| speakers |
James K.A. Smith
James K.A. Smith is professor of philosophy at Calvin College where he holds the Gary & Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology & Worldview. Smith also serves as editor in chief of Image journal, a quarterly devoted to “art, mystery, and faith.” The award-winning author of Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?, Desiring the Kingdom, and How (Not) To Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor (2014), his recent books include You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit (2016) and Awaiting the King: Reforming Public Theology (2017). His new book, On the Road with Saint Augustine, will be published in October 2019. Smith also serves as editor in chief of Imagejournal, a quarterly devoted to “art, mystery, and faith.” His popular writing has appeared in magazines such as Christianity Today, First Things, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, as well asthe New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. Jamie and his wife, Deanna, have four children, and live in the Heritage Hill neighborhood of Grand Rapids. They attend Sherman Street Christian Reformed Church.
Plenary Session: Sanctified Ambition
Ambition is a strange phenomenon. In the world, ambition is praised, whereas in the church, ambition is sometimes considered a vice. Is ambition the problem? Or what we’re ambitious for? Success, power, and influence can easily become idols. But the way to avoid idolatry is not to give up in the name of false humility. In this talk, I’ll look to the ancient church father Augustine as a model for how to “sanctify” ambition.
Vince Vitale is Director of the Zacharias Institute. He was educated at Princeton University and the University of Oxford, and he taught philosophy of religion and served as a faculty member at both of these universities. It was during his undergraduate studies in philosophy at Princeton that Vince took an unexpected journey from skeptic to evangelist. He then completed masters and PhD studies at Oxford, receiving a Daniel M. Sachs Graduating Scholarship (which was awarded annually to one graduating Princetonian) and a Clarendon Scholarship (supported by Oxford University Press).
While researching at Oxford, Vince developed a new response to the problem of evil (termed the Non-Identity Defense). In years since, he has co-authored books with Ravi Zacharias (Why Suffering?, and Jesus Among Secular Gods). For his work on Søren Kierkegaard, Inter-Varsity Press and Tyndale House awarded Vince the title IVP Young Philosopher of Religion of the Year 2013.
Vince has commended the Christian faith on the campuses of many universities, including UC Berkeley, Johns Hopkins, Carnegie Mellon, Princeton, Oxford, and Cambridge. This past year he had the privilege of speaking at Google Headquarters and Passion City Church.
Vince is incredibly grateful to be married to Jo, who also works with RZIM as the Dean of Studies for the Zacharias Institute.
Plenary Session: The Questions of Culture, The Invitation of Christ
The answer to every legitimate question is something true, and all truth is grounded in God. What follows is that all questions, even the most vexing questions of today’s culture, are open doors to share something of who Jesus is and what he has done. This session begins by homing in on four fundamental questions—questions of origin, meaning, morality, and destiny—that every person needs to answer in order live well. It ends by commending the power of invitation and the privilege of being able to extend the invitation of Christ.
Breakout Session: The Spiritual Discipline of Conversation
How can we bridge the gap between the questions of culture and the invitation of Christ? By taking seriously the neglected spiritual discipline of conversation. Are you a better conversationalist than you were five years ago? Most people find this a difficult question to answer, but it is a critical question to be able to answer with a confident “Yes.” God finds his way into good conversations; so, practically and concretely, what would it look like to take day-to-day conversation seriously as an essential aspect of Christian discipleship, and to see those conversations consistently leading to others turning to Christ? That’s the question I want to explore together in this session.
Adrian emigrated from Jamaica at the age of four with his father and mother, and grew up in New York with his younger sister Shereese. Adrian was the first in his family to attend college fulfilling his parents’ dream for emigrating a decade earlier. He graduated from Princeton in 2004 with a degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering focused on material science and design. In addition to being a part of the Christian Union ministry at Princeton, Adrian was a sprinter, a record-setting hurdler and a captain on the Princeton track team.
At Princeton, Adrian met his college sweetheart, Tammy, a Chemical Engineering student of the class of 2007. Adrian and Tammy married in 2009, have two daughters Aurora [3 yrs old] and Angel [1.5 yrs old] and now reside in Raleigh, NC.
Adrian runs a venture-backed startup, in stealth-mode, developing a platform to delight users, celebrities and organizations that volunteer. Adrian also works as an executive coach and independent tech consultant focusing on innovation, design and product management.
