Resource Leadership Conference 2019

More than 120 pastors and small church leaders gathered May 9-11 for the first-ever Resource Leadership Conference for small churches in Bloomington, IL.

Pastors and lay leaders alike learned more ways they can strengthen their churches as they participated in workshops and listened to plenary speakers. Cody Knapik, Pastor of Crainville Baptist Church, said he especially appreciated Dennis Edwards’ plenary presentation about focusing on the mission of the church, building relationships with people and introducing them to Christ.

“This conference is so illuminating. I am getting new ideas for how we can reach others,” said Patricia Theobald, a lay leader from First Baptist Church of Mahomet, IL.

The Leadership Resource Conference was organized and sponsored by the Great Rivers Baptist Region, Judson University and Northern Seminary.

Dr. Jolene Erlacher — founder of Leading Tomorrow, an organization who focuses on equipping churches, businesses, schools, mission agencies and other organizations – shared how leaders can carry out effective inter-generational leadership in our changing world.

Dr. Dennis Edwards

Rev. Dr. Dennis Edwards, an associate professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary, shared his Bible knowledge along with 30 years of experience in urban ministry in New York and Washington, DC.  His stories of reaching out to families reflected his years of service in urban areas as well as his early years of working as a math and science teacher.

Dr. Lina Abujamra, a pediatric ER doctor and founder of Living Power Ministries, offered timely insights and humorous anecdotes for attendees who were acutely aware of very public failings of leaders in mega churches.  Lina also recently returned to her birth country, Lebanon, providing medical care and spiritual support to Syrian refugees.  Lina, an author and church leader, has a podcast on iTunes or Podbean; is the host of Today’s Single Christian on Moody Radio and of Morning Minutes, a daily audio devotional available at

Andy Gullahorn, singer/songwriter, and Christa Wells, a Dove Award winner and singer/songwriter, provided times of worship as well as personal reflections that encouraged attending church leaders.

Several authors, church leaders and ministry executives provided valuable information for small church leaders during a day of workshops featuring topics like:  The Hopeful Future of the Small Church, Faith and Finances, Understanding Millennials and Gen Z, Church Management, Spiritual Disciplines, Preaching in the Small Church, Conflict Management, Women’s Leadership in the Church, Church Planting and the Practices of Missional Churches, A Lead Learner’s Commission – Discipleship, The Unique Ministry Role of a New Generation and much more. In all, pastors and lay leaders heard from more than 20 workshop presenters – many of them provided by Judson University and Northern Seminary.

Pastors wanting to secure CEUs for their participation in the worship, will be receiving an email from Northern Seminary with details. If you have questions after receiving the email, please contact: Phil Bailey at 630.620.2126 or

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