By Kate Thompson & Ron W. Corsi
Uniting and energizing the Church and equipping it to attract the non-believers and unchurched to encounter God is driving one conference coming this month to Greater Rhode Island. From laypeople to leaders, Together: Advance the Gospel with renowned evangelist Luis Palau coming to Providence Oct. 21-22 is for the whole body of Christ.
“Usually, Luis Palau is involved in his own ministry,” said Chris Pfeffer, who is helping to publicize the conference. “This is really a historic event for Providence and the greater Rhode Island area, with all these different denominations coming together to worship, praise and learn how to advance the gospel in our local community. We definitely have a unique opportunity.”
Palau’s festivals, featuring the gospel presentation, draw thousands. People of every age, faith, race and economic status come together to conclude a Season of Service – neighborhood clean-ups, food collection, homebuilding and other projects to improve their communities.
And Palau’s Web site touts 8.5 million people reached effectively with the gospel worldwide. Unlike other Palau events, this one is for the Church.
“People do tend to think of us as a Billy Graham-type organization,” said Kevin Palau, President, Luis Palau Association. “At the same time, our real heart is to try to help unify the Church – with a capital C – to really be of influence in their church and region, wherever we do festivals.
“We try to love and stir the community together and sometimes, when the timing is right, we mount a large-scale evangelism festival,” said Mr. Palau, the eldest of Luis Palau’s four sons, including Kevin’s identical twin brother.
“But in the case here, it’s a situation where, maybe, the churches aren’t quite ready for that. They have asked us to come and help them cast a vision and paint a picture of what it looks like in other cities when churches get together to share and spread the Gospel and do the work of Christ,” he said.
Together: Advance the Gospel will see a departure from the hot contemporary music performances and festival fair foods savored in a world-class sports venue by huge crowds of young people and families of all races and beliefs – in favor of an equipping conference for believers across the region.
Christians from all different denominations and backgrounds are invited to join Luis Palau and hear from him.
Pastor Palau will speak Friday night at the VETS Memorial Auditorium. He is expected to challenge Christians to reach out to those who are in their sphere of influence. Worship and prayer will follow his remarks. There’s no cost to attend.
Anyone interested in going deeper, including those in church leadership, are invited to return Saturday to participate in six general sessions about issues that are key to advancing the gospel in today’s world. There also will be several break-out sessions Saturday.
The driving force behind the conference is Love RI, a group of pastors who came together a number of years ago at an annual pastors’ prayer summit. They talked about uniting in ministry for a greater impact on the region.
Included among the many groups working under the umbrella of Love RI, has been the Phillip Center, which exists to help churches and parachurch ministries with their outreach and has been in charge of the Saturday portion of the conference.
Organizers are encouraging people to expect big things to happen, and they hope the gathering will:
- Encourage additional church plants in the region;
- Identify people committed to intentional strategy for outward-focused servant evangelism;
- Develop a strategy for reaching cities through cooperative, community impacting servant evangelism;
- Identify congregations to implement a strategy for using Biblical counseling as a means of leading broken people to Christ and churches that will strategically change their church’s financial priorities to include a significant investment in local evangelism, and
- Institute a prayer strategy that will mobilize intentional prayer for evangelism within local churches and cooperatively among churches in communities.
The Together conference opens at 7 p.m., Oct. 21, at the VETS, when Argentinian-born Palau will take the microphone to encourage and challenge believers of all walks of life to share the Good News, as he has done since he was a young executive in the banking industry in Argentina and spent his weekends preaching the gospel on the streets of his hometown.
“Dad and I are both really excited to be in Rhode Island for the first time and do whatever we can do to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ there,” Kevin Palau said.
On Saturday, evangelistic leaders will offer pastors, ministry leaders and their teams and others interested in advancing the gospel the opportunity to learn from several evangelistic leaders in their fields of expertise through plenary and break-out sessions designed to equip and encourage evangelistic efforts in churches and communities.
- The role of the city in the advance of the gospel;
- Caring for the hurting in the advancement of the gospel;
- Prayer strategies for local advancement of the gospel;
- Advance the gospel through church planting, and
- Funding the advance of the gospel.
“In our home city of Portland, Ore., we’ve been working together in a politically progressive and unchurched place – much like Rhode Island – and have tackled the foster-care system, public schools and refugee care,” Kevin Palau said. “It’s remarkable the good we’ve done when we’ve worked together both internally and externally.
“We love to see the church working together in places like Portland and Rhode Island,” he said. “They’re not in the Bible Belt, and it’s even more important to work together in these tougher places.”
There is a registration fee for Saturday’s program, which includes lunch. Seating will be limited, so attendees are encouraged to register early to ensure a seat.
