We can’t stop adding speakers to the schedule at Karam Forum 2020! Register to attend this gathering time of equipping and collaboration. Karam Forum will meet on January 3-4 in Atlanta to reconnect with one another, and hear from leading voices including Rich Mouw, Charisse Jones, Greg Jones, Rachael and Jacob Denhollander, Jules Martinez and many more. We’ll also encounter local churches taking the lead on justice, discipleship, fruitfulness and the kingdom of God.
Don’t put it off – register today for the limited-time price of $100, available through Dec. 15. You can also reserve your hotel room for the conference price of $129 for a limited time. (Faculty and other leaders at ON partner schools, check with your ON liaison for a coupon to get a further discount on conference registration.)
Karam Forum 2020 will stimulate conversation about the future of theological education, justice and vocation, how local churches can prepare for the emerging cultural world, the church and entrepreneurship, and much more.
In Atlanta we will continue to push forward in developing economic wisdom for God’s people. This is an essential counterweight to the growing power of worldly economic ideologies on both sides of the political aisle. The Oikonomia Network is pleased to host these critically important conversations.
Three sessions at Karam Forum 2020 will explore different aspects of this urgent cultural challenge. Theological education has the opportunity to cultivate wisdom for the people of God by sending out church leaders who are equipped to equip in the area of life – the economy – where people spend most of their time.
Entrepreneurship: Connecting Church, Academy and Community
One of the most important ways the church brings life to the world is by cultivating creativity and empowering people through entrepreneurship. It expands opportunity, brings growth to impoverished communities, mobilizes people’s creative gifts and makes fresh expressions of God’s holy love sustainable. As Atlanta leader Bob Lupton has said, economic development doesn’t stop with the traditional “teaching a man to fish,” it means helping people “own the lake.”
The church and seminary have a unique role to play in sustaining entrepreneurship in communities. The church equips people with a God-centered perspective, and an anthropology that helps us see the dignity and value of creative service and responsibility. The church builds relationships of trust, community solidarity and mutual accountability that are essential to sustainable entrepreneurship. The seminary can equip church leaders with a deep theology of entrepreneurship, an understanding of the missional and discipleship value of entrepreneurship, and the necessary skills and competencies to cultivate it in churches.
Charisse Jones of Asbury Theological Seminary, a pioneer in connecting church, academy and community through entrepreneurship, will lead our opening session. Expanding the conversation will be Joe Gorra of the Veritas Life Center, sharing his work on developing a theology of entrepreneurship, and Dean Blevins of Nazarene Theological Seminary, sharing his work on how theological education can prepare leaders to support and nurture entrepreneurship. Hosting this conversation will be Lawrence Ward of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Abundant Life Church, who has been training entrepreneurs both in the local church and through the seminary for years.
The Local Church in the New Global World
Our first morning session at Karam Forum 2020 will feature two TED-style talks, exploring how the church can bring life to the world in the new cultural conditions of our time. Technologies and new ideas are connecting the world. Commerce is becoming central to culture, and boundaries between social worlds are collapsing. We have many new opportunities to love our neighbors, and many new challenges as old moral structures are disrupted. How can local churches equip the saints for ministry in this exciting and difficult time?
Greg Forster and Jules Martinez of Trinity International University will discuss how we can renew the mission of the church in the new global world. Forster will bring ancient wisdom from the second-century church to consider how the 21st-century church can bring life to the world in the economic domain of life, which is where the modern world mostly lives. Martinez, who organized hurricane relief as a pastor in Puerto Rico, will speak on the challenge of building the kingdom of God and serving our local communities across lines of ethnic and political division, seeking both prophetic independence and constructive collaboration.
A discussion will follow the talks with a panel including Steven Acevedo of LABI College and Dan Doriani of Covenant Seminary. Hosting the session will be Abson Joseph, dean of Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University.
Discipling People in the New Economy
After lunch, we will consider the challenges of the new economy. If you were with us at the 2018 Faith at Work Summit, or if you have seen the video of that summit’s session on this topic, you are aware of the profound “disruption of work” that the new economy is bringing to our lives. As the 2018 speakers stressed, this disruption is only beginning, and is ushering in a wide-ranging reorganization of all the structures of our lives.
At Karam Forum 2020, Lisa Slayton of Tamim Partners – who hosted the 2018 summit session – will deliver a joint presentation on how the church can respond. Her co-presenter will be Terry Timm, pastor of Christ Community Church of the South Hills and author of the faith-and-work book A Movable Feast. Slayton and Timm will present what they’ve learned in their work in Pittsburgh, developing new approaches to the perennial task of discipling people through a period of rapid social change.
The dynamism of the new economy creates a cultural environment that is “VUCA”: volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. This makes discipleship a huge challenge, and the challenge is not the same for everyone. As people who have devoted large amounts of their careers to this problem, Slayton and Timm will share some categories for thinking about the different kinds of challenges people are facing, and how to help them effectively grow as disciples.
A panel discussion will follow featuring insights from Christeen Rico, a Silicon Valley faith and work movement leader; DeLano Sheffield, pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church; and Michaela O’Donnell Long, senior director of the De Pree Center at Fuller Theological Seminary. The session will be hosted by Deborah Gill of Assemblies of God Theological Seminary.
Karam Forum 2020 will feature all that – plus inspiring messages from Rich Mouw and Greg Jones, powerful testimony from Rachael and Jacob Denhollander, and of course all your colleagues and friends from across our network and beyond. There’s no substitute for being there, so register today!