Speakers

Learn from this year’s line-up of innovative and dynamic leaders, bringing messages on leading with Hope, Meaning and Purpose.

General Session Speakers

Adam Hamilton

General Session Speaker

General Sessions 1 & 7

  • Wednesday, 9/27 – 6:45 – 8:30 pm
  • Friday, 9/29 – 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
  • Ministry Essentials, Dealing with Conflict and Criticism, Leading and Preaching in Divided Times, Why Space & Architecture Matter
Reverend Adam Hamilton is the founding pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City. The church began in 1990 with four people (Adam’s wife, LaVon and their two small children) and a dream of creating a congregation where thinking people – non-religious and nominally religious people – would become committed followers of Jesus Christ. In the years since, the church has become the largest United Methodist Church in the denomination with over 20,000 children, youth and adult members and an average weekend worship attendance of 10,000. Hamilton is the author of 22 books published by Abingdon Press and Harper. His writings are known for helping readers to make sense of challenging theological questions, to explore the significance of the biblical stories, and equipping Christian leaders to be more effective in their work. His books have received numerous awards and have been used in over 20,000 mainline churches across the country. Hamilton believes that vital mainline churches are key to reaching new generations of young adults who have been turned off by more fundamentalist expressions of the Christian faith. In the last eight years he has spoken to over 70,000 Christian leaders in 40 states on leadership and strategies for missional outreach. In 2012 he was asked by the White House to deliver the message at the National Prayer Service, a part of President Barack Obama’s second inaugural activities. Recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, Hamilton earned his Master of Divinity Degree at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University where he received the B’nai B’rith Award in Social Ethics. He graduated with honors from Oral Roberts University with a degree in Pastoral Ministry. Adam has been married to LaVon for 33 years. LaVon has been a critical partner in every dimension of Adam’s work. They have two daughters and one granddaughter.

Nancy Beach

General Session Speaker

General Session 3

Thursday, 9/28 – 10:30 am – 12:00 pm: Building Volunteer and Staff Teams that Last
Nancy has always been a passionate champion for artists and leaders in the local church.  For over 20 years she served as the Programming Director for Willow Creek Community Church in suburban Chicago, building a community of artists who sought to create transformational moments in Sunday morning church services. Nancy also served as a Teaching Pastor, periodically bringing the weekend message.  Currently, Nancy serves as a leadership coach with the SlingShot Group, helping church leaders and teams to flourish in life and ministry.  Nancy also uses her teaching gifts to cast vision at conferences and workshops, for both artists and women in leadership.  In her book An Hour on Sunday, Nancy expresses the core vision and values which she believes are foundational to any effective arts ministry. Nancy’s second book is titled Gifted to Lead: The Art of Leading as a Woman in the Church. Nancy and her husband Warren live in the village of Barrington, Illinois with their dog, Beanie. They both serve at Soul City Church in downtown Chicago where Nancy is on the Teaching Team. Their two daughters, Samantha and Johanna, are both theatrical artists.

Olu Brown

General Session Speaker & Pre-Institute Presenter

General Session 6

Friday, 9/29 – 8:30 am – 10:00 am: Leading Your Tiny House to the Promised Land

Pre-Institute

Wednesday, 9/27 – 1:30pm – 4:30pm: Leadership Lessons from Moses
Olu Brown is founding pastor (in 2007) of Impact Church Atlanta, the fourth fastest growing UM church in the country – 85% growth over five years.  He is a frequent speaker at events, especially among young clergy.  Olu is the author of Leadership Directions from Moses: On the Way to the Promised Land and Zero to 80: Innovative Ideas for Planting and Accelerating Church Growth.

Scott Chrostek

General Session Speaker

General Session 4

Thursday, 9/28 – 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm: Reaching and Engaging Emerging Congregations
Rev. Scott M. Chrostek is the Lead Pastor at Resurrection Downtown, a campus of Church of the Resurrection located in the heart of downtown Kansas City, MO. Resurrection Downtown launched in 2009 and has grown from 9 to 1000 adults in weekly worship attendance in its first seven years. The congregation is eclectic and diverse in every way you can imagine. The church is 66% single and over two-thirds are non-religious or nominally religious. Before life in church, Scott spent five years working in the field of Finance and Investments. Scott is active as a coach and mentor to church planters across the country and spends time speaking with young adults about finding life at work. In addition to his work as pastor and coach, Scott has authored three books: Pursuit (2012, Beacon Hill Press), The Misfit Mission, (2016, Abingdon Press) and most recently The Kaleidoscope Effect: What Emerging Generations Seek in Leaders (2017, Abingdon Press). Scott is married to Wendy Lyons Chrostek and they are the proud parents of Freddy Lyons.

