Baptist Resource Network Annual Business Session and Gathering
Tuesday, October 3, 2023, 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (plus, dinner)
at Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey Hotel, 4650 Lindle Road, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Prefer another hotel? Here is a list.
Group rate for hotel rooms is no longer available. See link to book rooms on the Sheraton website.
Jeff Christopherson, Executive Director, the Canadian National Baptist Convention and Church Planting Canada
JEFF CHRISTOPHERSON is about fostering Kingdom movements of reproducing churches that transform neighborhoods and the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jeff is the Executive Director of two organizations; the Canadian National Baptist Convention, and Church Planting Canada. He also is co-founder and missiologist for the Church Multiplication Institute at Wheaton College’s Billy Graham Center.
He and his wife, Laura, live in Cambridge, Ontario. They have two children and four grandchildren. ￼
Jeff is the author of “Once You See: Seven Temptations of the Western Church: A Novel,” which drives readers to reflect on how God might be calling them to a richer, more fulfilling life, leadership, and ministry. He will examine these temptations during the Accelerate Conference. Every conference attendee will receive a copy of this book. @Christopherson3
Barry Whitworth, Executive Director, Baptist Resource Network
BARRY WHITWORTH has been in ministry for over 30 years, serving as a mission pastor, associate pastor, church planter, pastor, interim pastor, transitional pastor and planter, church planting strategist, lead church planting catalyst, church planting director, and now executive director. Before his calling as Executive Director of the Baptist Resource Network in February 2017, he was a church planting missionary and served as the Multiplying Churches Team Leader for the BRN. Barry, who has planted churches and served on church staffs in Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland, says his passion is the local church — to assist and encourage the churches in “reaching the lost [and] discipling the saved.” He seeks to help Pennsylvania/South Jersey Baptists “decrease lostness,” “push back darkness” and “have an impact in our generation for such a time as this.” He and his wife Beth have two daughters and six grandchildren.
Ryan Day, Accelerate Conference Emcee
A native of Westminster, Maryland, PASTOR RYAN DAY came to Wrightsdale Baptist Church as Lead Pastor in 2020. Prior to Wrightsdale, he served at Grace Baptist Church in Hazleton, Pennysylvania for twenty years. Ryan is a 1998 graduate of Baptist Bible College (now Clarks Summit University) and 2005 graduate of Baptist Bible Seminary. He is currently engaged in doctoral studies (D.Min) from Baptist Bible Seminary.
When he’s not ministering at the church, enjoying time with his family, or making plans for the next trip to Ocean City, Maryland, Ryan enjoys presidential biographies, the Baltimore Ravens, and playing guitar in praise and worship settings. He loves Lancaster County and is excited about “Accelerating Kingdom Movement” within the BRN. Ryan is married to Heather, and they have five sons and one daughter.
Worship led by Jermaine Dolly
JERMAINE DOLLY, worship leader at Ezekiel Baptist Church, is an emerging Black gospel artist and part-time comedian. He sings tenor and falsetto, and plays piano and drums. After graduating from West Chester University, he began his career as opening act for Tye Tribbett, recorded with him on his “Greater Than” (2013), and was included in Tribett’s anthology “Wow Gospel 2018.” His first big hit, which brought him national attention upon its release as a single in 2015, was “You,” called “a refreshing anthem to Jesus” by Blessing Harper of Jubileecast.com. It and another single, “Come and Knock on My Door,” were featured on Dolly’s only album as of 2022, “Dolly Express” (2017), which reached number one on Billboard’s list of Top Gospel Albums. As of 2022 Dolly has had three subsequent singles at #1 on Billboard’s Gospel Airplay charts: “Pull Us Through” (2020), “It’s Gonna Be Alright” (2020), and “I’ll Go” (2021, written 2011).
Most of this year’s breakouts will focus on the “Seven Temptations of the Western Church,” as described in Jeff Christopherson’s book, “Once You See.” These temptations are areas where churches can be tempted to be more like western culture than the Bible.
Temptation 1: “We are a Bible-Believing Church”
Rather: “We are a Bible-obeying people.”
The Return to Christ-Like Disciple-Making—It’s not a program; it’s a lifestyle.
Kingdom Corrective to Philosophicalism: Essential to a sincere belief in the inerrancy and infallibility of God’s Word is an assumption that God calls his disciples to become a Bible-obeying people and not merely intellectual stakeholders of theologically orthodox positions. We understand that true orthodoxy affirms that biblical belief is a verb—doctrines that we humbly live and practice—rather than a noun—theoretical precepts to which we philosophically subscribe. Therefore, we choose to measure spiritual maturity and doctrinal integrity with the benchmarks found in our everyday obedience to God’s Word.
Temptation 2: “We have a gifted pastor/ministry team.”
