Breakout Sessions


Breakout A

(Located in the Billy Graham Hall – BGH)
October 18th

A1: Lessons from a Post-Christian Nation (Barrows BGH 105)

with John Dickson

In this lesson, Dr. Dickson will draw out central principles and insights from his career as a theologian, scholar, and apologist over the course of thirty years in a rapidly secularizing context. Focusing on his context of Australia, Dr. Dickson will help Christians in the North American context understand the challenges and opportunities of ministering in a post-Christian society. While many have responded with fear or anger to this change, this breakout will refocus the conversation on what God is doing even in this midst of cultural turmoil and change.

     John Dickson is the newly appointed Jean Kvamme Distinguished Professor of Biblical Evangelism and Distinguished Scholar in Public Christianity at Wheaton College. He has published across a range of mediums and platforms, including Simply Christianity: Beyond Religion, and is also the founder and continuing director of Undeceptions.

A2: Reaching Your Community: A Long-Term Effort to Love an Entire Community in Jesus’ Name (BGH 130)

with Paco Amador, Chris Ophus, and Matt DeMateo

Pastors Amador Ophus and DeMateo outline their strategies for engaging their neighborhood over the past fifteen years. Through innovation, service, and dedication to gospel mission, their church has opened new opportunities and built bridges within a community. 

     Pastor Francisco “Paco” Amador was born in Mexico City. At the age of fourteen he gave his life to the King. Following a desire to serve Him for the rest of his life, Paco came to Chicago for training at the Moody Bible Institute. In 1990 he visited the Little Village neighborhood for the very first time and immediately fell in love with the community. A few years later he moved into the neighborhood. Prior to serving at New Life, Pastor Paco was a missionary in Spain, worked at Lawndale Christian Health Center and taught elementary school for nine years. In 2005 he was called into full time ministry as the pastor at New Life Little Village. 

     Chris Ophus began to follow the Lord seriously when he was 18 years old and a senior at Palatine High School in Palatine, IL. After a few years at a community college, Chris felt called to understand his new beliefs more deeply and entered Biblical Studies at Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL. As he was completing his education, Chris married Krista. The two felt called to move to Mexico to work in a cafe student outreach. While they were in Mexico Chris and Krista saw how many people were migrating to the U.S. and became convicted to move to Chicago’s largest Mexican neighborhood, Little Village. They have been living, working, and serving with New Life in the Little Village neighborhood since 2005

     Matt DeMateo has been working with young people in Chicago since 2000. He lives and serves in the Little Village neighborhood on Chicago’s southwest side. Matt began serving as a pastor full-time with New Life Community Church in 2006. For years, Matt has overseen all the community development efforts in Little Village and helped build and grow the non-profit New Life Centers of Chicagoland. In 2013, Matt became the Executive Director of New Life Centers. What started as a small group of volunteers has now grown to 70 staff and hundreds of volunteers walking with and loving on young people in Chicago.


A3: Communicating and Navigating in a World of Conflict (BGH 121)

with Theon Hill, Sam Chan, and Ron Edmondson

In this session Dr. Sam Chan and Dr. Theon Hill talk about our approach to communicating God’s word amidst today’s issues.  How do we approach situations, especially where there is no clear answer.  What is our approach?  How do we listen and understand?  How do we speak with conviction, but also with compassion in a world full of conflict?  This session will help guide marketplace leaders and help those who are discipling marketplace leaders.  

     Dr. Theon Hill (Ph.D., Purdue University) serves as Associate Professor of Communication at Wheaton College since 2014. Dr. Hill has received multiple grants and an impressive array of teaching and research awards, including the Junior Faculty Achievement Award from Wheaton College and the H.H. Remmers Memorial Award from the African American Studies and Research Center of Purdue University. In addition, Theon has a prodigious body of scholarly work to his name. He has researched and written extensively on the intersection of communication, society, and political culture. He is a prolific speaker and panelist at academic and trade conferences and has been featured extensively in journalism as both a writer and interviewee. Theon is a Fellow in the third class of the Civil Society Fellowship, a Partnership of ADL and The Aspen Institute, and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