Chris Folmsbee

General Session Speaker

General Session 4

Thursday, 9/28 – 1:30 – 3:00pm: Reaching and Engaging Emerging Generations
Chris Folmsbee is the director of adult discipleship at Church of the Resurrection Leawood. He is also the President of Burlap, a ministry that helps churches reach and engage millennials and generation z. Chris is the author of over a dozen books including his most recent works, The Wesley Challenge: 21 Days to a More Authentic Faith and The Garden Resonates: A Gospel Emerging Generations Can Believe In. In addition to this, Chris is a highly sought after speaker, trainer and consultant. He is married to Gina and has three teenage children named Megan, Drew and Luke.

Sarah Heath

General Session Speaker

General Session 4

Thursday, 9/28 – 1:30pm – 3:00pm: Reaching and Engaging Emerging Generations
Sarah Heath currently serves as the Lead Pastor of First UMC Costa Mesa, a re-start congregation in the California Pacific Annual Conference. Sarah has a passion for music, traveling, acting, creating art, and watching sports and making time for a little bit of play. She is the author of What’s Your Story? Seeing Your Life Through God’s Eyes. Sarah speaks to groups throughout the US on topics such as creativity, authentic leadership and storytelling.

Tony Morgan

General Session Speaker

General Session 5

Thursday, 9/28 – 3:30 – 5:00 pm: Seven Stages of the Church Life Cycle: Moving the Church from Being Stuck to Unstuck
Tony is founder and chief strategic officer of The Unstuck Group, a company that helps churches get unstuck through consulting and coaching experiences designed to focus vision, strategy and action. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church in Dallas, Georgia, NewSpring Church in South Carolina, and Granger Community Church in Indiana. Tony has written several books, as well as articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com. He writes about leadership regularly at tonymorganlive.com. His next book, The Unstuck Church: Equipping Churches to Experience Sustained Health, will be available from Thomas Nelson in May 2017.

Adam Weber

General Session Speaker

General Session 2

  • Thursday, 9/28 – 8:30 – 10:00am: Growing the Prayer Life of Leaders & Congregations
Adam lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He likes typewriters, drives a Rambler, cheers for the Cincinnati Bengals, has 4 chickens, and a dog named Daisy. He’s the Lead Pastor of Embrace, a 10-year-old church that has grown to 6 campuses in two states. He is the author of Talking with God: What to Say When You Don’t Know How to Pray. He and his beautiful wife, Becky, have four kids. Fun fact: He once made worldwide news when a turkey vulture fell out of the sky and onto his back porch during an ice storm. Google it.

Pre-Institute Guest Speakers

Jacob Armstrong

Featured Speaker

The Connected Life: Small Groups that Build Community

  • Pre-Institute AM: 9/27 – 9:00am – 12:00pm Pre-Institute PM: 9/27 – 1:30pm – 4:30pm
Jacob Armstrong is the founding pastor of Providence Church, an eight-year-old United Methodist church plant in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, reaching 1,700 people each week. Providence’s vision is to see those who are disconnected from God and the church to find hope, healing, and wholeness in Jesus Christ. Jacob is the author of The New Adapters, Renovate, and The Connected Life: Small Groups that Build Community.

Jim & Jen Cowart

Featured Speakers

Start This/Stop That

  • Pre-Institute AM: 9/27 – 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Pre-Institute PM: 9/27 – 1:30 – 4:30pm
Jennifer Cowart is the executive pastor at Harvest Church, a United Methodist congregation in Warner Robins, GA, near Macon. She co-preaches and directs Discipleship and Emerging Ministries at Harvest UMC. She earned degrees in Christian Education and Counseling. Jennifer is a systems thinker and specializes in helping churches put the proper structures in place to maximize ministry results. As a gifted speaker and strategist, she brings humor and outside-the-box thinking to ministry teams. Jim Cowart is the founding pastor of Harvest Church, a United Methodist congregation in Warner Robins, GA, near Macon. Harvest launched in 2001, and has an average attendance of 3,000 each weekend. The church grows primarily through professions of faith from new Christians. The innovative “community group” strategy is producing more than 350 small groups meeting in neighborhoods and workplaces. Jim serves as a trainer and coach, helping pastors launch and maintain healthy church environments. For more information on their ministry, visit harvestchurch4u.org.

