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GFU hosting forum on how churches are engaging younger generations


Religion — The ReGeneration Forum in Portland on Oct. 19 will discuss how churches are succeeding with young Christians

What is the church “doing right” with younger generations?

To answer that question, George Fox University and Western Seminary have teamed up to sponsor the ReGeneration Forum, a one-day event Oct. 19 at the Imago Dei Community in Portland.

The event will feature a variety of accomplished authors, professors and pastors, including main presenters Scot McKnight, Amena Brown, John Mark Comer, Dan Kimball, and focus on the practical ways churches are effectively reaching out to younger generations and keeping them engaged in the mission of God. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Kimball, an adjunct professor and the author of “They Like Jesus but Not the Church,” will help represent George Fox at the forum, which is hoping to draw church leaders, theologians, artists, ministers and students.

“Instead of looking at the sad statistics and reasons why millenials are leaving the church, the ReGeneration Forum will look at what God is doing positively in churches,” Kimball said. “We’ll share the amazing things God is doing in churches that are seeing new generations put faith in Jesus and reverse the negative trends out there. This will be a very practical event with tangible examples and ideas to implement in ministry.”

The day will feature main presentations from theologians and practitioners, followed by sharing from college students and forum interaction with a panel and attendees.

McKnight, author or editor of 40 books and a professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Ill., will be one of the presenters. He has given interviews on radios across the nation, has appeared on television, and regularly speaks at local churches, conferences, colleges and seminaries in the U.S. and abroad.

Fellow presenter Brown was named one of Rejuvenate Magazine’s “Top 40 under 40 Change-makers” and has performed and spoken at events across the nation. She is the author of spoken-word CDs “Live at Java Monkey” and “Breaking Old Rhythms,” and new the nonfiction book, “Breaking Old Rhythms: Answering the Call of a Creative God.”

“We will look at theological issues that we must address with this generation and explore common practices among churches which have a growing population of youth, college and 20-somethings,” Kimball said.

Comer, who lead the congregation at A Jesus Church in Portland, will be among the many pastors participating. Also scheduled to partake are: Rick McKinley, lead pastor at host Imago Dei Community; Sarah Thomas Baldwin, university pastor and dean of spiritual life at George Fox; and Kevin Palau, president of the Luis Palau Association, a Portland-based ministry that has shared the gospel with more than 1 billion people worldwide through Kevin’s father, evangelist Luis Palau.

The event also will feature panelists and lunch-time discussion leaders, including: Eric Knox, associate pastor at Imago Dei Community in Portland; Phil and Diane Comer, part of the leadership staff at Solid Rock Church in Portland; Garry Breshears, professor of systematic theology and chair of the Division of Biblical and Theological Studies at Western Seminary; and Chuck Bomar, pastor of Colossae Church in Portland.

The event will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and cost is $40, including lunch, for main attendees and $7 for students. The event is on a Saturday to encourage pastors and church leaders to bring volunteers who serve in ministry to youth, college students and young adults. They may bring up to two volunteer leaders as guests for $7 each.

The forum is part of the ReGeneration Project, a collective group of pastors, theologians, artists, church leaders, including Kimball, McKnight, McKinley and Brown, that formed to study practical ways that churches are guiding new generations into the mission of God. For more information, or to register, visit www.regeneration project.org.