April 7, 2016

2016 Plenary Speakers & Topics

Luis PalauLUIS PALAU on Dream Great Dreams: Many churches in America are growing exponentially. Some key areas have seen the Church surprisingly expand. We must look at those areas and integrate certain ideas into our leadership if the Church is going to continue to reach our world for Jesus.

Bio: Evangelist 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 one million registered decisions for Jesus Christ. He has authored close to 50 books, contributed articles on issues of faith to countless publications, and counseled business leaders, political leaders, and heads of state around the world.


Paco-Amador-amplifyPACO AMADOR on Ancient Antioch: A Faith Designed for the Modern City

Bio: Paco Amador pastors the New Life congregation in a Mexican immigrant neighborhood in Chicago. He enjoys running, dancing with his four daughters, wrestling with his three boys, and bike riding through the city.



James-Meeks-amplifyJAMES MEEKS on The Crime of the Century: Many people think that all crimes are actually being committed outside of the Church. In this sermon, Pastor Meeks reveals how the Christian Church could be committing the crime of the century. Scripture reference: 2 Kings 7:1-10

Bio: James T. Meeks is the founder and senior pastor of Salem Baptist Church of Chicago, which has been recognized as one of the fastest growing megachurches in the United States. Salem is the largest African American church in Illinois with over 15,000 members. In 2002, James successfully ran for Illinois state senator. His win made him the first Independent legislator ever elected to the Illinois Senate. He served three terms, where his major focus was on educational equity.


Lee StrobelLEE STROBEL on Stronger Salt, Brighter Light: Pastors enter the ministry with a strong desire to reach their community for Christ, but they soon encounter the difficulty of lighting the fire of evangelism in their congregation. This talk will focus on specific elements that are typically missing from local churches — and which can reignite the flames of outreach when they’re implemented. Attendees will walk away with practical, biblical, and proven plans that they can put into practice immediately in their church.

Bio: Atheist-turned-Christian Lee Strobel, the former award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune is a New York Times best-selling author of more than twenty books. He serves as Professor of Christian Thought at Houston Baptist University and as a Teaching Pastor at Woodlands Church in Texas, one of the largest congregations in the country. His latest book is The Case for Grace. Lee co-authored the Becoming a Contagious Christian course, which has trained a million-and-a-half Christians on how to naturally and effectively talk with others about Jesus.


James ChoungJAMES CHOUNG on Spiritual Questions of the Day: It seems that each generation asks its most important spiritual questions a little differently. What are those spiritual questions? How can the gospel answer those questions in a relevant yet faithful manner?

Bio: James Choung serves as InterVarsity’s National Director of Evangelism and is ordained with the Association of Vineyard Churches. He has written True Story: A Christianity Worth Believing In and its follow-up, Real Life: A Christianity Worth Living Out, and he has taught at Bethel Seminary San Diego on leadership development and evangelism. James previously served on the pastoral staff of a Boston-area urban church plant, of a megachurch in Seoul, and of a house church in Los Angeles.


Ed StetzerED STETZER on What the Unchurched Can Tell Us about Our Evangelism: How are we really doing in reaching the unreached? Ed will share the results for the first time of the largest-of-its-kind evangelism research project that looked at the unchurched and how churches are reaching them. He will also offer best practices for churches to reach the unchurched in our communities.

Bio: Ed Stetzer is the Executive Director of LifeWay Research, a prolific author, and well-known conference and seminar leader. Ed has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books. Ed is the Senior Fellow of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College and is a contributing editor for Christianity Today and a columnist for Outreach Magazine. He also serves as a pastor of Grace Church in Hendersonville, Tenn., a congregation he planted in 2011.


DerwinGrayDERWIN GRAY on Don’t Do A Church for the Unchurched. Be A Church For the Unchurched: God doesn’t call us to do a church for the unchurched. God calls and empowers us to be the church for the unchurched! Stop doing church and be the church and watch your people grow in evangelistic passion.

