We like to describe Summit as mini-conferences within a large conference. Rather than hosting a conference with scores of standalone classes, Summit 2019 included 20 full-day and half-day pathways, providing the opportunity for participants to investigate vital spiritual topics in an in-depth manner.
We hope you experienced community, gained spiritual insights, and engaged in conversations that matter with others in the pathways you attended.
Hearing Scripture told to us offers a vastly different encounter than reading it silently to ourselves (or even hearing it read aloud). It’s an experience that blesses both hearers and tellers, and the inherently relational experience builds community and deepens intimacy. In this pathway, we’ll have opportunities to hear stories from Scripture, learn to tell stories ourselves, and dream about ways that our churches can experience this unique encounter with God’s word.
The Holy Spirit is no tame Spirit. When the people of God grow comfortable, satisfied, and sleepy, when the call of God’s mission to the whole world recedes, the tendency of the Spirit is to shake up the church and dislodge it from its ease and self-satisfaction. This shake-up is happening to many churches in the West. Many will die, and through the shaking, many will renew or discover a sense of the expansive mission of God and new openness to the Spirit of God. Today the doctrine of the Spirit remains no longer the awkward stepchild of theology but has risen to the center of attention. Why has this happened? Our answer may surprise you.
Leadership’s importance can’t be overestimated. It is not too much of a reach to speak of the “spirituality” of leadership as it works its way into and through the changes, challenges, and progress of our lives and organizations. Tapping into the wealth of experience shared by this lineup of leaders, and set against the background music of the Psalms, these sessions will inspire, inform, and challenge anyone involved in or aspiring to positions of leadership.
We realize that the word home has a variety of meanings to the people of God. For some of our neighbors, home is familiar and congenial, safe and loving. Yet for many, this is not the case. Far too many neighbors are labeled homeless, refugee, housing insecure, and immigrant. In this pathway, we intend to grow together through conversation and self-discovery, learning ways we might be allies and collaborators in the task of understanding and dismantling mechanisms of oppression. We want to learn how to participate in efforts that bridge the gap between oppression and freedom, so that home is a safe, welcoming place. In order to assemble a just world, lovers of Jesus must come together and establish relationships in spite of, and through, the differences that make us beautiful.
Are you curious about the faith journeys of young adults? Join us for a series of conversations featuring ministers, researchers, and students. Over the course of the day, we'll consider a range of topics related to young adults and Christian faith: factors shaping affiliation with faith, the experience of working with young adults in ministry contexts, and research into the spiritual lives of college freshmen. This pathway will conclude with a collaborative session on young adults’ faith formation and race, hosted in partnership with the racial reconciliation pathway: Songs of Sorrow, Songs of Joy.
Churches that want to become more intentionally intergenerational typically raise two questions. The first question is, “How can we bring the generations back together?” The second question—even more important—is, “Why?” That is, what is the evidence that intergenerational approaches are beneficial? Both questions will be explored engagingly, incisively, and experientially. This pathway will briefly share biblical and theological foundations and explore empirical, sociological, and theoretical support for cross-age Christian practices. Along the way, the class will address the “how” question, discussing (and experiencing) several successful emerging intergenerational approaches.
W. E. B. Du Bois called the slave spirituals “Sorrow Songs,” but he found more than sorrow in their rhythm and rhyme: “Through all the Sorrow Songs there breathes a hope—a faith in the ultimate justice of things. The minor cadences of despair change often to triumph and calm confidence. Sometimes it is faith in life, sometimes a faith in death, sometimes assurance of boundless justice in some fair world beyond. But whichever it is, the meaning is always clear: that sometime, somewhere, men will judge men by their souls and not by their skins.” The Sorrow Songs reveal a tension between sorrow and joy, death and life, despair and hope. That same tension permeates the story of race relations and pursuit of justice, healing, and unity in American Christianity. Participants of this pathway prayerfully hope that in 2019 and beyond, faith communities and college campuses will respond creatively to the challenges of racial division, seeking racial healing and Christian unity, crafting new songs of sorrow and joy. Session leaders will explore challenges and opportunities in the work of racial justice, racial healing, and racial unity.
At first glance, the Enneagram (ANY-uh-gram) is a personality typing system that helps us understand who we are and what motivates us. But in reality, it’s so much more than that. Come join Enneagram teachers Chelsie Sargent and Carson Reed to learn which of the nine types you identify with as well as how to use the Enneagram in your own church, work, or family.
For more than 30 years, youth workers have been aware that traditional models of youth ministry have leaned toward consumeristic tendencies that fail to consistently invite young people to lifelong service in the body of Christ. Though many have convincingly argued for causes leading to these phenomena and tendencies of ineffective youth ministry, youth workers need more than a well-defined problem. Recently, the Fuller Youth Institute researched congregations throughout North America who have discovered effective ways for inviting young people to enthusiastically participate in every area of church life. They published the culmination of this research in their latest work, Growing Young. What are these habits and how might a conversation about energizing young people also revitalize an entire congregation? While the Growing Young conversation often starts in youth and college ministry, it quickly moves to all areas of congregation as we discover habits that help a church become the healthiest version of itself. Hear from Growing Young co-author Jake Mulder as well as pastors and ministers from different contexts who are currently trying to lead congregations into growing young.