Joe Daniels

Featured Speaker

Turnaround Churches: Walking with your Congregation in the Steps of Nehemiah

  • Pre-Institute AM: 9/27 – 9:00am – 12:00pm
  • Pre-Institute PM: 9/27 – 1:30 – 4:30pm
Dr. Joseph W. Daniels, Jr. is the Lead Pastor of the Emory United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., where he has helped a once dying congregation become a model for church and community transformation. He also serves as Superintendent of the Greater Washington District in the Baltimore Washington Conference. Joe is passionate about helping churches and communities of all types prosper. As a nationally recognized turn-around pastor, Joe has taught, preached and consulted on congregational and community revitalization in other countries as well. He’s previously authored two books, Begging for REAL Church (2009) and The Power of REAL: Changing Lives, Changing Churches, Changing Communities (2011).

Kay Kotan

Featured Speaker

Nine Essential Processes for an Optimized Church

  • Pre-Institute AM: 9/27 – 9:00am – 12:00pm
  • Pre-Institute PM: 9/27 – 1:30 – 4:30pm
Kay Kotan is a credentialed coach, church consultant, speaker and author. She serves on the Healthy Church Initiative Executive Team for the Missouri Annual Conference of the UMC. Kay resides in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband, Bob and son, Cameron.

Jason Moore

Featured Speaker

Revitalizing Worship through Creativity for Small and Medium Sized Churches

  • Pre-Institute AM: 9/27 – 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Pre-Institute PM: 9/27 – 1:30 – 4:30 pm
With a passion for creativity and image, author and worship coach, Jason Moore, is working to change the world through deep, meaningful, creative worship. Jason is driven to help churches of all sizes, worship styles and means become as effective as possible in communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ to a creative and increasingly image obsessed world. Jason began his ministry nearly two decades ago at Ginghamsburg UMC in Tipp City, Ohio. He later went on to co-found Midnight Oil Productions, his current ministry. Jason also works part time as Creative Worship Specialist for the Miami Valley District of the UMC in Dayton, Ohio.

Melissa Spoelstra

Featured Speaker

Learning Contentment in a Culture of More

  • Pre-Institute AM: 9/27 – 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Pre-Institute PM: 9/27 – 1:30 – 4:30 pm
Melissa Spoelstra is a popular women’s conference speaker, Bible teacher, and writer who is madly in love with Jesus and addicted to the study of His Word. Her passion is helping other women to seek Christ and know Him more intimately through serious Bible study, attentiveness to the Holy Spirit, and a tenacious dependence on God at all times, even through the storms of life. She lives in Dublin, Ohio, with her pastor husband and four kids.

Church of the Resurrection Pre-Institute Speakers

Joan Baird

Special Needs Ministry

Special Needs Ministry? Just Do It!

Cathy Bien

Communications

The Communicator’s Tool Box

Matt Bisel

Resurrection Downtown Worship

Building a Creative and Authentic Culture in Worship

Wendy Chrostek

Congregational Care

Creating a Culture of Call

Penny Ellwood

Resurrection Blue Springs

Going Multi-Site

Dan Entwistle

Church Operations

Church Governance and Strategic Planning

Chris Folmsbee

Adult Discipleship

Small Group Essentials: Making Small Groups G.R.E.A.T.

Michelle Funk

Adult Discipleship

Women’s Ministry

Jason Gant

Resurrection West

Going Multi-Site

Yvonne Gentile

Guest Connections

Making Connections: Visitor and Member Follow-Up

Janelle Gregory

Human Resources

A Practical Approach to Human Resources

Ginny Howell

Guest Connections

Making Connections: Visitor and Member Follow-Up

Justin Huey

Resurrection Downtown Worship

Building a Creative and Authentic Culture in Worship

Michelle Kirby

Adult Discipleship

Building a Disciple-Making Ministry

Taylor Ogden Thomas

Student Ministry

Creating a Culture of Call

Abby O'Neill

Adult Discipleship

Women’s Ministry

Jennifer Ross

Special Needs Ministry

Special Needs Ministry? Just Do It!

Marty Sinclair

Adult Discipleship

Women’s Ministry

Lisa Viehweg

Human Resources

A Practical Approach to Human Resources

Shari Wilkins

Adult Discipleship

Reaching Boomers with Dynamic Ministry

Dave Wilson

Adult Discipleship

Reaching Boomers with Dynamic Ministry

Shirley Yarick

Adult Discipleship

Women’s Ministry

Leadership Institute Registration

Registration

Early Bird

Through August 31

Pre-Institute: $45/session ($49 Standard Rate)

Leadership Institute: $159 ($199 Standard Rate)

Discounts

Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, a discounted rate for young adults is available. Learn more about this and Early Bird rates on the Registration Information page.

Sponsors

Please join us in thanking the Leadership Institute 2017 Sponsors. Because of their generosity, we are able to extend deep discounts to Young Adults and international guests. Each of these sponsors will have a table in the Narthex during Leadership Institute and we encourage you to visit with sponsor representatives during the conference.