     Dr. Sam Chan (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is the author of Evangelism in a Skeptical World and How to Talk About Jesus (Without Being That Guy). He is a public evangelist with City Bible Forum in Sydney, Australia, where he regularly shares the gospel with high-school students, city workers, doctors, and lawyers. He speaks at conferences around the world on the topics of ethics, storytelling, apologetics, and the practice of evangelism in a post-Christian culture. Sam blogs at

     Ron Edmondson has a unique background, currently serving as a pastor, but with experience as a business owner, nonprofit CEO, and elected official. His passion is to see the Gospel in all aspects of life. Ron has helped revitalize 3 churches and planted 2. He is the author of several books and publications. Ron and his wife Cheryl have two grown sons, both married and four granddaughters under the age of 5. 


A4: Raising your Ministry’s Evangelistic Temperature (BGH 132)

with Desmond Henry

Leadership and survival have become synonymous in our culture. We were not made for maintenance alone! God’s mission requires commitment, faithfulness, and effective follow through. Join Desmond Henry as he facilitates a conversation on healthy, sustainable, and scalable evangelism strategies!

     Desmond Henry (Ph.D. University of Pretoria) is a missional thought-leader, Professor of Missiology, author, and speaker who serves the global church in evangelism and mission. Desmond is married to Lara and has three daughters. He serves as the International Director of the Global Network of Evangelists for the Luis Palau Association and as a Catalyst for Proclamation Evangelism for the Lausanne Movement.


A5: Engaging LGBTQ Friends and Neighbors in Faith Conversations (BGH 138)

with Mark Yarhouse

We will tackle the challenge of engaging members of the LGBTQ community in our neighborhoods in this breakout. Dr. Mark Yarhouse offers practical solutions and insights for Christians struggling with a pressing cultural issue of our society.

     Mark A. Yarhouse, Psy.D., is a clinical psychologist who specializes in conflicts tied to religious identity and sexual and gender identity. He assists people who are navigating the complex relationship between their sexual or gender identity and Christian faith. He is the Dr. Arthur P. and Mrs. Jean May Rech Chair in Psychology at Wheaton College, where he runs the Sexual and Gender Identity Institute. Dr. Yarhouse is an award-winning teacher and researcher and is the past recipient of the Gary Collins Award for Excellence in Christian Counseling. He has published over 80 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and is author or co-author of several books, including Understanding Sexual Identity: A Resource for Youth Ministers and Understanding Gender Dysphoria: Navigating Transgender Issues in a Changing Culture. His most recent books are Sexual Identity & Faith and Costly Obedience: Listening to and Learning from Celibate Gay Christians.


A6: Cultural Intelligence: Big Ticket Ideas for Understanding the People Around You (BGH 140)

with Scott Moreau

As our communities’ welcome neighbors and friends from increasingly diverse backgrounds, the need for cultural intelligence is vital for pastors and leaders. How do we build bridges? As demographics continue to diversify, one of the greatest challenges for the North American church will be developing tools of cultural intelligence to effectively communicate the gospel. Understanding the nuance and values of various cultures within our community can be intensely difficult. Even with the best intentions, pastors and church leaders can struggle to make in-roads as they fail to grasp their cultural blind-spots. In this breakout, Dr. Scott Moreau will help church leaders develop the necessary tools for engaging the diversity in their communities. Through focusing themes of power, distance, and authority, Dr. Moreau will unpack the challenge of engaging across demographic diversity within our communities and some of the strategies churches can utilize.

     Scott Moreau is Academic Dean of Wheaton College Graduate School & Professor of Intercultural Studies. Dr. Scott Moreau’s professional interests include contextualization of the Christian faith, issues related to phenomenology (folk religions, spiritual warfare), and technology in missions (especially information technology and the use of the Internet). For 16 years, he was the editor of Evangelical Missions Quarterly and the Encountering Mission series (Baker). He has written or edited over 20 books and 300 articles, and has received numerous recognitions for his writing, teaching, speaking and service to society. He earned a D.Miss and M.Div. in Missiology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.


