James Bryan Smith

Speaker Bio | Jim is the Executive Director of the Apprentice Institute at Friends University where he is currently a theology professor.  With a Master of Divinity from Yale University Divinity School and a Doctorate of Ministry from Fuller Seminary, he is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. He is the author of eight books, most notably The Apprentice Series (InterVarsity Press), which continue to shape the work of the Apprentice Institute. Dr. Smith’s other titles include Devotional Classics (with Richard J. Foster), Embracing the Love of God, Room of Marvels, and Hidden in Christ.  His newest trilogy (first book released in fall 2017) is entitled The Magnificent Story and is a look at beauty, goodness and truth through the lens of the gospels.

aTalk | Discovering a Gospel of Beauty, Goodness and Truth

Workshop | The Magnificent Story: Uncovering a Gospel of Beauty, Goodness and Truth 

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Juanita Rasmus

Speaker Bio | Juanita Rasmus is a pastor, Spiritual Director, and contemplative with a passion for outreach to our world’s most impoverished citizens. Pastor Juanita co-pastors the St. John’s United Methodist Church located in Downtown Houston with her husband, Rudy. In 2009, Juanita was diagnosed with kidney cancer, but she wasn’t afraid. Instead, she waited to see what lesson the disease would bring.In August 2010, The Art Project Houston (TAPH) was launched, emerging from Juanita’s recovery from cancer. TAPH is a therapeutic art program for the homeless, hungry, and transitioning community of Houston and those concerned about their plight. During her battle to recovery, Juanita rediscovered her identity as an artist and wanted to share with others how art became such a vital part of her healing journey. Her desire for the project is to help people express their creativity, thus empowering them through artistic endeavors.  Juanita also has a presence in the blogging community.

aTalk | Beauty and Creativity: A Means for Awakening
This plenary will speak on beauty as a means of rediscovering what it means to be fully human, fully alive. The Art Project Houston utilizes simple art making and the cultivation of the awareness of beauty to empower Houston’s homeless and marginalized neighbors. The engagement with beauty becomes the means for reclaiming and transforming the least, last and suffering among us!

Workshop | Doodles with God
We will give ourselves permission to see the beautiful in our lives amidst the abstract creation of Doodle Art. Doodle Art as a means of being present to the great creator! This workshop will be hands on. No art experience needed just a willingness to behold the beautiful!


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Tim Keel

Speaker Bio | Tim is the founding pastor of Jacob’s Well Church in Kansas City, Missouri. After spending 11 years at Jacob’s Well, Tim and his family moved to Auckland, New Zealand (January 2010), where he was the Senior Fellow for Congregational Studies at Laidlaw College. After teaching there for two years, he returned to Jacob’s Well in 2011 to serve as senior pastor. Tim is married to Mimi and they have three children: Mabry, Annelise, and Blaise. Tim has a BFA in Design and Illustration from the University of Kansas and a MDiv from Denver Seminary. He is the author of Intuitive Leadership: Embracing a Paradigm of Metaphor, Narrative, and Chaos (Baker, 2007). 

Intensive Pre-Session | Missional Church Leadership
Mission and ministry in the West are in flux! Too often each have been reduced to a pragmatic search for easily adoptable models that promise immediate impact. Within that framework, leadership is reduced to implementation of these models and methods. How can leaders become aware of the subtler factors of how God works in a context and how a leader influences a community to impact an environment? Over the course of this one-day workshop we explore the ways in which mission to the West is a contextual, theological, and structural challenge that requires deep engagement in each.  We will also examine how personal dynamics inform and shape the habits and practices of leaders in the church communities they lead. We will explore this challenge with particular reference to the local church’s participation in what the Spirit is doing in and for the life of the world through Jesus Christ.

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Dr. Angela Reed

Speaker Bio | Dr. Angela Reed is Associate Professor of Practical Theology and Director of Spiritual Formation at Baylor University’s Truett Seminary. She teaches and writes about spiritual formation and prayer in community, with a special focus on spiritual guidance relationships. She is the author of Quest for Spiritual Community: Reclaiming Spiritual Guidance for Contemporary Congregations and co-author of Spiritual Companioning: A Guide to Protestant Theology and Practice which received the Dallas Willard Center book award for 2016. Dr. Reed’s passion for spiritual formation and church life extends to the practical. She worked in youth and young adult ministry for several years and continues to serve as a spiritual director for individuals and small groups.

