I am excited to be a part of a new event, making its debut in Chicago this October, The Gospel and Our Cities: Chicago 2018. This new conference will bring together thought leaders and practitioners on key topics around urban ministry: justice, mercy, faith and work, church planting, church renewal, and renewing Chicago. If you have a heart for the kingdom work happening in our cities today, you won’t want to miss this event. I’ll be presenting alongside several others and I hope you’ll join us.
Executive Director Walter Wood was kind enough to answer a few questions about the heart behind the conference, and the hopes of the planning committee. I think you’ll see the time is definitely right for an event like this.
Ed: First, tell us about the purpose of this conference.
Walter: Our vision is to accelerate and support gospel movements in cities throughout North America. By that we mean that we long to see the power of the Holy Spirit energizing the Church in repentance, faith, new obedience, dynamic prayer, church planting, works of justice and mercy, faith and work initiatives, and many people coming to Christ.
We are driven by a desire to see thousands of churches planted and revitalized through the good news of the gospel. We long to see our cities impacted and transformed. We hope this conference will contribute significantly to our vision.
Ed: So, why create another event? What do you hope to accomplish?
Walter: Our program will focus primarily on serving our cities, understanding the implications of the gospel for city ministry, and building gospel movements. We hope to inspire and encourage greater vision for reaching our cities. It’s our hope that pastors, marketplace leaders, ministry leaders and church planters will be encouraged and equipped, and that as a result, give rise to regional or local fellowships of like-minded churches that will pray and come together to work for gospel renewal in their cities.
Additionally, we are excited to launch City to City North America, part of the global church planting organization founded by Tim Keller, that will focus specifically on the cities of North America. We hope to connect church planters and church leaders to our vision, training opportunities, and content offerings.
Ed: What is the format of the event?
Walter: Over the course of our three-day event, we’ll have main sessions which feature a keynote speaker and include worship, video, testimonies, panel discussions and Bible expositions. In addition, there will be approximately 50 breakout sessions covering a variety of topics. All the sessions are focused on our vision to reach the cities of North America, and we’re excited to include a significant portion of our breakouts on the challenges and gospel activity in our host city of Chicago.
Ed: Who is this event designed for?
Walter: Whether you’re a pastor, church planter, city leader, or among the general public, our lineup of key note, breakout, and panel speakers will inform, inspire, and hopefully move you to roll up your sleeves and join us in gospel ministry in our cities. We have intentionally priced this event to be affordable for teams and groups to attend together so that we might encourage and equip as many as possible.
You can learn more and register at the Early Bird rate by visiting TheGospelAndOurCities.org. I hope we’ll see you there.
Ed Stetzer holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College, serves as Dean of the School of Mission, Ministry, and Leadership at Wheaton College, is executive director of the Billy Graham Center, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group.