A7: Engaging People Who Wouldn’t Usually Attend Church: Lessons from Alpha & Alpha Online (BGH 134)

with Gabriel Lerma

The Alpha course is a free, easy-to-use tool for your church to engage people in your community with the gospel. Based around its updated film series, the course takes people through a guided process of discovery and discussion about the Christian faith. As of 2016, 29 million people have participated in 169 countries. During the pandemic, 30,000 churches and organizations ran Alpha online with 1.3 million participants. In this session you will get a behind the scenes look at how Alpha builds culture through prayer, listening, empowerment and radical hospitality. You’ll also hear lessons from Alpha’s shift to move the course online, and experience part of the course and how it fits into a church’s evangelistic strategy. 

     Gabriel Lerma is the Director of Alpha in Illinois. He lives in the western suburbs of Chicagoland with his wife Serena and foster daughters, Janiah and Samiah. Gabe is passionate about creating safe spaces inside and outside the church where people are fully known and loved right where they are. Gave has lead groups, trained volunteers, given live talks to over 300 people at a time, and run his own off-campus Alpha within the span of 8 years. Gabe’s mission is to equip and serve the church in its mission to help people discover and develop a relationship with Jesus. 

A8: Encountering Church Hurt: Reaching People in the Midst of Church Failings and Trauma (BGH 136)

with Aubrey Sampson

In this breakout, Pastor Sampson will address the emerging challenge of church hurt and trauma due to longstanding and public failures among church leaders. Pastor Sampson will offer practical help for Christians hoping to navigate hurt in their own community or considering how to reach a culture wary of so much public scandal.

     Aubrey Sampson (M.A. Evangelism and Leadership) co-planted and serves on the preaching and leadership teams at Renewal Church, a multiethnic congregation in West Chicago. She is the author of several books, including Known: How Believing Who God Says You Are Changes Everything and The Louder Song: Listening for Hope in the Midst of Lament. Aubrey cohosts The Common Good teach and talk radio show in Chicago and the Nothing Is Wasted podcast. She also contributes regularly to Propel Women and Christianity Today’s The Better Samaritan. Aubrey, her husband and three sons live and minister in the Chicagoland area.


A9: Lead Pastors: Building an Evangelistic Church Culture (Church Evangelism Institute) – (BGH 432)

with Rick Richardson & John Jenkins

Lead pastors face a huge challenge in leading evangelism well in their churches.  They juggle so many balls and must push so many priorities down the field, that they often fall into mission drift themselves in their personal lives and struggle to know how best to ignite their people in evangelism without producing guilt or discouragement. In this interactive session you will learn and discuss:

  • Proven ways to recapture your own evangelism passion as a pastor
  • Steps and tools for igniting all your people, starting with your leaders, into evangelism engagement and fruitfulness.
  • Keys to making your church much more deeply hospitable and effective with unchurched people.
  • Practical tips for preaching well to believers while still effectively addressing those who don’t know Christ yet
  • Stories of senior pastors who have seen their church turn around and become vibrant in evangelism  

     Rick Richardson is Professor of Evangelism and Leadership at Wheaton College and directs the Church Evangelism and Research Institutes for the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. Rick has published numerous articles and six books. His books, Evangelism Outside the Box and Reimagining Evangelism have been widely used among churches and in seminary classes on evangelism. Rick’s latest book, You Found Me: New Research on How Unchurched Millennials, Nones, and Irreligious are Surprisingly Open to Christian Faith, presents the current new research on the unchurched and the churches reaching them.

     Pastor John K. Jenkins Sr.  has traveled across the world preaching and teaching the masses about the love of Jesus Christ. Leading First Baptist since 1989, Pastor Jenkins remains steadfast in his quest to “develop dynamic disciples.” He is recognized as a catalyst to help individuals grow into lifelong Christian disciples who follow Jesus Christ. Pastor Jenkins believes that these individuals will impact the world on behalf of the Lord, thereby strengthening families and healing broken hearts along the way.

