By Aaron Wilson
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — LifeWay’s 27th annual Black Church Leadership and Family Conference (BCLFC) is being held online this year July 20-24 and will be available to watch for free through LifeWay Digital Pass.
The BCLFC serves as a leadership development conference and spiritual retreat. While attendees are typically predominately African American, conference leaders say everyone is invited to attend. Teaching content is also designed for parents of Black children, church leaders who want to reach Black communities and leaders desiring to become more multicultural.
Mark Croston, national director of LifeWay Black Church Ministries, believes the conference will be extremely timely given that many leaders are currently asking questions and seeking information about racial reconciliation. The theme for this year’s conference is “Challenged to Love” from Mark 12:30-32, which implores Christians to love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love their neighbors as themselves.
“Only God could have orchestrated our theme to match today’s crises so perfectly,” said Croston. “Whether it’s the problems of the pandemic or the rigors of our racial tensions, BCLFC is an opportunity not just for Black people, but also for people who want to learn more about ministry in multi-ethnic dimensions.”
The yearly event typically attracts 1,000 or more attendees for a week of teaching, worship, encouragement and rest. But due to the coronavirus, meeting in-person wasn’t an option this year.
“The move to online is exciting,” said Croston. “All of our presenters are making themselves available during the COVID-19 quarantine to help the church get trained amid this new paradigm.
“These are challenging days with the pandemic, racial tensions, unemployment, sickness, death and more. That’s why we didn’t want to cancel our 2020 Black Church Leadership and Family Conference.”
Each day of the conference will follow a schedule of morning exposition in Scripture, a customizable track of teaching sessions and an evening message and time of worship. Because the conference takes place online, attendees can tune in each day for the entire span of content or can pop in and out of sessions as their schedule allows.
Once posted online each day, the sessions will be available to watch through August 15.
Scripture exposition will follow LifeWay’s YOU Bible study curriculum, which is designed for urban, multicultural environments. Christina Zimmerman, content editor for YOU, will facilitate the first day’s study.
“Using the YOU curriculum to start the day allows believers to position God in the center of lives where He needs to be,” said Zimmerman. “God is daily honored and glorified as we reap spiritual blessings that empower us for living.”
Attendees can select from more than 100 conference sessions that include training from leading experts throughout the Black church community, as well as organizations like LifeWay Christian Resources, North American Mission Board, International Mission Board, Woman’s Missionary Union and GuideStone Financial Services.
Ben Mandrell, LifeWay president and CEO, will present a message Tuesday (July 21) evening on how Christians are challenged to love their unchurched neighbors. Other evening presenters include:
- Darron Edwards, pastor of United Believers Community Church (Kansas City, Missouri)
- Adron Robinson, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church (Chicago, Illinois)
- Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church (New Orleans, Louisiana)
- Breonus Mitchell, pastor of Mount Gilead Missionary Baptist Church (Nashville, Tennessee)
More information and free registration for the 2020 Black Church Leadership and Family Conference can be found at lifeway.com/BlackChurchLife.
Aaron Wilson is a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources.