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Faith and Culture Writers Conference

I’m excited to be a keynote speaker at The Faith and Culture Writers Conference at Multnomah University on April 5th and 6th.

The conference is pulling together a diverse group of authors and writers who speak to issues of faith and the role words play in shaping culture.

If you’re in the Pacific Northwest the beginning of April, make sure to attend!

Click the image below for additional details.


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Top 10 Reasons I’m Counting Down to The 2013 Justice Conference

Guest Blog by Melissa McCreery

Since being hired at Kilns College, I’ve had the awesome opportunity—blessing, really—to be a small part of The Justice Conference. It’s truly amazing to see the conference staff, Kilns students, and countless (seriously, countless) volunteers come together to pull off this awesome event.  I’ve honestly found it difficult to sleep all week because The Justice Conference is in Philadelphia this weekend. Here are my top 10 reason why I’ve been looking forward to this event all year!

1.     It’s the single event where thousands of people who care about justice gather together. That’s a lot of awesome people in one place!

2.     Kilns College co-sponsors the event with World Relief so I get to spend 48 hours meeting people and talking about Kilns College and why it’s a place that’s revolutionizing higher education. If you’re coming to the conference come check out the Kilns table and say hi!

3.     Micah Bournes will be performing. This guy is seriously talented!

4.     You get the opportunity to meet representatives from hundreds of nonprofit organizations

5.     I was honored to ask to speak during a pre-conference session. If you’ll be at the pre-conference check out my session on education! While you’re at it, check out all the pre-conference sessions on The Justice Conference website

6.     My dear friend Erin Lytle is Director for this conference and works tirelessly 365 days a year to make it an awesome experience for all the attendees, exhibitors and speakers.

7.     This year’s conference is in Philly! After living for a few years in New England, I’m excited to be back on the East Coast, even if just for a few days.

8.     It’s a great networking event!

9.     Kilns College President Ken Wytsma’s new book Pursuing Justice will be available at the conference bookstore

10.  This year, Kilns College has a HUGE announcement to make at the conference… can’t wait to share it with everyone!



Guest Post: College Students Defy Stereotype

Guest Bloggers: Melissa McCreery, VP of Development at Kilns College


College students tend to get a bad rap. The prevalent stereotype is that students are self- serving party animals that care little about the future or consequences of their actions. Additionally, they’re usually labeled as cheap (for example, often failing to scrounge up a decent tip at the local burger joint). Most of us know that – generally speaking—stereotypes exist for a reason. That is, there is usually at least some element of truth to them. Want to know the truly awesome thing about this? If the majority of a certain segment of the population falls into a pre-conceived stereotype, then there’s bound to be a group of people who resoundingly defy it.

I’m going to feel a bit like a bragging mom here, but Kilns students defy the self-centered, cheap, partying student stereotype every single day.

I’ve seen our students put the needs of their classmates above their own. I’ve witnessed them giving their time and resources to those in more desperate need than themselves. I’ve seen them deeply involved in the Central Oregon community. It’s honestly one of the more inspiring (and often convicting) things I’ve witnessed in the world of higher education.

Currently, a handful of Kilns students are raising money to attend the Justice Conference in Philadelphia this February. And here’s the kicker… they’re not even planning to sit in on the sessions. They’re actually raising money and traveling across the country to VOLUNTEER!

Recently, our students hosted a Small Town Poets concert to raise money for their travel to the conference. They organized, advertised, emceed, and hosted the event entirely on their own. It was an awesome night and 100 percent of money raised went directly to the students.


As an administrator at the college, nothing makes me more proud than seeing our students raise money to fly across the country to work 15-hour days so that conference attendees can have an amazing weekend learning about biblical and social justice issues.

– – – –

Melissa’s Bio: Melissa grew up in Southern California and attended the University of Southern California where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science. After working as a First Year Advisor at USC, Melissa moved to Boston to pursue graduate studies. She earned her Ed.M in Higher Education from Harvard University and moved to Bend, Oregon following graduation. Prior to working at Kilns College, Melissa worked at several college and higher education organizations such as USC, the New England Board of Higher Education, Emerson College, and Central Oregon Community College.


Eastern University

Here’s a quick pic Danny Bismarck had taken of me, Micah and Dr. Broenkema at the close of the conference here at Eastern University.

Eastern University just jumped to the top of the list of where I hope one of my daughters goes to college – loved this place and love the area around Philadelphia!!


Spiritual Metrics

I’m opening and closing a conference at Eastern University next week focused on Spiritual Metrics – how we discern and focus on spiritual impact.

If you’re in Philadelphia and are involved in church, academic or non-profit leadership, make sure to check it out!

(Click on the image below to view the conference)


Be The Change Conference

I’ve been up for a bit tonight working on notes for a conference I’m speaking at next week at Baylor University.

Brandon Reynolds and I are flying down to Baylor on Tuesday to be a part of their Be the Change 2011 Conference.

Brandon and I will be able to talk with students about Antioch’s Internship and I’ll get to share at Chapel Wednesday and then a Keynote Saturday on the theme Give Your Life Away.

Really looking forward to meeting the students and faculty at Baylor!!


Baylor University

I’m excited to be speaking at Baylor University this September as the keynote for their Be The Change Conference on engaging justice.