Breakout B

(Located in the Billy Graham Hall – BGH)
October 18
3:30pm – 5:00pm

B1: Faith and Work Integration to Maximize Leaders in Your Church (Barrows BGH 105) 

with David Kinnaman, Hannah Stolze, and Ron Edmondson

In this session, Dr. Hannah Stolze and David Kinnaman speak about the importance of integrating faith and work within the DNA of the life of the leader.  Whether it’s research conducted on faith and work or understanding the role of the marketplace leader, this is a session that helps leaders understand what this is, why it’s so strategic, and how this can ultimately help develop a culture of evangelism with lay leaders in the church.

     David Kinnaman is the author of the bestselling books Faith For Exiles, Good Faith, You Lost Me, and unChristian He is CEO of Barna Group, a leading research and communications company that works with churches, nonprofits, and businesses ranging from film studios to financial services. Since 1995, David has directed interviews with more than two million individuals and overseen thousands of U.S. and global research studies.

     Dr. Hannah J. Stolze (PhD in Business Administration, University of Tennessee; MA, Wheaton College) is the founder and executive director of the Center for Faith & Innovation at Wheaton College. She is also associate professor of supply chain management and director of the Center for Transformative Sales & Supply Chain Management at Lipscomb University. A former cultural analyst and public affairs specialist in the US Army, Stolze has conducted applied research and consulted with many companies in the areas of wisdom and values integration, global supply chain management and social and environmental sustainability. She has delivered keynote and guest speaker presentations, seminars, and workshops to managers and executives at multinational firms, SMEs, start-ups, non-profit organizations, academic, and industry conferences around the world. Stolze recently published an article on sustainable SCM and bad press in the Harvard Business Review. Dr. Stolze is the author of the book, Wisdom Based Business: Applying Biblical Principles and Evidence-Based Research for a Purposeful and Profitable Business which has been endorsed by several industry leaders including Kristin Colber-Baker, Head of Global Talent, Mars, Inc. Learn more: and follow her on LinkedIn.

     Ron Edmondson has a unique background, currently serving as a pastor, but with experience as a business owner, nonprofit CEO, and elected official. His passion is to see the Gospel in all aspects of life. Ron has helped revitalize 3 churches and planted 2. He is the author of several books and publications. Ron and his wife Cheryl have two grown sons, both married and four granddaughters under the age of 5. 


B2: What’s Up with Gen Z?: The Challenges and Opportunities for Reaching This Generation (BGH 432)

with Rick Richardson and Brandi N. Williams

Today’s young adults face huge challenges and are bombarded by a new set of societal norms that leave them indifferent about how to own and express their faith. In this session, we will discuss the challenges and opportunities for connecting with this generation, and in the likeness of the Apostle Paul, explore who we need to become so that by all possible means, they be saved. It is our desire to help churches grow younger, reach, and develop, and be mentored by this generation.

     Brandi N. Williams is the Assistant Director of the African American Church Evangelism Institute at the Wheaton College-Billy Graham Center. Brandi is a 2012 TEDS graduate (M.A. Theological Studies) and is currently obtaining her Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership at Eastern University. Her research explores the role of the Black Church in business creation. She envisions her research as a catalyst for developing innovative evangelism practices and providing long-term economic development solutions for the African American community. Brandi has over 15 years of ministry, nonprofit, and consulting experience, including program development, event management, business development, young adult discipleship, preaching, teaching, and workshop facilitation. 

     Rick Richardson is Professor of Evangelism and Leadership at Wheaton College and directs the Church Evangelism and Research Institutes for the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. Rick has published numerous articles and six books. His books, Evangelism Outside the Box and Reimagining Evangelism have been widely used among churches and in seminary classes on evangelism. Rick’s latest book, You Found Me: New Research on How Unchurched Millennials, Nones, and Irreligious are Surprisingly Open to Christian Faith, presents the current new research on the unchurched and the churches reaching them.