Workshop | Spiritual Companioning: Exploring the Art of Listening for the Soul
The work of God in the human soul is a beautiful thing, yet we often find it difficult to recognize God’s presence and activity in our everyday lives. We need spiritual friends to help us identify the invitations of God and hold us accountable as we respond, but these kinds of formative relationships may be few and far between. This workshop considers the New Testament call to companioning in the example of Jesus, addresses the challenges of building companioning relationships, explores the art and practical skills of listening for the soul, and ponders the possibility of developing a broader culture of soul conversation in the life of a community.

David/Beth Booram

Speaker Bio | Beth and David Booram are founders and directors of Sustainable Faith Indy, an urban retreat center in Indianapolis, where they joyfully practice Benedictine hospitality to hundreds of individuals each year. In addition, they facilitate the School of Spiritual Direction, offer spiritual direction, career counseling and facilitate contemplative retreats. Beth is the author of Starting Something New: Spiritual Direction for Your God-given Dream and co-author of Awaken Your Senses.

Workshop | Discernment: The Ancient Art of Choosing Well
It may be argued that the quality of our life is determined by the quality of our decisions. Yet many of us have little idea how to knowingly approach important forks in the road, let alone discern which way to go. The ancient art of choosing well has a strong history in the Christian tradition. In this workshop, Beth and David Booram, experienced spiritual directors, will provide the basics of this invaluable spiritual practice. You will leave with some tools and decision-making templates for the next time you face a dilemma that needs discernment.

Wil Hernandez

Speaker Bio | Wil is a counselor, spiritual director, and retreat leader who regularly teaches on the spirituality of Henri Nouwen in various Catholic and Protestant institutions across the U.S. and abroad. He is the author of a trilogy on Nouwen and a recently released 4th book called Mere Spirituality: The Spiritual Life According to Henri Nouwen. Aside from managing the Nouwen Legacy Associates (www.nouwenlegacy.com), Wil serves as the executive director of CenterQuest—an ecumenical hub for the study and practice of Christian spirituality (www.CQCenterQuest.org).

Workshop | Henri Nouwen: A Sacred Companion
In his life and ministry, Nouwen modeled what true spiritual accompaniment is about. Whether as a spiritual friend, guide, mentor, or a spiritual director, he companioned people on their journey in a holistic and integrated fashion. This workshop will not only provide you insights into Nouwen’s unique philosophy of companioning but also some practical ways you can apply his lived-out principles in your own ministry settings.

Sharon Garlough Brown

Speaker Bio | Sharon is an author, retreat speaker, and spiritual director. A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, Sharon has served on the pastoral staff of congregations in Scotland, Oklahoma, England, and most recently in West Michigan, where she co-pastored Redeemer Covenant Church with her husband, Jack, for many years. Her spiritual formation novels, Sensible Shoes, Two Steps Forward, and Barefoot, follow the journey of characters who are learning to rest in the love of God. Her fourth novel in the Sensible Shoes series, An Extra Mile, will be released by InterVarsity Press in 2018. 

aTalk | Stewarding Thorns: Embracing Weakness as a Pathway of Beauty
Weaknesses, insults, hardships; these aren’t the sort of things we typically file under the hashtag “blessed”. But the apostle Paul insists that these types of thorns can provide a pathway toward deepening intimacy with Christ. How do we steward the experiences we wish God would remove? And can we find a pathway of beauty in the midst of the struggle?

Workshop | Going Deeper: Spiritual Practices for Cultivating Humility
Following on her keynote address, Sharon Garlough Brown explores the particular practices that can help us embrace God’s strength in the midst of weakness and discover a deeper way of resting in the power and love of God.

