We have a problem! Evangelism has become a taboo word and confusion about evangelism has left the church with a lackluster approach to reaching the lost.
There is a solution! We must be about the mission of Jesus: “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). That means we must revive evangelism. A church with a culture of evangelism will hold the Biblical values of evangelism, share the compelling narratives of evangelism, and live out the white-hot faith behaviors of an evangelistic church.
Christine Caine is a speaker, activist, and best-selling author of more than a dozen books and studies. She holds a Master’s Degree in Evangelism and Leadership from Wheaton College, and her impact reaches far and wide, both inside of the Global Church and beyond it. In 2008 Christine and her husband, Nick, founded the anti-human trafficking organization The A21 Campaign, a recipient of the Mother Theresa Memorial Award for their work combating human trafficking among refugees. A21 works at the local, domestic, and international level to endmodern-day slavery.
They also founded Equip & Empower, a ministry that is mobilizing people everywhere to live on mission for Jesus. Propel Women is an initiative of the ministry dedicated to coming alongside women all over the globe to activate their God-given purpose. The ministry has also planted three life-giving Zoe Churches in Europe that are not only bringing the Gospel to the region, but also serve the most vulnerable through humanitarian outreach during times of crisis.
Blessed to serve in the city in which he was born, Reverend Dr. Charlie E. Dates is Chicago through and through. Raised on the southside of Chicago, he came of age having welcomed Christ into his life early. Heavily influenced by the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, W.E.B. Dubois, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and Mary Mcloud - Bethune, Dr. Charlie’s orientation and early formation were significantly bent toward the theological reflection of Black people. This shaped his approach to preaching and his thoughts about the transformative role the Black church plays in bringing about the flourishing of a people.
Dr. Dates holds a Bachelor's Degree in Speech Communication & Rhetoric from the University of Illinois - Champaign, Urbana, where he met his wife, Kirstie, who not only changed his life, but also elevated his approach to living. He continued his education with a Master of Divinity and a PhD in Historical Theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.
In 2011, Reverend Dates became the youngest Senior Pastor to serve the historic Progressive Baptist Church of Chicago, which saw exponential growth under his leadership. As a highly sought-after speaker, he is widely invited to preach at churches and speak at retreats, conferences, and universities throughout the United States and abroad. Through his passion for learning, living, and teaching the Gospel, Dr. Charlie serves as an Affiliate Professor at Baylor University- George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and Wheaton College. He is a contributing author to Letters To A Birmingham Jail and Say It: Celebrating Expository Preaching in the African American Tradition, and is currently working on his first single-authored book on Christianity and Social Justice.
In January 2023, Reverend Dates became the Senior Pastor of the Salem Baptist Church of Chicago. He is married to Kirstie Dates and is the proud father of their children, Charlie Edward Dates II & Claire Dates.
Hugh Halter and Cheryl, as well as their children and truckload of grandchildren, all live in Alton Illinois. They have been missionaries in North America for more than thirty years. They’ve planted two churches and in 2016 founded Lantern Network in Alton, Illinois.
Lantern Network is a kingdom ecosystem committed to incubating good works and benevolent businesses to bless the city. Hugh speaks extensively across the globe, encouraging innovative forms of church, and when home loves to help Cheryl run Rí Beag Refuge, an equine therapy farm.
Hugh is a leading missional voice, authoring such books as The Tangible Kingdom, AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church, Flesh, and, most recently, the Life as Mission Series, which seeks to equip Christians to live the missionary life of Jesus in their everyday context.
His mission is to encourage the church to be less churchy and instead work on creating social, personal, & spiritual ventures that serve our cities in ways that make God smile.
Hugh also cofounded Brave Cities as a consulting agency that catalyzes the building of kingdom ecosystems as a new form of church.
Danielle lets Love lead her to inspire, challenge, provoke and disrupt the present, and to live the future now. Having lived in different cultures and contexts around the world she celebrates diversity and deeply longs for wrong things to be made right. Danielle practices following Jesus daily. This pursuit has led to exciting entrepreneurial exploits (like co-founding multiple charities and non-profits) and a whole host of failures (that we don’t as often talk about). All of this has convinced her of the deep need we all have for hope, faith, and love. Her deepest longing is to demonstrate what living that boundless life looks like.
Danielle has written six books (the latest is The Other Side of Hope), has a podcast called The Right Side Up, and speaks to people at events all over the world. Danielle leads Boundless Communications Inc., which launches creative exploits like Women Speakers Collective (liberating voices of women around the globe), IMBY (a tiny home movement IN MY BACKYARD), Brave Global (preventing human trafficking), Infinitum (a way of living deeply), and Hagar's Voice (support and advocacy for survivors of abuse). Her home is in Toronto, Canada with her three sons and husband Steve. Danielle loves getting outside, doing new things, physical adventures, and she can't seem to turn down a free lunch.
Dave Ferguson is the lead pastor of Community Christian Church, a multi-expression missional community that is passionate about “helping people find their way back to God.” Community has grown from a few college friends to reaching thousands of people in Chicagoland and around the world. Dave also provides visionary leadership for the international church-planting movement NewThing and is the President of Exponential. He is an award-winning author of books that include The Big Idea, Exponential, On The Verge, Finding Your Way Back To God, Starting Over, Hero Maker and most recently B.L.E.S.S. 5 Everyday Ways to Love Your Neighbor and Change the World. Dave and his best friend Sue have three terrific adult kids - Amy, Josh and Caleb.
