OCTOBER 26-28, 2016

Be a Catalyst for Changing the Future of the Church in Your Community


A “think-outside-the-box” opportunity to discuss, learn, and help shape what the future of the church may look like. Participate with thought-leaders including pastors, cultural influencers, researchers, and denominational executives as we brainstorm and grapple with present trends to frame futuristic solutions. This year’s panel of speakers features Phil Vischer, popular author and creator of VeggieTales, and David Stall, President/CE of Kids Hope USA and senior editor of Christianity Today International. 

"Leadership Journal and Group both care deeply about the church, so I'm excited about the opportunity to partner for this year's Future of the Church Summit. Personally, I'm also thrilled to be participating in the Summit again. It's always a stimulating experience to meet with church leaders to talk about what God may have in store in the coming days."
—Drew Dyck, Leadership Journal

Course Benefits

Participants will gain insights into trends that shape tomorrow’s church. Be part of an organic process that will help you shape the future of your ministry.

You’ll get your most pressing questions answered.
At Future of the Church, there’s ample room for conversation. You’ll tackle the big stuff and also zero in on a challenge you face every Sunday morning: re-imagining the Sunday worship hour so it’s rich, relevant, and meaningful.

And at Future of the Church, your voice matters.
You’re more than another body in the audience; you’re invited to share your thoughts, voice your concerns, suggest your solutions.

You’ll learn:

  • Current trends in faith and religion in America
  • Why church attendance is declining and what can be done to reverse the trend
  • Different models for being the church
  • New approaches to ministry to reach the people not attending your church

2016 Topics

The Future of Education, Discipleship and Faith Formation
Discover how new trends will drive dramatic change in how the church will help children, youth and adults grow to know, love and follow Jesus. Consider how higher education will need to change to adequately prepare people for ministry.

The Digital Church of the Future
How will digital technologies and the internet shape the church of the future?

The Changing Face of America
What effect will emerging ethnicities and immigration have on the future church? Discover how the church will change as white Americans fall from majority status.

Who Will Staff the Church of Tomorrow?
As budgets tighten, and ministry priorities change, how will ministry get accomplished? Explore the new opportunities for unpaid staff and co-vocational ministers.

The Role of Entertainment: Ministry Friend or Foe?
Will music, film and other forms of entertainment enhance the church’s efforts to evangelize and educate? Or will they produce more passive spectators who simply sit and consume? Is the emerging Christian entertainment industry a healthy trend or a hokey contrivance?

Who Should Attend

  • Pastors
  • Denominational leaders
  • Paid and unpaid ministry leaders
  • Church staff teams
  • Seminary staff
  • Media influencers

Pricing and Details

Act now to save your place...Summit attendance is limited—on purpose!
It’s the only way to guarantee you’ll have face-to-face time with fascinating thought leaders sharing new research and must-have intel on what’s working best in churches like yours. Claim your front row seat at the Future of the Church Summit now, and hear ministry’s most innovative voices share what’s working. 

$275 when you register by July 29, 2016
$300 when you register by September 1, 2016
$375 regular Rate

Receive 10% off the current registration rate when three or more people from your organization attend Future of the Church Summit 2016! To take advantage of the team discount, please register all participants coming from the same organization under the same account.

This discount will be automatically applied when you register three or more at a time. If you already registered some members of your team and are adding one or two people, please give us a call—we'll give you instructions to redeem the 10% discount. We can be reached at 1-800-635-0404 x4340.

Speaker Bios

2016 Speakers!

Phil Vischer made his first animated film when he was nine years old; by the age of fourteen, he was convinced he would be a filmmaker when he grew up. After a brief stint at a Bible college, Phil struck out on his own, looking for a way to integrate his faith with his filmmaking.

This quest led him to a tomato and a cucumber. The year was 1991, and Phil was a newly married 25 year--‐old with no financial backing and no idea how his vegetables would ever see the light of day.

Today, almost 50 million VeggieTales videos have been purchased and Phil’s faith-filled stories can be found in one-third of all American homes with young children. Although Phil’s original company, Big Idea Productions, collapsed in bankruptcy in 2003, Phil continues his creative involvement with VeggieTales through its current owner.

Phil also is actively developing new ways to integrate faith and storytelling through his new creative shop, Jellyfish Labs (jellyfishlabs.com). Phil captured the breathtaking rise–and heartbreaking fall–of Big Idea Productions in the book Me, Myself & Bob, which was published by Thomas Nelson. He is also the author of the popular children’s books Sidney and Norman and 47 Beavers on the Big Blue Sea.