The data is disarming—Churches of Christ are in decline. But, like Doc Brown told Marty McFly, “Your future hasn’t been written yet.” Come hear research from the front lines of revival and renewal among our churches and inspiring insights from the kingdom of God in a post-Christian world. Well-led congregations will help write our future.
There are 150 psalms in the canon of Scripture; 150 songs to the Lord. And yet, the church is a living, breathing example that our song to the Lord continues. How does a church live—or “sing” —in the midst of sorrow, hope, and joy? This pathway provides conversations about leading in crisis, as well as practical tips on developing young leaders, leading in multicultural settings, and working with teams.
Knowing your number is just the beginning. This class is for people who are looking for what’s next. With more in-depth and practical information, we will discuss specific growth paths for each number. This will include understanding levels of health within your type, achieving balance with your centers of intelligence (Thinking, Feeling, and Doing), and how to best use your stress and security arrows. TICKETED EVENT.
Scripture tells us to go to all nations; yet the church often struggles at the intersection of different cultures. From the center city to the suburbs, cities in North America are increasingly multicultural. While international migration is transforming neighborhoods, individuals are now connected to the larger global world at the push of a button, and shifts in religious belonging are having a profound impact on the outreach of the local church. The discussions in this pathway will pursue the opportunities and challenges for engaging discipleship in a multicultural society.
Small churches are wonderful precisely the way they are, yet there often remains a frustrating belief that, for these churches to be what God wants, they must become larger. Certainly, growth would be nice, but it is God who makes things grow (1 Corinthians 3:7). Let us remove this pressure and simply be the church, regardless of size.
Our experience of work is rapidly changing. The certainty, longevity, and predictability that workers once felt in the job market no longer existent as technological advances, the gig economy, and shifting social and economic realities contribute to an unsettling and unpredictable experience. How might Christians engage these changing dynamics? In what ways do gender, race, social location, and the American work ethic affect our career path and development? This pathway will discuss ways Christians might engage the changing landscape of work with greater compassion, curiosity, and imagination.
The book of Psalms has provided rich resources for Jewish and Christian worship and ethical reflection for centuries. It still does. The speakers on this panel draw on years of work as scholars and artists to explore the book’s many dimensions as a source for study, prayer, song, and art. As the church’s first song book, Psalms provides language and images for lament and praise, storytelling and the pursuit of wisdom. In short, it helps us be more fully human in our lives before God.
This pathway will explore the role of Christianity in contemporary American politics and the public policy process. It will address questions faced by Christians who are troubled by the political polarization and coarseness of today’s American politics, and concerned about public policies that seem to conflict with religious expression. The destination of this pathway is more informed and responsible engagement in politics that is faithful to one’s Christian commitments and that ultimately fosters a healthy religious civil society. Both Dr. Amy Black and Dr. Allen Hertzke bring the expertise, research, and experience to offer insights and ways of thinking about the intersection of religion and politics.
Eddie Sharp and Cheryl Bacon will lead a two-part mini-pathway based on their book, Comfort When the Shadow Falls: Encouraging the Dying and Those Affected by Grief. This presentation is a reflective, compassionate, and holistic examination of how Christ calls us to minister in the shadow of death. Not only will we consider the biblical foundation for life, death, and hope, but we will also offer seasoned, practical advice on how to serve the dying, come alongside grieving families, lead in funeral services for expected or sudden losses, and minister to the grieving unchurched in our communities.
In this pathway, the presenters—two young ministers and one professor—will offer a diagnosis and prescription for where churches of Christ find themselves today. We are at a fork in the road, and two routes seem to be our only options: either retrenchment in the beliefs and practices of the restoration movement's last two centuries, or absorption into broader American evangelicalism. Through two sessions, the presenters will argue for a third way, one that affirms our historic identity but roots it more deeply in the universal tradition of Christ's one church, stretching from Pentecost and the time of the apostles through the patristic, medieval, and early modern periods, all the way up to the present. Such a move avoids the anxious desire to meet the felt needs of the "market" while offering a vision of worship and discipleship that, precisely because it is ancient (rather than the latest trend), has something substantial to offer to believers and seekers of all ages today.
Join Jason Byassee for a pathway based on his book, Faithful and Fractured: Responding the the Clergy Health Crisis. Combining the expertise of a health psychology researcher and a leading pastoral theologian, the book brings together the best in social science and medical research, examining the poor health of clergy and exploring what can be done about it. In addition to physical health, Faithful and Fractured treads deep into the territory of mental health and spiritual well-being, and suggests that increasing the presence of positive mental health may prevent future physical and mental health problems for clergy.
Examining Charles Taylor’s assertions about living in the 21st century provides insights about how disciples must healthily navigate this secular age. This pathway will scrutinize how our journey shouldn’t be seen as a battle. Instead, we should recognize all the persistent longings for transcendence that characterize our secular age. To proclaim the gospel in such a context is not a matter of guarding some fortress; it’s an opportunity to invite our friends and neighbors to meet the One they didn’t even realize they’d been longing for.