Karam Forum is an incarnational experience. God made us as embodied creatures, not brains in jars! As Karam Forum comes to Atlanta this Jan. 3-4, we’ll be encountering a variety of people and organizations – some you’ve probably heard of, and some you probably haven’t – who are taking the lead on bringing a new way of living out our faith to communities in Atlanta. As in the past, we’ll be meeting both pastoral leaders and people who lead outside the church walls.
Time is running out to register for this unique event, featuring Rich Mouw, Greg Jones and Rachael and Jacob Denhollander among many others, so register today! The limited-time price of $100 is available only through Dec. 15. You can also reserve your hotel room for the conference price of $129, available only through Dec. 18. (Faculty and other leaders at ON partner schools, check with your ON liaison to get a coupon for conference registration.)
At last year’s meeting of Karam Forum, in Dallas, we took a field trip to visit Park Cities Presbyterian Church and spend time learning from both pastors and the congregants they collaborate with. This year, we’re taking the next step by holding Karam Forum in a church – Intown Community Church. Throughout our time together we’ll be meeting people who are living out the mission we stand for in Atlanta.
Obviously we’re excited to hear from our hosts at Intown about how they’re learning to connect Sunday to Monday. Jimmy Agan, a pastor at Intown and former professor at ON partner school Covenant Seminary, will share with us how that journey has been going for Intown. They’ve been generous and gracious hosts to Karam Forum through all the ups and downs of event preparation, so we think we’re in a position to testify that Intown is serious about deploying the church in service to those outside it!
Another Atlanta leader we’ll hear from at Karam Forum 2020 is Doug Hurley. He’s a pastor at Atlanta’s North Point Community Church, which is well known for its lead pastor Andy Stanley. Doug recently announced an initiative at North Point called ReWork. He writes in to give us a preview:
Research shows that well over half of the young adults in this country have left the church, and our youngest generation has little knowledge about Jesus. This is heartbreaking. We want so much more for them—and so does Jesus. But how are we going to help skeptics consider the possibility that God loves them if they won’t come to church? We think the workplace presents a great opportunity because everyone spends so much time there, and Christians in this context are surrounded by people who don’t share their faith…
That’s why we created ReWork. We want engaged Christians in the marketplace to rethink work – to see it as something God loves and a place he wants them to think differently about their relationships. And thinking differently should result in doing differently. Part of doing differently could involve leading a Life Lessons Over Lunch group. These groups are facilitated by Christians in the workplace so skeptics can explore faith right where they are.
As important as the Life Lessons experience is, what’s vital is how the Life Lessons leader lives out their faith in the days between meetings. We want them to be aware that God has positioned them for maximum influence with their unbelieving co-workers.
Doug is an alumnus of Made to Flourish’s Learning Communities, one of MTF’s services to help pastors catalyze change in their churches. Longtime members of the ON community will not be shocked to learn that MTF’s fingerprints are on a lot of positive developments in Atlanta! Local MTF city network leader Alex Villasana will welcome us to Atlanta, facilitate our encounters with Atlanta leaders, and also share some of the encouraging developments at his own ecclesial home, Christos Community Church.
But we aren’t only going to hear about church-based efforts! In fact, at Karam Forum you’ll encounter the world outside the church in the most tangible way possible. We’re going to meet Refuge Coffee, a local business that hires refugees to help them find work and make a home in Atlanta. And we’re going to serve you Refuge Coffee as well, so you can taste the fruits of their labor.
We’re also going to meet the AND Campaign, an Atlanta-based organization working to build a more responsible form of Christian witness in the world of justice and politics. Affirming both the dignity of work and the imperatives of compassion, AND helps Christians to be “more than just liberals or conservatives” in their politics.
There’s more in store for us as well! We’re looking forward to seeing you, incarnationally, in Atlanta. Register today to join us for this time of inspiration, equipping and connecting. As we have said many times, there really is no substitute for being there.