Intensive Pre-Session | Finding Our Stories within The Story
Join author Sharon Garlough Brown for a day of exploring how spiritual practices can help us pay attention to the unfolding narratives of our lives. Through prayer and reflection we’ll discover ways to keep company with the God who calls us beloved and who longs to reveal his presence in the midst of the daily stories we live and tell.

Brian Zahnd

Speaker Bio | Brian is the founder and lead pastor of Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Missouri. As the lead pastor he is the primary preacher during our weekend services, and he oversees the direction of the church. Pastor Brian is a passionate reader of theology and philosophy, an avid hiker and mountain climber, and authority on all things Bob Dylan.  He and his wife, Peri, have three adult sons and five grandchildren. He is the author of several books, including Unconditional?,Beauty Will Save the World,A Farewell To Mars, and Water To Wine. 

aTalk | Beauty Will Save the World
In a culture suspicious of Christian ethics (the Good) and Christian apologetics (the True), Christian aesthetics (the Beautiful) is perhaps the best way to communicate the gospel of Christ.

Workshop | The Trellis: The Value of Liturgy in Spiritual Formation 

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Suzanne Stabile

Speaker Bio | Suzanne Stabile is a highly sought after speaker and teacher, known for her engaging laugh, personal vulnerability and creative approach to Enneagram instruction.  As an internationally recognized Enneagram Master, Suzanne has conducted over 500 Enneagram workshops over the past 25 years.  Additionally, she has taught at Richard Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation and has been a keynote speaker for a number of Conferences offered by the CAC.  Suzanne received her B.S. in Social Sciences from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas where she also completed additional graduate work in the Schools of Sociology and Theology. She has served as a high school professor, the first women’s basketball coach at SMU after Title IX, and as the founding Director of Shared Housing, a social service agency in Dallas. When she is not on the road teaching and lecturing, Suzanne is at home in Dallas, Texas with her husband Rev. Joseph Stabile, a United Methodist pastor with whom she co-founded Life in the Trinity Ministry and the Micah Center. She is the mother of four children and grandmother of six. 

Intensive Pre-Session (w/ Cron) | The Road Back to You: Looking at the Spiritual Life Through the Lens of the Enneagram
Participants in this intensive will discover a framework for beginning to live into our more authentic selves by understanding the fundamental assumptions through which each Enneagram type views themselves and the world and how each of the numbers affect our spiritual journey. By the end of the conference, each participant will have identified, or be close to identifying, his or her Enneagram number.  Those who already have a good idea about their Enneagram number will find their knowledge refreshed and deepened. Ian and Suzanne are recognized national experts and some of the best teachers / storytellers you will encounter.

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Alan Fadling

Speaker Bio | Alan Fadling (M. Div., Fuller Theological Seminary) is President and Founder of Unhurried Living, Inc. in Mission Viejo, CA, inspiring people to rest deeper, live fuller and lead better. He speaks and consults with leaders and their organizations nationally & internationally. He is the award-winning author of An Unhurried Life (IVP 2013).

Workshop | An Unhurried Leader: The Lasting Fruit of Daily Influence
In this workshop, Alan Fadling will unfold what it means for leaders to let Jesus set the pace. Through biblical illustrations, personal examples, and on-the-ground leadership wisdom, Alan will guide you into a new view of kingdom leadership. We will focus on insights and practices to help you work with God at a more livable and fruitful pace.

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J. Dana Trent

Speaker Bio | J. Dana Trent is an adjunct faculty member at Wake Tech Community College, a speaker and workshop leader, and a grant writer. She is the author of For Sabbath’s Sake: Embracing Your Need for Rest, Worship, and Community (Upper Room Books, 2017) and Saffron Cross: The Unlikely Story of How a Christian Minister Married a Hindu Monk (Fresh Air Books, 2013). She and her husband, Fred Eaker, live in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Workshop | For Sabbath’s Sake: A Spiritual Practice of Finding Beauty in Rest, Worship, and Community
In the age of 24/7, we feel frenzied and rushed. We don’t spend time on the restorative practice of being present. Secretly, we fear stepping out of the ordinary and into the sacred, because it means facing the bigger questions of meaning-making. This is not what God intended for us. Sabbath is embracing the beauty that will save us: time for joy, wonder, play, rest, worship, and gathered community. This workshop will explore how to use the ancient practice of sabbath to heal modern woes. What does it mean to step out of chaos in order to find beauty? How will sabbath save us and the world?