Pastor Efrem Smith is an internationally recognized leader who uses motivational speaking and preaching to equip people for a life of transformation. He consults on issues of multi-ethnicity, leadership, and community development. Efrem is the former president and CEO of World Impact, an urban mission, church planting and leadership development organization. He’s the author of several books, including his latest, Killing Us Softly. Efrem is a graduate of Saint John’s University and Luther Theological Seminary, and received an honorary doctor of ministry degree from Ashland Theological Seminary, and most recently earned his Doctor of Ministry degree in Church Leadership and Reconciliation Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. Efrem is married to Donecia and has two daughters. He’s excited to be a part of all that God is doing in and through the Church.
Faith Eury Cho has been a preacher since she was 19-years-old. She has a passion to know the Presence of God, articulate the gospel, and champion the marginalized. She holds a Masters of Divinity with a concentration in Global Studies from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity and has been pastoring within the church for 18 years. Alongside her husband David, Faith co-founded and co-pastors Mosaic Covenant Church of NJ. In addition, she is the founder and CEO of The Honor Summit, a nonprofit organization that centers Asian American women’s voices in the mission of God. She is also an itinerant speaker and author of Experiencing Friendship with God (releasing October 2023). However, her most precious role is being a mother to her 4 children— Moriah, Elias, River, and Adalynn.
Derrick Puckett is the Lead Pastor and Church Planter of Renewal Church of Chicago and serves as President of The Chicago Partnership. He and his wife, Kaley, moved to Chicago in 2013 to plant a Gospel centered disciple making multi-ethnic church. Renewal started in 2014 and has been thriving ever since. Derrick has a B.A. from Indiana University and a M.Div. from Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary. Derrick and Kaley have 4 beautiful daughters, Ramiyah, Elyana, Isabelle and Nalah and a handsome son, DJ.
Josh Howerton is the Lead Pastor of Lakepointe Church, a church of over 18,000 in physical attendance with 7 locations in two languages in the US and Mexico. Lakepointe has also planted 56 churches in North American urban centers through the Strategic Launch Network.
Tara Beth Leach is a pastor, preacher of the Word, and a writer. She speaks widely at conferences, retreats, and universities across America on Women in Ministry, Church Leadership, and the call to be a Radiant Witness. She is a pastor in Naperville Illinois and is the author of Emboldened, Radiant Church, and Forty Days on Being a Six. She has two beautiful and rambunctious sons, and has been married to the love of her life, Jeff, since 2006.
Jon is the co-founding pastor of Community Christian Church in Chicagoland where he provides leadership in new ventures with a focus on discipling people in generosity. COMMUNITY has grown from a handful of people to a church with multiple expressions reaching thousands of people throughout Chicagoland and beyond. Jon is also one of COMMUNITY's Lead Teaching Pastors.
In addition, Jon led in the launch of NewThing, a church-planting movement that includes over 6000 churches and sites in the US and abroad. Jon continues to lead NewThing in Chicago as well as coaching movement leaders and city movements.
He has co-authored Finding Your Way Back to God, with his brother Dave, which was recognized as a Resource of the Year by Outreach Magazine for 2016. He also co-authored Exponential: How You and Your Friends Can Start a Missional Church Movement and B.L.E.S.S.: 5 Everyday Ways to Love Your Neighbor and Change the World.
Jon has an MA in Spiritual Formation at Wheaton College Graduate School where he is an adjunct professor. He also serves on the Exponential Conference and Thrivent Financial boards.
He resides in Chicago with his wife, Lisa. They have two adult children — Graham and Chloe, who live in New York.
Rev. Carrion serves as Vice President of Church Planting and Leadership Development at Redeemer City to City in New York City and is the regional coach for church planting and development for the Evangelical Covenant Church. Rev. Michael Carrion, is the founding pastor, and now Bishop of The Promised Land Covenant Churches in the North and South Bronx, and the founding chairman and superintendent of the Bronx Academy of Promise K-8 Charter School. He also serves on the board of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition and is currently on the Mayor's Faith Sector Advisory Council.
Michael has been married to his wife Elizabeth for 30+ years. They have five adult children and three grandchildren.
Note: times listed in Central time zone.
12:30–2:00pm CT — Main Session 1
“God’s Lost Cause” with Dave Ferguson, Charlie Dates, and Josh Howerton
2:30–3:30pm CT — Workshop Session
One Eighty: The Return to Disciple Making | From Reaching to Making with Ted Coniaris, Tara Beth Leach, and Hugh Halter
4:00–5:30pm CT — Main Session 2
“The Values of the Lost Cause” with Derrick Puckett and Hugh Halter
8:45–9:45am CT— Workshop Session
One Eighty: The Return to Disciple Making — From Informing to Equipping with Ted Coniaris, Michael Beck, and Jeff Stark
10:15–11:45am CT — Main Session 3
“The Narrative of the Lost Cause” with Christine Caine and Danielle Strickland
2:30–3:30pm CT — Workshop Session
One Eighty: The Return to Disciple Making — From Programming to Relationships with Ted Coniaris, Leanna Weber, and Tammy Melchien
4:00–5:30pm CT — Main Session 4
“The Behaviors of a Lost Cause” with Jon Ferguson and Michael Carrion
8:45–9:45am CT — Workshop Session
One Eighty: The Return to Disciple Making — From Activity to Intentionality with Ted Coniaris, Michael Carrion, and Janet McMahon
10:15am–12:00pm CT — Main Session
“The Lost Cause Movement” with Faith Eury Cho and Efrem Smith