PLENARY SPEAKER — Rev. Ron Benefiel, Ph.D.
Rev. Dr. Ron Benefiel is the lead consultant for mission resources and pastoral relations in the Center for Pastoral Leadership at Point Loma Nazarene University. Prior to his current assignment, Dr. Benefiel served as dean of the PLNU School of Theology and Christian Ministry, president of Nazarene Theological Seminary and pastor of the First Church of the Nazarene in Los Angeles, the founding church for the Church of the Nazarene. He is trained as a sociologist with a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California and is a specialist in urban ministry, having served in pastoral assignments in urban contexts for 25 years.
WORKSHOP SESSION #1 - (10:45am-11:45am)
1. Table Talk: Resourcing the Local Church — Paul reminds us that pastors equip the people of God for works of service and ministry. This conversational workshop will provide a place for local church leaders to talk with others about various ministry questions and concerns. It will be a place to connect, dream, and support one another in doing the work of ministry. Facilitated by Rev. Christine Paolino, Rev. Yelssy Manza, and Rev. Tito Rivera
2. Table Talk: Resourcing the Pastor — Expectations for 21st-century clergy continue to grow. At times it’s difficult for local church pastors to prioritize time and energy. This conversational workshop will provide an opportunity for pastors with church board secretaries to think and reflect theologically about their vocational ministry and provide updates, important information, and relative expectations for pastors serving on the Metro New York District. Facilitated by Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Barker
WORKSHOP SESSION #2 - (1:00pm-2:00pm)
1. Creating Safe, Sacred and Hospitable Congregations — How do concerns about safety and security align with the practice of hospitality? How do congregations protect children and create a welcoming environment? Hard questions like these demand a theological and practical answer. This workshop will introduce concepts and approaches to nurture safe, sacred and hospitable spaces. Lead by Rev. Dan Quagliata
2. Developing a Missional Church — It’s true. Congregations with a missional impulse toward their communities look different in various contexts, especially in the Greater NYC area. A panel discussion, lead by a few pastors from varied contexts of the Metro NY District, will invite participants to think and reflect theologically about the relationship between a Missionary God and a missional church in their specific ministry contexts.
3. Engaging the Next Generation — Recent research studies suggest that local churches are missing children and youth. This workshop will help pastors, youth leaders/ workers, and parents discern where to find youth in their communities and neighborhoods; how to nurture spaces of belonging; and how to imagine and introduce new forms of church for the next generation. Lead by Rev. Tito Rivera
4. Cultivating a Children’s Ministry — Too often a ministry to children becomes the outsourcing faith formation from parents to Sunday school teachers. A thriving children’s ministry program must cultivate a partnership with parents in this discipleship process. This workshop will help teachers, pastors, and parents imagine a partnership which provides rich soil for a child’s faith to grow and mature. Facilitated by Rev. Steve Pennington, FaithKidz
5. The Compass Initiative— Increasing debt loads often cripple pastors and congregations from fulfilling the mission they sense God is cultivating within them. Something must be done to address this reality. This workshop will introduce a financial literacy, management, and well-being program that equips ministers and lay leaders in personal and church financial matters. Lead by Rev. Oral Walcott and Rev. Rich Griffiths
6. Knowing the Truth about Immigration — Local churches must always be prepared to respond to current realities and concerns. A critical issue today is immigration. Immigration in the US context is a complex and confusing process. This workshop will provide an overview of how local churches can know the legal process so as to assist any immigrants with important resources.