SoCe Life

Speaker Bio | Neighboring Movement.org by SoCe Life researches, practices and teaches about neighboring. We are seeking out neighboring initiatives around the country to study the best practices of good neighboring. We aim to live out good neighboring in our community, the South Central (SoCe) neighborhood of Wichita, KS. We package our knowledge and share with individuals, communities, and organizations who want to be better neighbors.

Tish Harrison Warren

Speaker Bio | Tish is a priest in the Anglican Church in North America. After eight years with InterVarsity Graduate and Faculty Ministries at Vanderbilt and The University of Texas at Austin, she now serves as Co-Associate Rector at Church of the Ascension in Pittsburgh, PA. She writes regularly for The Well, CT Women, and Christianity Today. Her work has also appeared in Christ and Pop Culture, Art House America, Anglicanpastor.com, and elsewhere. She is author of Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life (IVP).  She and her husband Jonathan have two young daughters. 

aTalk | Beauty as Mission: How the church’s call to beauty and truth are entwined
We can often set beauty and truth against each other, as if the truth of the gospel is the sharp-elbowed, doctrinal, linear orthodoxy and beauty is its softening ornamentation. Or we can think that beauty is what truly matters and any notion of truth, doctrine, or orthodoxy are religious buzz kills that take us away from an encounter with transcendence. But if Christ’s life and message is to be believed, truth and beauty are inseparably part of each other and part of gospel wholeness. How can we hold truth and beauty, orthodoxy and glory, together? If the church is to survive and proclaim the holistically true and beautiful gospel, we must.

Workshop | Savoring on Sunday
The ancient symbols, calendar, and aesthetics of the church call us to truth and what that means for the future of worship. We will look at practices of beauty and pleasure in gathered worship, how that shapes our daily life, and talk practically about how to include these practices in our contemporary churches.

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Michael Card

Speaker Bio | In a career that spans 30 years, Michael Card has recorded over 33 albums, authored or co-authored over 25 books, hosted a radio program, and written for a wide range of magazines. While he has penned such favorites as “El Shaddai”, “Love Crucified Arose”, and “Emmanuel,” He never imagined selling more than 4 million albums or writing over 19 #1 hits. The popularity of his work seemed a stark contrast to his goal in life, to simply and quietly teach the Bible. 

Intensive Pre-Session | Hesed
An exploration of the word and the reality of lovingkindness as expressed in Scripture. Our working translation: “When the person from whom I have a right to expect nothing, gives me everything.”

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John Robinson

Speaker Bio | John is an international teacher, speaker and pastor from Melbourne, Australia. He is the founding Director of the LightStream Institute, a spiritual formation ministry serving the Asia/Pacific region. John has a vision to create learning environments where authentic apprentices of Jesus become fully alive and freely aligned within the flow of God’s sending love. His ultimate dream is to see communities of people become agents of transformation in God’s strong and unshakable Kingdom. 

Intensive Pre-Session | Beauty from Ashes
All of us are broken people in need of restoration. Very often the messiness of our lives can leave us feeling stuck in shame without hope for the future. The good news is that God’s Spirit not only specialises in renovating the ruins of our lives, but delights in doing so. You are the Renovator’s delight!

This workshop unpacks the ways in which the Holy Spirit is brooding over all that is dark, formless and empty so that it may be renewed (Gen 1:2). We also explore how we can be active participants in Spirit’s mission to create beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:1-3).

Michael Williams

Speaker Bio | Michael Williams was educated at Vanderbilt University, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and holds a PhD from Northwestern University. Michael has been a featured teller at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, and has taught workshops on writing and storytelling across the country. He is the author or editor of twenty-one nonfiction books, most recently Spoken into Being: Divine Encounters through Story, Upper Room Books, 2017, and has written three plays that have been produced. His poetry chapbook, Take Nothing for Your Journey, was published by Finishing Line Press, and FLP will publish his second chapbook, The Khristos Cantos, in 2017. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and, while he was a student there, a collection of his poems was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize at Northwestern University. He serves at Writer/Storyteller-in-Residence at Martin Methodist College in Tennessee.