Here is a line-up of the speakers:
Founder, Luis Palau Association
Luis Palau and his ministry have shared the Good News of Jesus Christ with tens of millions of people through evangelistic events and media over the past 50 years. He has spoken in 75 countries with more than 1 million registered decisions for Jesus Christ. He has authored about 50 books, contributed articles on issues of faith to several publications and counseled business leaders, political leaders and heads of state around the world.
President, Luis Palau Association
The son of international evangelist Luis Palau, he joined the Luis Palau Association in 1985 and began directing the day-to-day operation of the ministry in the late 1990s. Under his leadership, LPA has produced some of the largest Christian events ever staged, created a worldwide network of hundreds of partner evangelists, and developed new models for citywide outreach that integrate major community service initiatives with open-air evangelistic gatherings.
Chief Equity Strategist, Nuveen Asset Management
Bob Doll is Chief Equity Strategist and Senior Portfolio Manager at Nuveen Asset Management. Bob manages the Large Cap Equity Series, consisting of nine strategies. Bob has 35 years of portfolio management experience, received a B.S. in Accounting and a B.A. in Economics from Lehigh University and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a Chartered Financial Analyst. Bob appears regularly on CNBC, Bloomberg TV and Fox Business News discussing the economy and markets.
He serves on a number of boards.
CCEF New England
Alasdair Groves directs CCEF New England and is a faculty member at CCEF where he has served for more than five years. He received his Master of Divinity in counseling from Westminster Theological Seminary. In addition to counseling for CCEF New England, Alasdair has served on the staff of several churches and has a background in campus ministry. He has written articles for the Journal of Biblical Counseling, and regularly teaches a variety of seminars around the New England region.
North American Mission Board
Shaun Pillay is a native of Durban, South Africa, called to serve as a missionary in New England. He planted Cornerstone City Church in downtown Norwich eight years ago. His passion is church planting, coaching, and leadership development. Shaun currently serves as church plant catalyst with North American Mission Board for CT and RI. He and his beautiful bride Deshni currently live in Norwich, CT.
International Renewal Ministries
Originally from Gig Harbor, Washington, Dennis Fuqua received his Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Divinity degrees from Multnomah. He served as a pastor of Peninsula Christian Fellowship in Gig Harbor for twenty-four years. Dennis began working as the director of International Renewal Ministries (IRM) in February 2000. His leadership activities include facilitating summits, equipping others, and developing and maintaining relationship connections with the network of people in IRM.
Bauer Evans is the lead pastor of Crossway Church, in Franklin, MA. He is a native of Philadelphia region but relocated to this area to help plant Crossway Church (www.crosswayma.org) in 2001. Crossway relocated to its permanent home in Franklin, MA in 2011. He is married to his best friend, Linda Evans, celebrating 25 years marriage together, and has four grown children, all Patriots fans! Bauer still roots for the Eagles though!
Executive Director, Church Development
In 1977, Bill began his ministry in New England. Over the years, Bill has held Associate and Youth Pastor positions with churches in Hampton & Rochester, NH, and Wayland, MA. He was also a Senior Pastor in Orange, MA, and North Falmouth, MA. Bill’s ministry in these churches has given him a unique scope and experience that has been instrumental in his position with the Southern New England Ministry Network as the Executive Director of Church Development. He has worked strategically and purposefully in helping church planters.
Dr. Stephen Um
Author & Senior Minister
Having received most of his higher education from institutions near the Boston area, Dr. Um is a graduate of Phillips Academy at Andover and Boston University where he studied Sociology and Philosophy. After receiving a call to ministry, he entered seminary at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary where he received an M.Div. and a post-graduate degree (Th.M.) in Biblical Theology. He received his Ph.D. in New Testament studies at St. Mary’s College (University of St. Andrews) in Scotland. For the past 25 years, Dr. Um and his wife have been involved in several Presbyterian Churches throughout the Northeastern United States.
1 Ave of the Arts, Providence, RI 02903 – www.thevetsri.com
The Friday and Saturday general sessions will be held at this location. Some of the breakout sessions on Saturday will also take place here.
15 Hayes St, Providence, RI 02908 – Additional breakout sessions on Saturday will be held at this location. The church is located just behind the Vets Memorial Auditorium.
Free Friday night. Registration fee Saturday.
Secure paid parking is available at the Providence Place Mall Stateside Entrance (Nordstrom/north side of the mall), directly behind The VETS at a rate of $2.00 for the first 5 hours. To exit the lot on foot, take the North elevators or stairs located at the rear of Nordstrom to level “B” (Hayes Street). This will bring you to street level directly behind the theater. Enter the building on the Park St. side entrance (highway side) or continue up the sidewalk to the theater front entrance.
Free parking is available in the State of Rhode Island lots on Smith Street. On-street parking is available on Francis and Smith Streets.
For additional information or to register please visit www.togetheradvancethegospel.com and www.palau.org.