Workshops by New Englanders for New Englanders

Workshops: The Highlight of the GO Conference

Every New England Christian hears some great idea or the success of a strategy from somewhere in the country and immediately thinks, “That’s great, but will it work in New England?” You never have to ask that about a GO Conference workshop since they are led by folks working in a New England context. The GO Conference workshops are truly the highlight of our gathering.  Since they are led by New England leaders, you can be sure that you will be learning how to apply the philosophy and principles of our plenary sessions to your New England context. Not only will you learn, but you will connect with other New England practitioners who understand our unique landscape. You will leave each session with practical, New England-tested methods to do justice, love mercy, walk humbly and make disciples. 

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SESSION 1 (Friday 11:15am – 12:15pm):

Be A Joy Contributor

“Be responsive to your pastoral leaders… Contribute to the joy of their leadership, not its drudgery. Why would you want to make things harder for them?” (Hebrews 13:17 MSG)  Over one-third of pastors are burned out and emotionally exhausted. Let’s change the trend in our New England churches. Designed for church members, this workshop will give you insight into the life of a pastor and family and inspire you to be a difference maker. Interactive and hands-on, you’ll be equipped with practical tools to build up your pastoral leaders. Become a joy-contributor and see God’s Kingdom thrive!

Richard and Heidi Joy
Directors; Breathe Ministry

Making Disciples @ Work

The working world is a huge local, regional, national and global mission field! Encouraging and equipping working Christ-followers across New England to intentionally and wisely make disciples at work is a huge opportunity to build God’s Kingdom and overcome evil with good in practical, everyday, relevant ways. Seminar facilitator Drew Crandall was saved at a business breakfast on June 8, 1985 and has been called to be a “minister in the marketplace” ever since. He is an entrepreneur and president of Northeast Christians At Work based in Vernon, Connecticut. Drew will share a variety of ways and resources to make disciples at work through high-touch and high-tech. Come and be inspired!

Drew Crandall
President; Northeast Christians At Work

Preaching and Teaching Grace and Hope

Every person we meet is broken in some way and in need of God’s forgiveness, grace, and hope. Whether you are a lay leader or a pastor, this session will help you learn how to bring a redemptive focus to every passage of the Bible that you proclaim. Participants will practice finding the redemptive application of Bible passages throughout scripture and learn tips on how to transform your teaching to a life-changing message for the lost.

Elizabeth Anderson
Ministry Leader; Thoughtful Proclaimer

Protecting Shepherds and the Flock: Child Abuse Prevention

Child sexual abuse is consistently the number one reason Christian ministries get sued. Even allegations of abuse can seriously damage a ministry and its momentum. Ministries should and can implement strategies to reduce the risk of abuse and false allegations. In addition, ministries must be good stewards and citizens, knowing the legal obligations of when to report suspected child abuse. Participants will learn: what is child abuse, strategies to minimize the risk of child abuse and false allegations and state by state requirements for reporting suspected child abuse.

Roy McCandless, Esq.
Attorney; McCandless and Nicholson, PLLC

Reaching a Skeptical Culture

We live in increasingly skeptical days. This has changed the way people perceive religion, the church and Christians. Simply doing the same old thing will not suffice to open the doors and the hearts of those who need the gospel. This workshop will help attenders and churches to understand the importance of authentic engagement with our community, consider creative methods to build trust with those outside the church, and effectively share the love of Christ with our neighbors.

Kevin Whitacre
Lead Pastor; LifePoint Church (Chicopee, MA)

Matthew Whitacre
Worship and Creative Arts Director; LifePoint Church (Chicopee, MA)

Tangible Ways to Reach the Hurting: Assembling Care Packs for the Homeless

This workshop will be an interactive experience. We will be discussing ways for the church, to come together, to get everyone involved in helping the most disenfranchised in New England. We will be assembling 175 Homeless Care Packs for homeless people living in New England. Each pack will contain items like hygiene products, and new socks, and christian literature including The Book of John and “The Father’s Love Letter”, along with a personalized note of encouragement. NOTE: Provision Care Pack events can be sponsored by individual churches or organizations to benefit people living in their own communities.

Thomas Slicklen
President; Provision Ministry

SESSION 2 (Friday 4:00 – 5:00pm):

Developing a Prayer-Full Life

Behind every renewal, revival and awakening are men and women of God who put Him first in all things and connect with the Lord in deep ways. From that place of relationship emerges leaders with the unique ability to unite God’s people and take them places they would never go on their own. In this session, we will look at the life of David, Moses and modern-day revivals to not only discover the importance of prayer in the life of a Christian leader and ministry environment, but also discuss the practical tools and tips needed to birth and sustain hunger and passion for God.

Adam DePasquale
Lead Pastor; Walnut Hill Church

Discipleship Process for Your Church

In local congregations, discipleship is often thought of in a variety of non-specific arenas. But in this current age, members of congregations need to be engaged in clear and unambiguous ways to be able to interact with the unbelieving cultures of today. Thus, discipleship needs new and clear approaches that include: Understanding the process of discipleship, discovering how to integrate multiple social classes where discipleship occurs and devising a plan for a congregation. 