B3: Assembling the Church Planting Toolkit: Innovations, Principles, and Practices Needed for Planters, Churches, and Missional Christians (BGH 132)

with Bob Butler and Patrick O’Connell

The prevalent forms of our church planting were introduced over forty years ago, pioneered by Baby Boomers and either refined or rejected by Gen-Xers. A generation later, Millennials took seriously what it meant to live in missional community, side-stepping the attractional versus incarnational debate and demanded that the gospel be proclaimed in word and demonstrated in deed. And now Generation-Z, the largest generational cohort America has ever seen, is entering into adulthood and church leadership. In this session, pastors Bob Butler and Patrick O’Connell will facilitate a hands-on session for church planters and planting partners to consider new opportunities and innovations in reaching communities for the gospel.

     Bob Butler is a former entrepreneur, national sales manager, lead pastor, author, outreach pastor, recovery speaker and church planter. Bob is passionate about reimagining how the Church (Big “C”) engages the culture with the message of Jesus. Bob is currently the lead Apostolic at The Center [Itasca and Wood Dale], the main storyteller for RENEW Dinner Church, the director of FORGE Chicago and the chairman for Impact For Jesus. Personally, Bob has been married for 37 years. He has been on several international mission trips. He holds a Masters in Divinity from Northern Seminary and is an ordained minister of The United Methodist Church. He enjoys coffee, music, movies, reading, soccer, conversation, dogs and binge-watching TV shows with his wife.

     Patrick O’Connell is the Director of NewThing. After graduating college and a stint in the Army, he went to work in the corporate world, eventually becoming a Vice President in a prestigious investment firm. It was during this time that he connected with COMMUNITY and eventually found his way back to God. In 2007, he left his business and moved with a team of people to Kansas City to help start Restore Community Church. Soon after, he began coaching and mentoring church planters. He’s become a student of church planting, enrolling in the Master of Missional Church Movements Program at Wheaton College. He wants to leverage his knowledge, experiences and passion for Jesus to help people start more churches that help even more people find their way back to God.


B4: World in our Backyards: Immigration, Mission, and Global Christianity (Global Diaspora Institute)- (BGH 138)

with Sam George and Andrew Lee

People from around the world live now in our backyards. Mission not only involves going to the ends of the Earth, but also engaging people across the street who have come from around the globe. This session will a) Help you to equip people in your church to show and share the love of Jesus Christ to their colleagues, neighbors and virtual friends who does not look like them; and b) Introduce you to realities of how migration and diaspora communities are transforming American Christianity as it has always done.

     Andrew Lee has served at the largest Chinese churches in New York City and in Chicago. In addition to many years of pastoral experience, he has taught for several seminaries and has written for both academic and church settings. He holds a PhD in Religion.

     Sam George is the director of the Global Diaspora Institute at the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center and serves as a catalyst of Diasporas for the Lausanne Movement. He teaches at seminaries in Asia, Africa and Latin America as well as in the US and UK. He holds degrees in Engineering and Management and a PhD in Theology and has authored a dozen books.


B5: Opportunities among Sobering Statistics: New research from the He Gets Us Campaign on how to engage our post-Christian culture (BGH 134)

with Randy Larson

In this breakout, Gloo’s Randy Larsen will help church leaders gain a better understanding our new cultural moment and the opportunities this presents for effective spiritual conversations. As culture reaches a tipping point away from nominal Christianity, accurate understanding who Jesus is and what he means for this world is fading or, even worse, being distorted by polarization and politicization. Utilizing the extensive research conducted as part of the national He Gets Us campaign, Larsen will outline the ways they have been able to restart this national conversation about Jesus. Pastors and church leaders will leave with a clear vision for the nuances of talking about Jesus in this culture as well as strategies Gloo has deployed that have proven successful.

     Randy Larson is an author, speaker, and ministry coach who lives in Denver Colorado.  He holds a degree in Bible and Theology from Bethel University and has nearly 20 years of experience in church leadership.  Randy is the Assistant Editor of BELIEVE which has sold over 500,000+ copies to date. Passion for missional innovation led Randy to his current position at Gloo where he speaks to thousands of pastors and leaders each year about digital discipleship, outreach, and practical ways to love our neighbors.