Adrian draws strength from his relationships with God, himself, his wife, his children, his family, and his friends to fuel his mission to engineer a better world through servant leadership.
Breakout Session: Biblical versus worldly value
Standing on John 15:1-17, Adrian’s session is designed to encourage working Christians to value themselves and their work from Jesus' value system vs the world's value system.
D. Qwynn Gross is the wife of Pastor Trevón D. Gross and mother of three: Trevon, Jr., Dianna and Sarah. She is the co-founder and Pastor, along with her husband, of Hope Cathedral in Jackson, NJ. Known affectionately as Pastor Qwynn, she is an inspiring and practical teacher of the Gospel, as well as a Ministry Fellow at Christian Union on the Princeton University campus, an Author of several books, an Intercessor within the body of Christ, and a conference host for women.
Pastor Qwynn is currently working towards her Master’s at Regent University.
Breakout Session: Extraordinary Prayer
What does it look like to thrive in prayer and intercession amidst a full schedule? Pastor and Christian Union Ministry Fellow Qwynn Gross will share her strategies and encouragement toward prioritizing seeking the Lord, and the fruit that comes from it, no matter how busy life gets.
Dr. Ron Walborn is the Vice President and Dean of Alliance Theological Seminary and Nyack College in Nyack NY, New York City and San Juan Puerto Rico. Dr. Walborn also serves on the Board of Directors for the Christian and Missionary Alliance. He has a B.A. in History from Nyack College, an M.Div. from Alliance Theological Seminary and a DMin from Fuller Theological Seminary. Dr. Walborn has pastored churches in Connecticut and California. He has authored one book and numerous articles and chapters for other publications. Dr. Walborn was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania in a Ministry focused family. Ron and his wife Wanda have four adult children and three beautiful grandchildren.
Breakout Session: Engaging the Supernatural in the Western World
In this breakout session, Ron will deal with the loss of a Biblical supernatural perspective in the context of western rationalism and materialism. Emphasis will be given to how to become naturally supernatural in our day-to-day lives.
Nick is from the New Jersey / New York area. He became a Christian during his freshman year at High Point University through the influence of a student-led Cru ministry. He earned a BA in English Writing with a minor in Religion/Philosophy, and then moved to the Twin Cities to attend Bethel Seminary. While earning an MDiv, he also served as a youth pastor and as staff at Minnesota Teen Challenge. He next spent two years as a pastoral apprentice at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis under John Piper in The Bethlehem Institute, and concurrently he taught a number of theology and Bible classes at the undergraduate and graduate level. Nick studied at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary prior to joining Christian Union in 2008. He has written several curriculums for Christian Union's University ministries, including Sex & Spirituality, Romans and Hebrews, and currently serves as the teaching fellow for Christian Union at Columbia. He is currently working on a book on the story-shaped spirituality of the Psalms, and in his free time loves all things NYC, jogging in Central Park, and reading great novels over allegedly good coffee.
Breakout Session: The Gospel in the Marketplace: Contemporary Reflections on 1 Corinthians
In this breakout session, we will look carefully at Paul's pastoral wisdom as he allows the gospel to reshape our moral and social imagination on topics such as wealth, power, conflict, sexuality, vocation, and personal giftedness. 1 Corinthians fleshes out what following Jesus in the real world (whether ancient or contemporary) entails, in light of the centering conviction that the story of Christ crucified reveals both the heart of God and the portrait of of what it looks like to be fully, genuinely human in a world of idolatry, greed, interpersonal conflict, perpetual heartbreak and structural injustice.
Collin and Lyndsey Seale
Lyndsey and Collin Seale come from former careers in tech and finance. Collin managed His own private financial practice in Austin Texas, while simultaneously attending seminary. Lyndsey, while working at Google, created the Google Refugee Coalition whose success awarded them the opportunity to establish the inner company charity in Europe via London. After establishing the Europe branch of "GRC" in London, Collin and Lyndsey took their ministry full-time and began training Christian Leaders within international businesses, churches, missions organizations and start-ups on practical tools for how to make disciples who make disciples in a secular work environment. During their time in the office, God was gracious to grow in-office church gatherings of new believers across their companies in multiple locations. They now speak and train full-time in London and Silicon Valley as well as working to train refugees in these simple structures to prepare them to return to their home countries as missionaries.