Workshop | Spoken into Being: Divine Encounters through Story
Everyone has a story and everyone can tell their story. Just by living our lives we are creating stories every day, and those stories collect around certain people places and things the way iron filings constellate around magnetic poles. Some of those stories are sacred stories, revealing divine encounters, communicating the presence of the holy in our midst. This presentation will explore the people, places and things that are magnetic poles for encounters with the divine in our lives. These stories gather around our windows into God, our sacred places, and our holy relics. Participants will have opportunities to share stories with a partner or two. Together we can develop some basic storytelling skills as we unearth some of the divine encounters that surround us daily.

Mike King

Speaker Bio | Mike is in his 42nd year in youth ministry and serves as President/CEO of Youthfront. Youthfront provides youth ministry programs, services, resources and training. Mike has served as an Elder and a Pastor in his church in Midtown Kansas City – Jacob’s Well, and is an adjunct Professor at Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City. Mike is a Senior Advisor for Museum of the Bible opening in Washington DC in November 2017.  Mike’s book Presence Centered Youth Ministry: Guiding Students into Spiritual Formation (InterVarsity Press) has received widespread critical acclaim.  Mike and his wife, Vicki, live in Kansas City. They have two sons and a daughter, all happily married, and six grandchildren.

Workshop | The Passionate Praying Youth Worker
We agree – prayer is important. But, do we pray? Do we pray as a way of life and ministry? Do we pray without ceasing as Paul instructed the Thessalonians to do? Is that even possible? We will discuss ways to incorporate prayer into your way of ministry, your way of relationships, your way of life. A youth worker who prays can create a culture of young people who also discover prayer as a way of life and a way of being Christian. We will examine the corpus of prayer practices throughout Christian History and Thought.

Casey Tygrett

Speaker Bio | Casey Tygrett is the author of Becoming Curious: A Spiritual Practice of Asking Questions (IVP). He is a pastor, writer, and spiritual director and he and his family live in Rockford, IL. You can find more of Casey’s writing at http://www.caseytygrett.com/

Workshop | Engaging the Spiritual Practice of Curiosity
Curiosity is “native software” – we come out of the womb as curious people, and the way we find our way in the world is to ask the questions that matter most. In this workshop Casey Tygrett, author of Becoming Curious: A Spiritual Practice of Asking Questions will give daily practices for re-engaging that childlike curiosity when it comes to our own spiritual formation.

“Hans Urs von Balthasar said, “Within the beautiful the whole person quivers.” We need a story that makes us quiver. Not with fear but with delight. We need a story so big that we will never be able to grasp it; so vast that it can handle the darkness of evil and suffering; so immense that it can make sense of cancer and terrorism.”

― James Bryan Smith, The Magnificent Story

“We begin our journey to freedom when we go back to the places where we were spiritually, emotionally, and mentally wounded. But this time we go with God’s presence, help, and strength. No matter how frightening and messy it feels, God invites us to trust him. The Lord does some of his most beautiful work in the midst of the messiness and brokenness of our lives.”

― Sharon Garlough Brown, Sensible Shoes

“The new life into which we are baptized is lived out in days, hours, and minutes. God is forming us into a new people. And the place of that formation is in the small moments of today.”

― Tish Harrison Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life

“Our task is not to protest the world into a certain moral conformity, but to attract the world to the saving beauty of Christ.”

― Brian Zahnd, Beauty Will Save the World: Rediscovering the Allure and Mystery of Christianity

“Inside each number is a hidden gift that reveals something about God’s heart. So when you are tempted to prosecute yourself for the flaws in your own character, remember that each type is at its core a signpost pointing us to travel toward and embrace an aspect of God’s character that we need.”

– Ian Morgan Cron & Suzanne Stabile, The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self Discovery