Breakout Classes

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The New Story We Already Knew: Race, Difference, and Unity at the Heart of the Bible
Sean Palmer (Houston, TX) and John Alan Turner (Atlanta, GA)

The story of scripture has been lost. More so than laws and rules, the Bible is one story bringing the divided world together under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This is the story at the heart of scripture, what God has always been doing, and what we need to return to to bring reconciliation to God's world.


Encouraging Racial Reconciliation through Spiritually Transcendent Worship
Dr. Garry Bailey (ACU) and Samuel Cook (ACU)

To break the cycle of race separation and exclusion at church, this session focuses on identifying transcendent events that can lead a faith community into creating new and inclusive contexts for race reconciliation. This session leads participants to identify and practice spiritual qualities for growing a deep, united fellowship.


How Did We Get Here? Fear, Hatred, and Social Inequalities in the 'Christian' U.S.
Dr. Tanya Hart (Pepperdine University)

Many Christians and non-Christians believe that the United States is, and always has been, a Christian nation, that "city on a hill" that Jesus speaks of in Matthew 5:14. Yet, regardless of where you fall politically, socially or culturally, it's hard to ignore the fear, hatred and divisions in contemporary U.S. society. So - how did we get here? What are the foundations of our current divisions? How did some within an assumed 'Christian' nation create and uphold social inequalities while others simultaneously strove to dismantle and eliminate the same inequalities, to the point that congregations, denominations, movements, and even the nation itself separated, to the point of bloodshed? This session will look broadly at how fear and hatred have fueled historical American social inequalities, and the work of self-identified Christians to both create and uphold while dismantling and eliminating inequalities.


Living in the Already But Not Yet: Adoption, Family, and Revelation 7
Dr. Robert Ballard (Pepperdine University) and Sarah Ballard (Pepperdine University)

In this interactive and informative presentation, Bert and Sarah Ballard, members of a transracial, international adoptive family and communication professors from Pepperdine University, share research, personal stories, and life tips for navigating the challenges of adoption. They suggest that adoption is a dominant theme of the gospel, capturing the tension of living in the "already but not yet" characteristic of the Kingdom of God while awaiting the ultimate peace and unity described in Revelation 7.


From the Parking Lot to the Pew
Michael Montalvo (Houston, TX)

This breakout will discuss the ways your church family can create a culture of hospitality that ministers to both your first-time guests and established members through time-tested best practices, tools and resources.


Visual Worship: WHY + HOW
Leigh Ann Sharp (Houston, TX) and Kent Rogers (Denver, CO)

This class is designed to explore media and visual worship in a worship setting, and what visual worship might look like in your church. Discussion will surround the "Why" behind presenting the Gospel in a variety of ways, while also providing the "How" - practical tools and resources to bring visual worship into your church context with excellence.


Message in a Bottle: Enhancing Cultural Communication with the Hispanic Community
Alejandro Ezquerra (Houston, TX)

Is it true that the way in which we communicate carries more weight than the words we use? How can we communicate effectively across a vast racial-cultural ocean? In this workshop, Alejandro will explore how to use communication as a bridge between two different ports.


Worship Leaders Panel (FIRST SESSION ONLY)
Various worship leaders from around the country

How can a worship ministry create and model a high impact of inclusivity in the church? Is it important to be intentional in the selection of music for weekend services? Why? What resources are available to worship leaders to broaden our growth and impact our ministries? These are just a few of the questions that several worship leaders will be processing from a variety of contexts and locations from around the country.