Bio: Derwin L. Gray is a former NFL football player as well as the founding and lead pastor of Transformation Church (TC), one of the fastest-growing churches in America. TC is a multiethnic, multi-generational, mission-shaped community with four campuses near Charlotte, NC. Working toward his doctorate at Northern Seminary and has been awarded an honorary doctorate from Southern Evangelical Seminary, Derwin is the author of Hero: Unleashing God’s Power in a Man’s Heart and Limitless Life: You are More Than Your Past When God Hold Your Future.


Rice BroocksRICE BROOCKS on Becoming an Engaging Church: We are in the midst of a what has been called “the great evangelism crisis” in North America. With a small percentage of churches growing through evangelism and a rising tide of millennials moving away from the Christian faith, we must make evangelism the priority. This session describes how churches can build a culture of evangelism that equips believers to express and defend the truth of the gospel.

Bio: Rice Broocks is the co-founder of the Every Nation family of churches, which includes more than 1,000 churches in more than 60 countries. He has spent the last 30 years with Every Nation focusing on equipping college students around the world to defend their faith. Author of God’s Not Dead: Evidence for God in an Age of Uncertainty (Thomas Nelson, March 2013), Broocks also serves as the senior minister of Bethel World Outreach Church in Nashville, Tenn. He holds a DMiss from Fuller Theological Seminary.


Kim ReismanKIM REISMAN on Restorative Witness: A Renewed Posture for Evangelism: In a polarized age of mistrust and skepticism, Christ-followers are called to a restorative witness, proclaiming the whole creation nature of salvation. Although this will require a variety of tools and practices, we must have a posture – a way of being in the world – that transcends the boundaries of culture and place.

Bio: Kimberly Reisman is Executive Director of World Methodist Evangelism, a ministry that brings the global Methodist/Wesleyan family of Christians together around the work of multiplying witnesses for Jesus Christ. An author, pastor, teacher, and theologian, Kim is a frequent speaker, focusing on evangelism, spiritual formation, women’s ministries, leadership development and the intersection between faith and culture. She is an elder in the United Methodist Church and has written numerous books. Kim holds a PhD in theology from Durham University in the United Kingdom.


Kevin HarneyKEVIN HARNEY on Unleashing the Full Outreach Potential of a Local Church: Natural outreach should be infused into every aspect of your congregational life. In this session, we will explore four core concepts of Organic Outreach that can be used in the life of your church right after you return home from the Amplify Conference. An occasional evangelism or mission ’emphasis’ won’t change a church or the world. It is time to commit to a transformative process of church engagement in the work of the Great Commission.

Bio: Kevin Harney is a local church pastor, author, and international speaker. He is the Founder and Visionary Leader of Organic Outreach Ministries International. Kevin is the author of the Organic Outreach series of books (with his wife Sherry), the U-Turn Church, and many other books and studies. He trains movement leaders (church, denomination, and national) in how to transform the culture of an organization from being inwardly focused to evangelistic on every level.


Lon AllisonLON ALLISON on The Wonder of Words: It takes words, gospel words, to lead people to the God-saved life. Is proclamation evangelism effective in today in the Western World? The answer is an emphatic yes. This talk focuses on the power of the gospel when it is delivered by Spirit-filled men and women in all kinds of public settings. This address centers on how, where, and when the local church can proclaim Christ and call people to saving faith. It takes prayer, planning, precision, and perseverance.

Bio: Lon Allison is Pastor of Teaching and Outreach at Wheaton Bible Church in the Chicago area. Lon is also an instructor and has taught Masters and doctoral evangelism courses at North Park Theological Seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and Northern Seminary, and is a visiting professor at Wheaton College Graduate School. Previously, Lon served as Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. Lon holds a DMin in Homiletics from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.