B6: Is Your Church Running a 20th or 21st century OS? (Mosaix) – (BGH 136)

with Mark DeYmaz

By definition, an operating system (OS) is the software that supports a computer’s basic functions, such as scheduling tasks, executing applications, and controlling peripherals. Similarly, churches have an intrinsic OS that, if not upgraded soon, becomes a limiting factor that constrains size, slows or even stops forward progress. In this workshop, Mark will explain why and how churches today are still chasing 20th century metrics and what specifically needs to change in our approach to planting, growth, and development, to ensure 21st century effectiveness

     Mark DeYmaz is a thought-leading writer and recognized champion of the Multiethnic Church Movement. Mark planted the Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas in 2001 where he continues to serve as directional leader. In 2004, he co-founded the Mosaix Global Network with Dr. George Yancey, and today serves as its CEO/president. Mark has written seven books including The Coming Revolution in Church Economics (Baker, 2019) and Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church (Jossey-Bass, 2007). He is a contributing editor to Outreach magazine. Mark is the director of the Mosaix Institute at Wheaton College and the Mosaix House of Study at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH.


B7: Enemy or Neighbor: Transcending a Culture of Polarization with the Gospel (BGH 130)

with Andrew MacDonald

In this breakout, Dr. Andrew MacDonald will outline the ways our cultural moment of polarization opens new opportunities for counter-cultural witness. Even as outrage and tribalism dominate the conversation, Dr. MacDonald offers practical strategies for reclaiming our mission of a transcendent Kingdom.

     Andrew MacDonald (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is the interim associate director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. He is the author of Christians At Our Best along with Ed Stetzer, as well as the co-editor of Formation For Mission: Discipleship and Identity for Emerging Adults. Andrew’s work has appeared in Christianity Today, the Dallas Morning News, Outreach Magazine, and Evangelicals Magazine.


B8: Crafting Compelling Sermons (BGH 121)

with Michael Duduit

What makes a compelling sermon for the unchurched?

The strategies that worked for past generations are no longer proving effective at reaching our new culture. Whether due to declining biblical literacy, shrinking attention spans, increasing

secularization, or cultural polarization, the calling to craft compelling sermons remains a consistent challenge for pastors. While retaining the enduring and faithful message of scripture, this breakout focuses on equipping pastors with the tools necessary to rethink compelling preaching that reaches this new world. Through analysis of leading pastors and new research, this breakout offers several practical takeaways:

  • Feedback from emerging adults on qualities of compelling preaching
  • Insights from focus groups of exemplar preachers, academics, and thought leaders
  • Practical strategies and habits for pastors to incorporate

     Michael Duduit is the founding Dean of Clamp Divinity School and the College of Christian Studies at Anderson University in Anderson, SC, where he serves as Professor of Christian Studies. He is the founder and serves as Executive Editor of Preaching magazine, one of the nation’s premier publications for pastors. His email newsletter, Preaching Now, is read each week by more than 12,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world.

B9: Apologetics After Babel: The Role of Listening, Imagination, and Stories in Communicating the Gospel (BGH 140)

with Karl “K.J.” Johnson

Logic and reason have long been hallmarks of Christian apologetics, but how effective are they in a world of where disagreement about facts is commonplace and truth is often in the eye of the beholder? In this breakout, Karl Johnson will discuss the role emotions play in communication and the importance of story-telling and the imagination to communicate the gospel.

     Karl Johnson, CSLI City Director, Karl “KJ” Johnson, Lt.Col., USMC (Ret.) is the Director of the C.S. Lewis Institute in Chicago and oversees programs that foster the discipleship of heart and mind. He’s a C.S. Lewis Fellow with a Masters in Military Studies (Marine Corps University) and two Masters of Arts from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Philosophy of Religion and Systematic Theology). KJ retired after 20 years in the Marine Corps where he served as a helicopter pilot, weapons and tactics instructor and operations officer. He’s a veteran of numerous deployments as well as multiple humanitarian assistance/ disaster relief missions—most notably Operation Unified Assistance (2004 tsunami) where he served as the Air Mission Commander for former Presidents George H.W. Bush and William J. Clinton.