Recently, our team had the opportunity to talk with Ed Stetzer, Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. Ed has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters around the world, earned two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has published dozens of articles and books. Ed has written and spoken extensively on the topics of church planting, leadership, discipleship, and much more; check out his blog. We are excited to have Ed on the speaking faculty for The Gospel and Our Cities this fall.
Here’s a bit of the conversation with Ed and our executive director, Walter Wood, we thought you’d enjoy learning a bit more about the heart behind the event.
E.S.: First, tell us about the purpose of this conference.
Our vision is to accelerate and support Gospel movements in cities throughout North America. By that we mean that we long to see the power of the Holy Spirit energizing the Church in repentance, faith, new obedience, dynamic prayer, church planting, works of justice and mercy, faith and work initiatives, and many people coming to Christ.
We are driven by a desire to see thousands of churches planted and revitalized through the good news of the Gospel. We long to see our cities impacted and transformed. We hope this conference will contribute significantly to our vision.
E.S.: So, why create another event? What do you hope to accomplish?
Our program will focus primarily on serving our cities, understanding the implications of the gospel for city ministry, and building gospel movements. We hope to inspire and encourage greater vision for reaching our cities. It’s our hope that pastors, marketplace leaders, ministry leaders and church planters will be encouraged and equipped, and that as a result, give rise to regional or local fellowships of like-minded churches that will pray and come together to work for gospel renewal in their cities.
Additionally, we are excited to launch City to City North America, part of the global church planting organization founded by Tim Keller, that will focus specifically on the cities of North America. We hope to connect church planters and church leaders to our vision, training opportunities, and content offerings.
E.S.: What is the format of the event?
Over the course of our three-day event, we’ll have main sessions which feature a keynote speaker and include worship, video, testimonies, panel discussions and Bible expositions. In addition, there will be approximately 50 breakout sessions covering a variety of topics. All the sessions are focused on our vision to reach the cities of North America, and we’re excited to include a significant portion of our breakouts on the challenges and gospel activity in our host city of Chicago.
E.S.: Who is this event designed for?
Whether you’re a pastor, church planter, city leader, or among the general public, our lineup of key note, breakout, and panel speakers will inform, inspire, and hopefully move you to roll up your sleeves and join us in gospel ministry in our cities. We have intentionally priced this event to be affordable for teams and groups to attend together so that we might encourage and equip as many as possible.