Set for Aug. 1-3 in Windsor, Ont., at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts, Inspire 2019 will be a great time of worship and fellowship as well as a chance to learn about ways in which the Christian Reformed Church is offering the gospel message to people around the world.
I’m sure of this because I got to attend Inspire 2017 in my hometown, Detroit. While it was great to see family and to visit a few old stomping grounds, Inspire was by far the highlight of that trip.
As a writer for Christian Reformed Church Communications, I’ve covered many events and conferences. Going into downtown Detroit’s Renaissance Center for Inspire 2017, I wondered if this would be another one of those interesting, but not necessarily . . . well, inspiring gatherings to write about. I was wrong.
Almost as soon as I arrived, I sensed an eagerness and attitude of expectation among those attending from all over North America and beyond. There was an indescribable energy and spirit that would show itself in rousing times of worship, compelling plenary speakers, insightful workshops, and times to hang out with one another.
Inspire 2019 promises to be just as enjoyable, challenging, and valuable for those who are leaders or volunteers in their churches. Bestselling author Ann Voskamp, who had to cancel her appearance at Inspire 2017 because of sickness, will speak on Friday evening. Voskamp’s books include The Broken Way:A Daring Path into the Abundant Life and Unwrapping the Greatest Gift.
Ed Stetzer, an author, seminary professor, and internationally known church planter, will speak earlier in the day. Both Stetzer and Voskamp will be part of worship times led by Gail De Young, worship leader at Rehoboth CRC in Gallup, N. Mex., and Jeremy Simpson, associate pastor of community life and worship at Southridge Church, a Reformed Church in America congregation in Kalamazoo, Mich. Each day a praise team will invite participants to worship with music and songs spanning many styles and traditions.
Thursday’s keynote speaker will be Calvin College Chaplain Mary Hulst, who will talk about what it means for all generations and cultures to seek faith and “to be church together in the 21st century.”
Soong-Chan Rah, the Milton B. Engebretson Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, Ill., will speak about “The Necessity of Lament in Our Broken World.”
Dozens of workshops will explore topics such as racism in the church, the latest trends in and resources for worship, help for deacons and elders with their congregational ministries, disability concerns, ministry in an interfaith world, and leadership development.
Looking ahead to the engaging speakers, powerful worship, and fascinating workshops, I expect that the same excitement and energy—inspired by the same Spirit—will be evident at Inspire 2019 as it was two years ago in Detroit.