OCTOBER 25-27, 2017

Discovering Direction for the Road Ahead


Join us for a “think-outside-the-box” opportunity to discuss, learn, and help shape the future of the church. Participate with pastors, church leaders, researchers, and church executives in grappling with present trends and framing solutions.

"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

2017 Topics

Do Church Trends in Europe and Canada Foretell America’s Future?
Experts from other Western countries interpret factors that led to their churches’ diminished profile. What can America learn?

Surprising Paths for Growth in the Church
Discover refreshing forms of ministry that bring new vitality—and work with those who are done with church-as-we-know-it.

The Future of Disciple-Making
Explore the coming new paradigm for the church’s work in discipleship—moving from a 4-week class to a lifestyle transformation.

How Generation Z Will Shape the Church
We’re already seeing the impact of the Millennials. How will the next generation, those born after about 1995, affect the church?

The Great Migration for the Church
How will the changing landscape with immigration, refugee status, and religious migration affect tomorrow’s church?

The Church’s Place in Tomorrow’s Public Square
How will the changing political and social climate impact the role of the church in the future? What effect will media slant and public opinion have on the church’s effectiveness?

The Next Reformation
Some have noted that the church goes through major transformation every 500 years. This year marks the 500th anniversary of Luther’s Reformation. So, what’s next?

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 28, 2017
$300 when you register by September 1, 2017
$375 regular Rate

Receive 10% off the current registration rate when three or more people from your organization attend Future of the Church Summit 2017! 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

2017 Speakers

Jonny Baker is the director of mission education for the Church Mission Society in London, England. The main focus of his work in the last few years has been setting up and leading the Pioneer Mission Leadership Training at CMS - see http://pioneer.cms-uk.org. This has been very exciting with all sorts of creative pioneers as they are called by God to new forms of mission and ministry often beyond the edges of the church.

David Haskell is Associate Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada. Studying church growth and member retention, including retention of youth, his research has explored which strategies work, and which don’t. His latest study of congregational traits associated with church growth drew media attention from such outlets as The Guardian, Washington Post, Fox News, and the Globe and Mail. A key finding was that conservative Protestant theology predicts church growth and liberal theology leads to decline. Full results of the study were published in December 2016 issues of the Review of Religious Research, Canadian Review of Sociology, and other peer-reviewed journals.

James Misner is senior vice president of strategic engagement at World Relief, and helps churches, foundations and individuals stand with the vulnerable in the U.S. and around the world. Leading teams domestically and internationally, James seeks to facilitate meaningful cross-cultural experiences, leading to deeper levels of discipleship. Prior to joining World Relief, James served on the pastoral staff at Wheaton Bible Church, leading global outreach efforts, and also on the outreach staff of McLean Bible Church. James received his undergraduate degree from American University, and a Master's degree from Wheaton College. He lives in Maryland with his wife, Sabrina, and their family.

Rich Stearns is president of World Vision Inc., He’s responsible for U.S. operations, which include advocacy, fundraising, and program development, and has prioritized the organization's worldwide attention on the AIDS crisis. World Vision has experienced previously unprecedented growth following his application of corporate best practices and fostering of a strong leadership team, 'making it run more like a business.' Christianity Today calls World Vision “an increasingly important player in world humanitarian aid.” Rich has appeared on CNN, Fox, ABC, NBC, and PBS, and has written pieces published in the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and other print media. He is a frequent speaker at churches, conferences, and denominational gatherings, and has spoken at Harvard University, the Lausanne Congress, and a variety of international venues. Stearns and his wife, Reneé, have five children and live in Bellevue, Washington.

Renee Stearns is a former attorney, mother of five, and grandmother of one. She is active in church ministries, leading Bible studies, and speaking at conferences and retreats. Reneé is passionate about helping others broaden their worldview to include the great needs she sees in her travels with World Vision. She is co-author of the book, He Walks Among Us: Encounters with Christ in a Broken World.

Andrea Syverson is the founder and president of IER Partners, which has guided and strengthened brands of all sizes with savvy best practices for creating customers for life. Combining her passion of adventurous listening and working across diverse industries, her “outsider-insider” creative branding and merchandising expertise and objectivity has been valued by companies as diverse as Ben & Jerry’s, Celestial Seasonings, CHEFS, Boston Proper, SmartPak, Spanx and World Vision. She is the author of Alter Girl; ThinkAbout: 77 Creative Prompts for Innovators; and BrandAbout: A Seriously Playful Approach for Passionate Brand-Builders and Merchants. asyverson@ierpartners.com

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.

Rick Lawrence is an author, ministry leader, and the longtime executive editor of GROUP Magazine, the world’s leading youth ministry resource. He leads The Simply Youth Ministry Conference, the general editor for the Jesus-Centered Bible, and is the author, co-author, or editor of 37 books, including The Jesus-Centered Life; Skin In The Game: Living and Epic Jesus-Centered Life; Jesus-Centered Youth Ministry; Shred: Daring to Obey the Startling Command of Jesus; Shifted: God’s Scandalous Response to Satan’s Outrageous Demand; 99 Thoughts On Jesus-Centered Living; and the small group curriculum In Pursuit of Jesus.

More Speakers Coming Soon!


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
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