Conference — Oct. 18-22 in Fort Worth, Texas — will attempt to address these different "looks" for churches undergoing a transformation, Lotspeich said. The conference is framed around the goals of igniting, inspiring and equipping participants: igniting their passion for Jesus Christ, inspiring them to be the church and do what it is called to do, and equipping them to be the church in the 21st century.

Church growth is moving away from a cookie-cutter approach and is now about encouraging churches to engage with what the Holy Spirit is doing in their communities, Lotspeich said.

Rather than offering several discrete workshops, the conference is organized into six tracks that will give participants the chance to delve deeply into one area of transformation.

The tracks:

  • Cooperative ministry
  • Transformation in multi-ethnic congregations
  • Evangelism and disciple making
  • Nuts and bolts of congregational transformation
  • Leader development
  • Spirituality

The conference was designed to work for all churches, Lotspeich said, adding that while about 80 percent of congregations in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) need to be in some sort of transformation, 100 percent of congregations would benefit from change in some way.

"Once you stop being transformed by the spirit of God, you're dying," he said.

Lotspeich said he is especially excited about the conference's leadership and speakers. Kevin Miller, chief visionary officer of TAG Consulting, is author of the book Transforming Church, which Lotspeich called an essential read. Rex Miller is a futurist and author of the book The Millennium Matrix: Reclaiming the Past and Reframing the Future of the Church.

Lotspeich also emphasized that the conference isn’t about getting congregations to conform to the world, but is rather about connecting in a new context to build the church.

"Where churches start getting in trouble is when they start trying to work against their DNA, the core of who they are," he said. "We hope people leave with a reignited passion for Jesus Christ … and hopefully they'll leave with some tools."

To register for the conference, click here.

There are a limited number of scholarships available for small-church pastors and leaders. Contact program assistant Sherry Britton to learn more.

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