Rather: “We have a gifted church body.”
Kingdom Corrective to Professionalism: The gospel is every disciple’s calling—not just a chosen few. Because of this, we seek to multiply Jesus’ disciples by developing and deploying the body of Christ into a diverse and infinitely reproducible co-vocational mission-force. Therefore, our vocational leaders see their primary assignment as equippers and multipliers of Jesus’ disciple-making insurgency.
Temptation 3: “Our Sunday worship is inspiring, and our preaching is strong.”
Rather: “We are on mission 24/7 (it’s not all about Sunday morning).”
Kingdom Corrective to Presentationalism: We are the functioning body of Christ in community, not a well-tuned Sunday service. Though we value the weekly gathering of believers for corporate worship and biblical instruction, we also understand that Jesus’ purpose for his body cannot be contained in that hour. Therefore, what we most highly prize, publicly celebrate, and consider as our ultimate act of worship is preparing the entire body of Christ as sacrificial servants for Jesus’ 24/7 mission and his imminent return.
Temptation 4: “Everybody is welcome.”
Rather: “We search for those to welcome (not ‘come to us’ but ‘go to them’).”
Kingdom Corrective to Passivism: We actively search for lost sheep—not hope that lost sheep look for us. Therefore, we happily inconvenience our personal comforts and disrupt our religious preferences for the sake of effectively participating in Jesus’ selfless and courageous search and rescue mission.
Temptation 5: “We are one of the fastest growing churches.”
Rather: “It’s not about seating capacity, but sending capacity.”
Kingdom Corrective to Pragmatism: The kingdom of God is our only goal, and not the advancement of our individual brand. Because of this, we choose to measure growth in terms of city-wide gospel impact rather than excelling in a competition for an evaporating market share of the evangelically predisposed. Therefore, for the kingdom outcome of gospel proximity, we prefer to selflessly invest in united efforts of gospel collaboration rather than pragmatically contending for our own interests.
Temptation 6: “We love our country.”
Rather: “We are Kingdom citizens.”
Kingdom Corrective to Partisanism: While national patriotism and political perspectives are normal and necessary for healthy and functioning democracies, our highest and exclusive allegiance is to the eternal kingdom of heaven—not a temporal nation, nationality, ethnicity, or political ideology. Therefore, we voluntarily lower all secondary loyalties so that our earthly perspectives might not become a stumbling block to the life and death mission of Jesus’ church.
Temptation 7: “We train pastors around the world.”
Rather: “Pastors around the world train us.”
Kingdom Corrective to Paternalism: We have a leadership that maintains a humble learning posture, holding to a sincere belief that Jesus’ church is expressed in a globally diverse mosaic that includes every nation, tribe, people, and language. Therefore, we engage global diversity with a gospel-centered posture that eradicates any hubris of geographical or cultural superiority by seeking to both learn and assist in ways that honor and edify the body of Christ wherever it is found.”
Navigating the Changing Culture and How To Protect Your Ministry
As a Christian ministry, how do you address the changing cultural views on issues such as sexuality, marriage, and gender identity? How can your ministry love and serve everyone while not giving into the shifting morality of the day? This seminar will explore the recent cultural and legal challenges the Church is currently facing so that you can be a good steward of your ministry, understand how to navigate these challenges, and can know how to keep the doors open for the Gospel for future generations.
6:00-7:00 p.m. Registration
7:00-8:30 p.m. Dessert Meet and Greet with Jeff Christopherson
7:00-8:00 a.m. “Dangers Facing the Church” Breakfast
8:00-10:30 a.m. Registration
9:00-10:00 a.m. Business Session
10:00-10:15 a.m. Break/Prayer Time
10:15-10:30 a.m. Worship Session 1
10:30-10:45 a.m. Welcome
10:45-11:15 a.m. Main Session 1: Barry Whitworth
11:15-11:25 a.m. Explanation of Networking, Expo Time, Cooperative Missions
11:25-12:30 p.m. Networking, Expo, Lunch
12:30-12:40 p.m. Worship Session 2
12:40-1:10 p.m. Main Session 2: Keynote 1: Jeff Christopherson
1:10-1:15 p.m. Explanation of Breakouts
1:15-1:30 p.m. Break & Walk to Breakouts
1:30-3:00 p.m. Breakout Sessions
3:00-3:15 p.m. Break
3:15-3:30 p.m. Giveaways
3:30-4:00 p.m. Main Session 3: Keynote 2: Jeff Christopherson
4:00-4:05 p.m. Worship Session 3
4:05-4:15 p.m. Closing Words: Barry Whitworth
4:15-4:20 p.m. Closing Worship
4:20-5:30 p.m. Networking, Expo, Transition to Celebration Banquet
5:30 p.m. BRN Family Celebration Banquet