Annual Disciple Making Church Conference calls participants to ‘abide in Christ’

January event to feature Jeff Eddings, co-founder of Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community

by Emily Enders Odom | Presbyterian News Service
Jeff Eddings, speaker at 2017 Disciple-Making Church Conference. (Photo provided)

Jeff Eddings, speaker at 2017 Disciple-Making Church Conference. (Photo provided)

LOUISVILLE – As part of its ongoing mission to foster a culture of discipling—central to Christian life and practice—the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s office of Evangelism announced plans for its annual Disciple Making Church Conference.

The 2017 conference—based on John 15:4 and entitled, “Abide in Me… A Spiritual Purging”—is designed to introduce participants to a variety of spiritual practices and help them live fuller mental and spiritual lives in order to bear more fruit for Jesus Christ and Christ’s church. The conference will be held January 16–19, 2017, at the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort, St. Pete Beach, Florida.

Plenary speakers will be the Rev. Jeff Eddings, co-founder of the Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community in Pittsburgh; the Rev. Sharon Stewart, part-time pastor at the Homestead (Pa.) United Presbyterian Church and part-time pastoral associate for Southminster Presbyterian Church; the Rev. Ray Jones, associate director of Evangelism, Presbyterian Mission Agency; and the Rev. Steve Ebling, pastor, New Hope Presbyterian Church in Fishers, Indiana.

“Anyone who owns a house understands the need for a good purging every now and then,” said Eddings. “All the stuff of life tends to pile up in the corners of our basements and attics and we frequently find ourselves tripping over it all! The same thing tends to happen to the church community and its members. We tend to hold onto things we don’t need anymore. We tend to collect models of ministry or books on ministry or program after program. Sometimes we need to purge ourselves of all that stuff and be reminded of the basic heart of the gospel to love God and to love others.”

Eddings said that his teaching at the conference will focus on several spiritual concepts of Saint Ignatius that will help participants to live into Christian community in healthy and holistic ways. Those concepts are Interior Freedom, Disordered Attachments, and Spiritual Indifference.

“Being a pastor over the last 15 years has made me aware of how much pressure and stress our pastors and church leaders find themselves under in their work in the church,” Eddings said. “What excites me about this conference is the opportunity to minister to pastors and church leaders to help them find greater spiritual health in order that they might better serve those God puts before them in their ministry.”

In addition to the plenary presentations, the conference schedule also includes several workshops and optional afternoon activities, small group time, varied worship experiences, and opportunities for fellowship.

“One unique feature of the conference will be an opportunity to experience a Kintsugi service,” Eddings said. “This is a type of worship service—geared toward the spirituality of mental health—that we have been doing in the Hot Metal community. It is more contemplative in nature with a Taizé vibe. In it we explore various aspects of mental health as it relates to our spiritual life.”

Eddings will also be doing several drama pieces both in worship and along with his presentations that will help attendees explore the conference’s topics and theme through a narrative lens.

For complete conference information and to register online, visit the conference website.

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