Jim Singleton
Associate Professor of Pastoral Leadership And Evangelism; Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Introduction to Problem-Gambling Addiction Recovery and Counseling

With the increase of the gaming industry in Springfield and other New England communities, now is the perfect time to gain a foundation in gambling addiction recovery and counseling. Are you ready to support a friend walking through gambling addiction? Is your church prepared to love and support people whose lives have been broken due to problem-gambling? This workshop will introduce the dynamics and psychology of addiction, define and describe problem-gambling, the impact of problem-gambling on families, treatment options, the role of spirituality in recovery and available problem-gambling resource groups.

Archbishop Timothy Paul, Ph.D, D.Th.

President; Western MA Council of Churches
Lead Pastor; The Christian Cathedral (SprIngfield, MA)

Rev. Cedric Dennis
Recovery Ministry; The Christian Cathedral (SprIngfield, MA)

Keys to Cultivating Your Church’s Culture

If culture eats systems for breakfast, then knowing how to assess and shape your church’s culture is a big deal. Let’s talk about it.

David Payne
Lead Pastor; Lifesong Church (Sutton, MA)

Love Where You Live

In this workshop we will dig deeper into the “Art of Neighboring” and as we discuss best practices and obstacles to connecting with our literal neighbors. We will cover questions such as;  How do you find time to do this? What if my neighbors are sketchy? Do my motives matter? What about us introverts? How do I talk about Jesus without seeming weird? And much more!

Jay Pathak
Lead Pastor; Mile High Vineyard

Dave Runyon
Executive Director; CityUnite

Unity & Collaboration in His Body

New England is often described as the least spiritual region in the entire nation, and yet this same place is home to hundreds of churches. What does God say about unity within the Body of Christ? This workshop will use John 17 as a framework for the biblical call towards reconciliation and unity. Participants will explore some of what it will take to bring this state, region, and world to a place of united collaboration among churches of differing backgrounds, denominations, & geographical locations.

Lauren Roy
Central Outreach Director; Vox Church (New Haven, CT)

SESSION 3 (Saturday 11:15am – 12:15pm):

Dramatic Discipleship: Using the Arts to Connect with God and Neighbor

Increasingly, story and entertainment are the “heart language” of our culture. In an environment that is leery of being preached at, theatre “translates” the Gospel in a way that people can connect with. It’s a low-cost, high-impact tool that can be used to engage people in a uniquely non-threatening way. But just because we have a tool doesn’t mean we know how to use it. This workshop looks at what makes theatre such a powerful medium, and how to use theatre effectively to reach those both inside and outside the church.

Jasmine Myers

Founder/CEO; Still Small Theatre

Engaging High Risk Youth for Life Transformation

It’s estimated that one out of every four youth and young adults are “at risk” and will not enter healthy adulthood without significant outside intervention. Dr. Larson will share the key components of engagement in challenging behaviors that is most transformational for the young person and that deepen the relationship. Participants will understand the nature of conflict from a young person’s perspective and the brain science behind challenging adolescent behaviors. Practical and transformative engagement strategies for any challenging population will also be shared. 

Scott Larson
President/CEO; Straight Ahead Ministries

I’ve Got the Fire, Now What?

Knowing and caring about an issue is not enough to make a positive difference. This workshop will prepare you for long term impact in an issue you care about by addressing: How do I understand the justice and mercy needs of my community? What are the key elements to developing a humble engagement strategy that will prosper the community? How do I assess my capacity to be a part of the solution?

Stacie Mickelson
Director of Action Research; Emmanuel Gospel Center

Silence Is Not Spiritual: The Church’s Role in Addressing Domestic Abuse

If one-in-three women in the United States have experienced some form of physical violence by their intimate partner, then what does that mean for the women who sit in our churches every Sunday?  With the #metoo and #churchtoo movements, a culture of silence around harassment and abuse is beginning to dissolve, but often times the Church is still silent on this issue or feels powerless to act.   This interactive workshop will deepen your understanding of domestic abuse, allow you to hear examples of how churches are addressing the issue, and provide you with practical next steps for your church to speak out for justice and support those impacted by this issue in your congregation and community.

Joanna Chun
Child Development and Youth Program Advisor for International Programs; World Relief

Emily Nielsen Jones
President and Co-Founder; Imago Dei Fund

Striving and Surviving across Deep Differences

Our nation and culture strives to be a pluralistic society and have become polarized across these many dimensions: racial justice and religious freedom to name only two. We as Christians are called to actively engage our neighbors, colleagues and even community leaders in conversations that seek to bridge polarized positions. Participants will learn practical tools and principles by which to engage our communities and be a light in an otherwise contentious and fractured environment. 

Jack Richardson
Director; Strategic Leadership Network

The Intersection of Science and Faith

Questions around science and faith seem to plague the Church in our day.  There are outsiders who argue that science makes faith irrelevant, and there is even some heated controversy within the Church.  Many seekers and Christians need some assurance that there are coherent answers, but have no idea where to turn, and we are often leaving our young people vulnerable to atheist arguments.

Well, it is much easier to take thoughtful steps if you have a map of the terrain. We will look at the three different high level approaches Christians take to the relationship between science and the Bible, as well as highlight the five scientific categories in which some think there may have been divine intervention. The material presented is NOT rocket science and has proven accessible to people with all levels of background. 

Marty Pomeroy
Elder; Faith Community Church (Hopkinton, MA)