Black church conference to focus on leadership, family

A concurrent spiritual retreat, leadership development week and a family vacation characterize the Southern Baptist 2016 Black Church Leadership and Family Conference July 11-15 at Ridgecrest, N.C.

Southern Baptists from across the U.S. will be encouraged to Launch, Engage and Advance into their Destiny, as is the conference theme, drawn from Nehemiah 4:14, said Mark Croston, national director of Black Church Partnerships for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

"The 2016 Black Church Leadership and Family Conference is one of the leading conferences uniquely designed to coach and empower leaders of color," Croston told Baptist Press. "This event will show you practically how to amp up your team, be more productive, cultivate teamwork and create a vibrant ministry."

Worship services, Bible study, focused seminars, Christian service opportunities, dinners and recreational events comprise the week at LifeWay's Ridgecrest Conference Center on Black Mountain, featuring more than 150 workshops for leadership development, personal discipleship, community effectiveness and church growth.

"Our promise is that your team will acquire new skills, tools, experiences, contacts, positional training and resources to see exponential growth in their area of ministry," Croston said. "Flexible training sessions will help ideas flow and set the groundwork for genuine collaboration between team members during the conference and afterward."

Women's, children's and family events are also featured, including a day camp for younger children, and LifeWay's Centrifuge Camp for students in grades 7-12.

"Balancing ministry and family is one of the most difficult assignments for a leader in the church. This conference is designed to give you the time to rest, renew and find revival in the beautiful mountain lodge with your entire family," Croston said. "Your entire family will be taken out of the day-to-day stress of ministry and be rejuvenated. Last year over 60 percent of attendees shared the week with their families."

Noted Southern Baptist pastors will preach during evening worship services July 11-14, namely former SBC president Fred Luter, senior pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans; Anthony Dockery, senior pastor of St. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church in La Puente, Calif.; Geoffrey Guns, senior pastor, Second Calvary Baptist Church, Norfolk, Va.; and H.B. Charles Jr., senior pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. Nearly 100 faculty and staff will be featured during the week.

A charity golf tournament benefitting Global Hunger Relief is a new conference feature. The ZWOOR Event App downloadable at the App store is available to conference attendees this year, with the event accessible at KDE619.

Joining LifeWay as event sponsors are SBC entities the North American Mission Board, the International Mission Board and Guide Stone Financial Resources, as well as the SBC Executive Committee, the National African American Fellowship of the SBC, and the Woman's Missionary Union.

More than 800 have already registered for the week, Croston said. Registration is available at http://ridgecrestconferencecenter.org/event/blackchurchleadershipfamilyconference.

Diana Chandler is general assignment writer/editor for Baptist Press.

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