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The Church…Then…Now…Beyond



A gathering for 1001 New Worshiping Communities and Vital Congregations

Registration opening soon


Perspectives: The Church then…now…beyond is an opportunity for church leaders of all ages, shapes, sizes and identities to take a new look at the ministry and mission of God. We hope this time together will provide a clearer view of ourselves as God’s beloved community, of our neighborhoods, and beyond – to the places God’s Spirit is leading us to love and serve. The conference offers time for faithful leaders longing for church revitalization to learn alongside hopeful church planters taking big risks for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are in this work together, but our work is not the same. That’s why participants will share communal worship and keynotes together but will also have select learning opportunities from either 1001 New Worshiping Communities or Vital Congregations. This allows participants to engage their specific contexts and needs while growing in the community of faith. We hope you’ll join us for a few days in Kansas City!

Nikki Collins
Kathryn Threadgill
1001 NWC Vital Congregations


October 14-16, 2019 in Kansas City, MO

Registration fee:  

Regular: $275
Commuter (not staying at the conference hotel): $275
Day Commuter – Monday: $75
Day Commuter – Tuesday: $100
Day Commuter – Wednesday: $100 
Pre-Conference – The Open Table: Suggested donation at the church of $10 per person 
Pre-Conference – Contemplative Renewal: $30
Post Conference – Racism & Organizing 101/Children Code of Conduct: $40 
Guest Meal Package (ages 14 and older): $275
Guest Meal Package (for children ages 5-13): $125

Registration deadline: 

September 20, 2019

Conference hotel:

The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center is located in the heart of downtown Kansas City, MO and linked to the Crown Center Kansas City with exciting events, unique attractions, shops and restaurants. Hotel guests are also near downtown sights like the Kansas City Convention Center, the Sprint Center, Union Station and the Power & Light District.

Single and double occupancy rooms:  $144 per night.   

To get the group rate: Book the PCUSA Group Rate at the Westin. Reservations must be made on or before September 20, 2019.

Pre-Conference: The Open Table Kansas City

Come experience a dinner church gathering of one of Kansas City’s own NWCs, The Open Table. Meet with leaders beforehand to learn how they came to be, and participate in worship, conversation, and communion as you nourish your whole person. Learn more about The Open Table.

When: Sunday, Oct. 13th, from 6:30-8:00 PM

Where: Second Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, MO

Cost: Suggested donation of $10 per person at the church

Limited to 25 participants 

Childcare will be available for children ages 0-5 (provided by The Open Table – kids eat together with adults, and then are invited to go with two childcare workers to play or remain with us for the rest of the gathering).

Hosted by The Open Table.

Pre-Conference: Contemplative Renewal Retreat

Need a break? Come a day early to Kansas City and join other NWC leaders for reflection and time to nurture our spiritual wellness as leaders. We’ll meet off site and have breakfast, good coffee, and lunch. Our gathering will include space for silence, good questions, stories, intention-setting, and an optional restorative yoga practice. Enter the conference refreshed and renewed. 

When: Monday, Oct. 14, 2019 from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Where: American Institute of Architects (AIA)

Cost: $30 includes breakfast and lunch

Limited to 25 participants 

 Hosted by: 

  • Sara Hayden, 1001 NWC Staff and Host of New Way Podcast
  • Wendie Brockhaus, Curator of The Open Table, Kansas City

Post-Conference Event will consist of two training sessions: Stewards of Children Code of Conduct Training and Racism & Organizing 101

When: Thursday, Oct. 17 from 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Cost: $40 (includes workbook)

Stewards of Children Code of Conduct Training (from Darkness to Light): During this two-hour training, leaders will be offered the tools to prevent, recognize the signs and react skillfully to child sexual abuse. This is a great opportunity for worshiping communities to establish a Code of Conduct that will not only establish healthy protocol for the church’s ministry activities but will also train your community to be aware and responsive when signs of abuse are observed in the larger community. Child sexual abuse is likely the most prevalent health problem children face, with the most serious array of consequences. In fact, 1 in 10 children will experience sexual abuse before their 18th birthday.

This means that whether you work with youth, are a parent, or are simply a member of a community, it is highly likely that someone you know or care for has experienced, or is currently experiencing, child sexual abuse. It’s going to happen whether you are prepared to deal with it or not – unless you stop it from happening. And the good news, it can be stopped. Equip yourself and your ministry to develop a sustainable and implantable Code of Conduct. Stewards of Children will conduct this training – a nationally-recognized program developed by Darkness to Light. Come and learn or strengthen your practices and then learn how to implement trainings when you return home.

Hosted by Rachelle Soden from Kansas Children’s Service League.

Racism & Organizing 101: A divided world requires honest dialogue in order to strengthen and heal, and the church needs leaders who are committed to dismantling injustice from within and without. This 90-minute interactive workshop, led by multiracial trainers, will establish a common working definition of racism, build awareness of how movements are built, and introduce the deeper work of dismantling racism within your own context. 

Hosted by The Open Table KC.


REV. DR. GREGORY ELLISON II is the co-founder of FEARLESS DIALOGUES, an organization that specializes in creating unique spaces in which unlikely partners can gather to have hard and heartfelt dialogue about difficult subjects. An Atlanta native, Ellison is associate professor of pastoral care and counseling at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. He earned his undergraduate degree from Emory University, and holds M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees in pastoral theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. Ellison is author of Fearless Dialogues: A New Movement for Justice and Cut Dead But Still Alive: Caring for African American Young Men. 


Fearless Dialogues is a grassroots organization committed to creating unique spaces for unlikely partners to engage in hard heartfelt conversations that see gifts in others, hear value in stories, and work for change and positive transformation in self and other. In brief, Fearless Dialogues retrains the eyes and ears of leaders to see gifts instead of stereotypes, and to hear value in the storied lives of others. From this shared space of meaning, where participants see and hear worth in others, the pump is primed for hard conversations and for cultivating hope that leads to sustainable change.

Learn more about Fearless Dialogues.

Becca Stevens is an author, speaker, priest, social entrepreneur, and founder and president of Thistle Farms. After experiencing the death of her father and subsequent child abuse when she was five, Becca longed to open a sanctuary for survivors offering a loving community. In 1997, five women who had experienced trafficking, violence, and addiction were welcomed home. Twenty years later, the organization continues to welcome women with free residences that provide housing, medical care, therapy, and education for two years. Residents and graduates earn income through one of four social enterprises. Thistle Farms’ global market helps employ more than 1,800 women worldwide, and the national network has more than 40 sister communities.

Becca has been featured in The New York Times, on ABC World News and NPR, and was recently named a 2016 CNN Hero and a White House “Champion of Change.” She was featured in the PBS documentary A Path Appears, named Humanitarian of the Year by the Small Business Council of America, and inducted into the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame. Stevens attended the University of the South and Vanderbilt Divinity School. She has been conferred two honorary doctorates. 

Her newest book, Love Heals, will be published by Harper Collins in September of 2017. Becca lives in Nashville with her husband, Grammy-winning songwriter Marcus Hummon, and their three sons. Learn more about Thistle Farms.