Brethren in Christ Study Conferences

Banner for the 2017 Sider Institute study conference on "Prophetic Mission."

Brethren in Christ Study Conference 2017

The 2017 Brethren in Christ study conference was held on November 10, 2017, at Messiah College.

Its focus was on the theme "Prophetic Mission: Being the Church in a Post-Church Age."



About This Year's Conference

American Christians are living in a post-church age.

The 21st century has witnessed major transformations in the way people engage the Christian faith and participate in local congregations. Evangelical and mainline churches have experienced noticeable drops in membership. Numerous congregations have witnessed a growing divide between the religiously active and those resistant to churchgoing. In particular, millennials—people age 30 and under—stand out as the least likely to see value in church attendance. In addition, Christian and non-Christian media alike have observed the rise of the Nones—those who claim no affiliation with any organized religion.

These developments should concern those of us who care about the ministry of the local congregation and who value belonging to the community of faith.

This study conference seeks to explore what it might mean to be the church in a post-church age. It will address such questions as:

  • What challenges and opportunities do pastors and other church leaders face as they minister in a post-church age?
  • How can Christians continue to communicate the message of the gospel at a time of declining membership, shifting patterns of church attendance and the rise of the religiously unaffiliated?
  • How does this difficult context offer Christians a much-needed opportunity to recover and reclaim the true mission and meaning of the church?

Attending this conference is an opportunity to fulfill one Lifelong BIC Learning credit, an expectation for all Brethren in Christ pastors within each renewal period.

Major Conference Sessions and Presenters

"Rationale for a Study Conference on "Being the Church in a Post-Church Age"

by Devin C. Manzullo-Thomas, Director of the Sider Institute and Lecturer in the Humanities, Messiah College

Stories from a "Post-Church Age"

Panel discussion featuring:

  • Tim Fisher | Senior Pastor, Walkersville (Md.) Community Church
  • Erika Grace | Co-founder and Director, (Re)Story Philly
  • Justin Douglas | Lead Pastor, The Bridge (Hummelstown, Pa.)
  • Vicky Landis | Mobilization Administrator, Brethren in Christ Church U.S.

"Post-Church America as a Mission Field"

by Hank Johnson, Pastor of Discipleship and Youth Ministry, Harrisburg (Pa.) Brethren in Christ Church

"Constructing the Casa de Cristo: Post-Christendom America and the Jesus Call to Love Our Neighbors"

by Jeff Wright, Pastor, Madison Street Church (Riverside, Calif.) and President, viaShalom