On behalf of our team at Key Ministry, I’d like to extend an invitation to pastors, ministry leaders, volunteers and individuals interested in ministry with children, adults and families impacted by disability to join us in Cleveland on April 24-25 for Inclusion Fusion Live 2020 (#IFL2020), our third national conference designed to bring church leaders and families together to share ideas to advance the disability ministry movement taking root throughout the worldwide church.
Last year’s conference was a huge success. We welcomed well in excess of 300 attendees from 25 of the 50 states. We had in excess of 100,000 views of our main stage presentations during the livestream and following the conference on our Facebook or Vimeo pages. Our day-long intensives on starting a special needs ministry and launching a mental health inclusion strategy were very well-attended. New relationships and collaborations were formed and a great time of worship and fellowship was had by both Christians serving in disability ministry and families affected by disability.
Our team began praying about and planning for #IFL2020 soon after IFL 2019 was complete. Around the same time, we were invited by the Tim Tebow Foundation to become one of nine recommended organizations to help churches build upon their Night To Shine events through expanding ministries to children and adults with special needs throughout the year. Our staff was drawn to the idea of serving as a light to draw attention to the urgent need for more churches to become intentional in their ministry with children and adults with disabilities. We were led to select Illuminate as the theme of our 2020 conference. We’re hopeful #IFL2020 will reflect the spirit of Ephesian 5:13-14:
But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light.
We want people who take the time to attend our conference to come away with something new they can use to advance ministry in their church or to promote spiritual growth – new ideas, new resources and new relationships. That’s where you come in!
Our Program Committee is seeking knowledgable and dynamic speakers to offer workshops (75 minute, in depth presentations on topics of interest to either ministry leaders or families, featuring one or two presenters) and briefer “Quick Takes” – 15 minute TED Talk – type presentations livestreamed from our main stage that introduce new ideas or inspire churches and individual Christians to grow their ministries.
We’re especially interested in extending the invitation to speak to ministry leaders with great ideas or experience laboring in relative obscurity who long for the opportunity to share with a larger audience. Our team knows what it’s like to feel like the outsiders looking in at ministry world. Nobody who’s part of our larger family in Christ should feel like an outsider. Ever.
With that said, the application process is competitive. Submission of a proposal is not a guarantee of acceptance.We typically receive significantly more proposals than we can accept. We have a program committee that reviews all submissions for quality, interest and relevance. Proposals from first-time speakers are more likely to be accepted if accompanied by video for our committee to review. Workshops featuring two presenters from different organizations who present complimentary or divergent views on topics of interest to our audience are encouraged. In addition to our traditional areas of focus on special needs and mental health ministry, we hope to offer more sessions this year on trauma, adoption and foster care ministry.
While we are unavailable at this time to pay honoraria to speakers or cover their travel expenses (we seek to keep registration fees as low as possible for churches and families in order to maximize attendance), speakers will receive free admission to all conference events, including any ministry intensives for which additional charges apply along with free space among our vendor tables to share products and resources with the entire audience of #IFL2020.
Want to speak at our upcoming conference, or know someone who would like to? Click here to submit your proposal electronically. All submissions need to be received by 11:59 PM Eastern Standard time on Thursday, November 14. Notices of acceptance will be sent to speakers by Monday, November 18th, and speakers need to notify us of their participation by Friday, November 22nd. The timeline has been accelerated so that we can begin to promote the conference by December 1st with a complete list of speakers.
We’re looking forward to seeing many old friends – and meeting lots of new ones at #IFL2020 -Friday, April 24th and Saturday, April 25th at Bay Presbyterian Church in Bay Village (Cleveland) Ohio! If you missed last year’s conference, here’s a video of Janet Parshall’s featured presentation.
Interested in learning more about how the church can do more to welcome, care for and support families impacted by mental illness? Come join Dr. Grcevich and a great lineup of speakers on Saturday, November 9th at Winebrenner Theological Seminary for Mental Health and the Church, a half-day conference to learn how to better understand, embrace and respond to the uniqueness and gifts of those of us with mental health concerns. Registration is available here.