Phil’s latest project is a 13-DVD series called Buck Denver Asks What’s in the Bible? That will take families all the way through the Bible–Genesis to Revelation. He also started JellyTelly, an interactive, online “mini-network” for children.

Phil lives with his wife Lisa and their three kids in Wheaton, IL.

David Staal serves as President/CEO of Kids Hope USA, a fast-growing, national non-profit organization that partners churches with public elementary schools to provide adult mentors for at-risk students. In addition to his position at Kids Hope USA, Staal serves as senior editor and columnist for Christianity Today International and chairs the advisory board for a state college. Prior to joining Kids Hope USA, he served ten years in leadership for Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, following a 13-year corporate marketing career. Staal’s sixth published book released this year, titled Show Up (2016; Dust Jacket Press). He lives in Grand Haven, Michigan, with his wife Becky.

Chris Folmsbee is the director of discipleship at Church of the Resurrection, one of the nations largest and fastest growing churches. He is the author of more than a dozen books on topics such as spiritual formation, practical theology and effective models of ministry. Chris is also the founder and managing director of Burlap (www.thinkburlap.com | @thinkburlap), a ministry designed to help churches reach and engage Millennials. He lives in Leawood, KS with his wife Gina and their three children.

Nils Smith is the vice president of Social Media and Innovation at Dunham and Company based in Dallas, Texas. Nils most recently served as Social Media Pastor at Community Bible Church in San Antonio, Texas where he launched the ministry of OnlineChurch.com that grew to over 15,000 in weekly online worship attendance from more than 100 different countries around the world and a global Facebook community of over 850,000. Nils is also the author of the book, Social Media Guide For Ministry, and co-host of the Social Media Church podcast.

Steven Siwek Jr. is a Jesus freak. He founded Medical Marketing Solutions (MMS) when he was a naive 19 year old. Now, 6 years later, Steven continues to run MMS along with two other marketing companies he started. Steven is also the director of a documentary entitled Future of the Church. He lives in Phoenix with his precious wife Chandis.

Thom Schultz is the president and founder of Group Publishing and Lifetree Café. He’s the author of many books including Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore and The 1 Thing, and he’s the director of the documentary film When God Left the Building. Thom is the founder of Group Cares, a non-profit organization that provides mission trips for thousands of volunteers each year. Thom’s blog, HolySoup.com, challenges the status quo.

Joani Schultz is Group’s Chief Creative Officer. She oversees the creation of Group’s resources, training, and services for children’s ministry, youth ministry, adult ministry, and church leadership. She’s the author of numerous books including Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore, and The 1 Thing. She leads the teams that create Group’s Bible curriculum, vacation Bible school programs, books, magazines, conferences, music, and trainings.


Lifetree Cafe
Experience a different kind of church
When God Left The Building
Documentary Now Available on DVD
Why Nobody Wants To Go To Church Anymore
New book release by Thom and Joani Schultz



Doug Pollock - Author/Speaker/Reflective Practitioner

It's been said that our future reality is often dictated by our present thinking. If so, I can't think of a more hopeful place to talk and think about a preferred picture of the church’s future than Group's Future of the Church Summit. It's a "shot of espresso" guaranteed to stimulate wholesome thinking about the bride of Christ.
Doug Pollock

Justin Mayo - Founder and President, Redeye Ministries

Too often people have viewed "the church," "synagogue," and "religion" in a very narrow and negative mindset.
This gathering of individuals looks beyond traditional stereotypes and into the reality of what is and the
possibilities of what could be.
Justin Mayo

Lynda Fickling - Director of Servant Ministry/Spiritual Director
St. Luke United Methodist Church, Highlands Ranch, CO

To be included with the level of leadership that was in the room was truly a blessing. Thom and Joani opened the space so that we felt comfortable in sharing our true thoughts and feelings regarding the future of the church. We didn't all agree. We didn't all see the church in the same way, BUT we were able to come to agree on many common areas that we could address and support together. I look forward to continued active listening and returning back to my ministry even more excited than I am right now about the future of the church.
Lynda Fickling

Barbara Huisman - Cana Ministries

Being at the Summit last year affirmed that church is conversation that leads to action—centered on the good news of life lived out in the world. I was able to return refreshed and challenged to continue to journey, knowing that we are all on the road less traveled! Can't wait to see what happens this year!
Barbara Huisman