Rick-Richardson-amplifyBeth Seversen-amplifyRICK RICHARDSON & BETH SEVERSEN on Reaching the Unchurched: What We Are Learning from Senior Pastors and the Formerly Unchurched: There are 156,000,000 unchurched men, women, and children in the U.S. We would all love to see the Church reach them. Over the last four years, Rick and Beth have cohorted the senior pastors of 37 churches, helping them engage personally in witness and lead their churches into corporate witness. They have also interviewed 60 senior pastors of effective evangelistic churches, as well as 60 formerly unchurched people now a part of those churches. We will share our findings to equip your church to reach the unchurched.

Bios: Rick Richardson is Professor of Evangelism and Leadership at Wheaton College and the Director of the Masters in Evangelism and Leadership and the Masters in Missional Church Movements degrees. He has recently been appointed an Affiliate Professor of Evangelism and Mission in Western Contexts at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is also a Graduate Faculty Scholar with the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism (BGCE), where he directs Evangelizing Churches, a pastor cohort coaching, resourcing, and research arm that serves and equips local churches for witness. He also directs the research arm of the BGCE for all things related to evangelism and culture

Beth Seversen is the Evangelism Team Leader for the Evangelical Covenant Church. Beth served as a church planter and as Associate Pastor. Formerly, Beth was Associate Director of the Masters in Evangelism and Leadership and the Masters in Missional Church Movements and adjunct faculty at Wheaton College. Beth is currently pursuing a doctorate in Intercultural Studies researching churches effectively reaching emerging adults.


Alan-Hirsch-amplifyALAN HIRSCH on Finding the Keys to Culture and to the Human Heart: The truth is that the world we are living in is not ‘secular’ in the sense that we tend to use it the term. The fact is most people report believing in God or a deity of some sort, they think Jesus is the best person who ever lived, and they think spirituality (the search for meaning, purpose, identity, and community) is really important. What they have rejected is the church, along with its standardized, formulaic, reductionistic messaging of the gospel. We need to listen to people and to culture…they are giving us the keys to their soul.

Bio: Alan Hirsch is the founder of 100 Movements, Forge Mission Training Network, and Future Travelers. All three organizations focus on pioneering leadership development and training and consulting in on the church as missional movement. Known for his innovative approach to mission, Alan is widely considered to be a thought-leader in his field and has worked with churches and organization across the world, but mainly in North America, Europe, and Australia.


David-Choi-amplifyDAVID CHOI on Prayer-less, Spirit-less; Prayer-filled, Spirit-filled: Prayer. We assume it. We have known about it since we started going to church. But do we truly believe that this is necessary to any great move of God in history? Is it possible that the lack of transformative power in the Western Church can be traced back to a self-sufficiency that puts our ultimate confidence in talents, financial resources, and strategies? What might happen if we as leaders committed the best part of our day to cry out to God for His power and wisdom? What would be unleashed if our churches and organizations were praying fervently and consistently for more of God for our cities and neighborhoods?

Bio: David Choi is Lead Pastor of Church of the Beloved in Chicago, which was planted in 2012 in the city of Chicago. Since then, the church has grown to 700 people from thirty five nations, worshiping in five locations in Chicago, Seattle, and Northern Virginia.


Peter HongPETER HONG on Beyond Our Walls: In the face of massive, unprecedented sociological shifts in our culture, the Church in America has an enormous opportunity to reach the multiracial, multiethnic, ‘nations’ that are in our backyards. How can we courageously respond to the harvest that is plentiful? What can the Church do to respond in such a time as this, to reflect the coming Kingdom of God?

Bio: Peter Hong is Lead Pastor of New Community Covenant Church in Chicago. Since arriving in the U.S. at the age of 10, he has lived most of his life in Chicago. He has completed a MDiv and a MTh from Trinity International University (formerly known as TEDS). His passions in life include preaching Jesus as the goal of all of life, planting multicultural churches in major urban city­ centers that will proclaim Jesus as Lord, and pastoring kingdom missionaries that will make Jesus known to the ends of the earth.