Best-selling author James Bryan Smith, will be the featured plenary speaker at the Disciple-Making Church Conference January 21–25 in St. Pete Beach, Florida. 

“The subtitle of the series of The Good and Beautiful God, The Good and Beautiful Life and The Good and Beautiful Community is ‘falling in love with the God Jesus knows,’ ” says Bryan Smith, who will discuss personal narratives of God in his daily plenary addresses at the office of Evangelism–sponsored conference. 

Citing a recent Baylor University study finding that 38 percent of American Christians view God as an angry God, Bryan Smith says: “People have very toxic views of God. To think of God as angry means we keep our distance from God. Yet the God Jesus reveals is beautiful, trustworthy, and loving.”

Bryan Smith believes that the most important thing about someone is what that person thinks about God, which is what he will address at the conference. “Growth in Christ is a mystery; people don’t know how it happens,” he says. “But the first component of transformation is getting one’s narrative of God in line with how Jesus views God.”

This opens the door, Bryan contends, to the practice of spiritual disciplines and discipleship—not as a way to earn favor or merit but to connect to and have communion with God. “A narrative that God wants to have fellowship with you, that your life will begin to function when you have it, changes everything,” he says. “We were created to do good works, as individuals and in community, to welcome people into God’s kingdom, like Jesus did.”

Editor’s Note: The office of Evangelism’s Engage resource will be released as a new curriculum from Congregational Ministries Publishing at the Disciple-Making Church Conference. To celebrate this release, Presbyterian Mission Agency is offering a special registration rate for the conference of only $100.  Register now.