Never been anywhere near Waco, but excited to spend a few days at Baylor and learn what they’re up to (they’re one of the oldest standing Christian Universities, which I think is pretty cool!)


Posted in: conferences

Mount Hermon

I’m doing some sessions on the topic of Biblical Justice at Mount Hermon Conference Center outside of Santa Cruz, CA this week.

Tomorrow’s talk is on The Social Gospel and Social Justice – Understanding Movements and Definitions.

Also, the Mount Hermon Bookstore is selling the Cambia Coffee Blend we’ve been doing in conjunction with Backporch Coffee Roasters in Bend with proceeds going to Transitions Global in Cambodia.

Pretty cool stuff!!


Spiritual Metrics Conference

I’m speaking back East at a conference hosted by Eastern University in Philadelphia this October.

The conference aims to discuss the if, why and how in regard to measuring spiritual growth.  Growth or success is defined in most every field. When I was an Engineering student at Clemson it was really easy to measure success… if an I-beam holds, success. If an I-beam fails, not success.  Measuring and quality control lead to the development and implementation of best practices.

Measuring spiritual impact and defining success in education, church or relief and development work, however, can be trickier than engineering, but just as important.

Looking forward to contributing to – as well as benefitting from – the conversation.

(You can check out the conference info by clicking on the image below.)


Justice Promo

Check out the new Justice Conference promo video that Nate Salciocelli, Matt Smith, Ann Mara and others at the World Relief BEND office cooked up!!

The Justice Conference Promo from World Relief on Vimeo.


The Justice Conference

The Justice Conference website is in its final stages of development. Should be live in about two weeks. It’s pretty sweet!!

Here’s a cool little blurb Matt Smith wrote as an intro for the site:

The Justice Conference is about the nature of justice. Justice as the foundation of human rights. Justice as the expression of equality. Justice as the fabric of freedom. Justice as reconciliation. Justice as restored relationship between the creator and the created.

The Justice Conference is about the location of justice. Justice at work on Monday morning. Justice as driving to the store in the suburbs. Justice as playing soccer on the pavement in the projects. Justice as selling sugar in the slums of Kenya. Justice as brainstorming in the corporate boardroom. Justice as the small decisions made every day. Justice as the shared universal maxim.

The Justice Conference is about the work of justice. Justice as a call. Justice as a commission. Justice as vocation. Justice as worship. Justice as identity. Justice as service. Justice as sacrifice. Justice as the coming of God’s kingdom.

The Justice Conference is about justice. Knowing justice. Loving justice. Being justice.

(Below is a screenshot of the new site.  Click on it if you want to become a fan on Facebook.)


Justice Posters

The Justice Posters arrived on Friday.

150 Limited Edition prints that are 24″ by 36″ (poster size, which means “Super HUGE”).

The prints are selling for $75 for one or $125 for two.  All proceeds go toward The Justice Conference scheduled for February 11 + 12 of 2011.

You can order them online at

Make sure to get yours now!!


Justice Conference

Cool updates on the Justice Conference for next year!!

Nicholas Wolterstorff just committed to be one of the plenary speakers.  Dr. Wolterstorff is a Christian philosopher who teaches at Yale and is considered one of the leading experts on justice and human rights.  He travels the world speaking to conferences, governments and law enforcement bodies on the topic of justice.  His recent book, Justice: Rights and Wrongs, is considered a standard in the academic world.

Also, below is a copy of the conference artwork that Bill Chiaravelle from Brand Navigation worked up.  Not only is it the branding of the conference, but we are having a number of limited edition prints made to sell and raise funds for the conference.  E-mail us at info (at) if you’d like to purchase one!!

The details of the conference and a limited “conference price” will be available next weekend at the Apologetics Conference.  Make sure to register ahead of time and pick up a justice print!!


The Justice Conference

This is a little early to be letting the cat out of the bag, but I’m pretty excited about it.

We’ve been slowly working on a conference for February of 2011 that will be a bigger version of the conferences we’ve done in the past.

It will be called The Justice Conference and will be co-sponsored by Kilns College and World Relief NEXT.

Today we received confirmation from our second main speaker – Adam Hochschild.  Dr. Hochschild is the author of King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa and Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free and Empires’s Slaves.

In addition to Dr. Hochschild, we have received confirmation from authors Mike & Danae Yankoski.  Mike took a break from college to live on the streets with America’s homeless and wrote the book Under the Overpass to share what he learned.  Mike & Danae jointly released Zealous Love: A Practical Guide to Social Justice this past month.

There are several more invites still open – so you’ll have to wait to see what the full list of speakers looks like.  We’re only 1/3rd of the way there!!

Mark your calendars now and plan to pre-register at the upcoming Apologetics Conference in February for a special discount price.


Business Sponsors

If you own a business or are in charge of marketing for a business, would you consider sponsoring the 2010 Apologetics Conference?

Last year there were 400 in attendance and this year we expect close to 600.  The conference is put on by Kilns College and is being hosted this year by Westside Church.

Title sponsors are only $500 each and will be added to the conference handbill below.  E-mail me at ken (at) if interested!

Good marketing… great investment!!


Conference Registration Now Live

Registration is now live for the second annual Kilns College Apologetics Conference this February!!

Click here to register.

The early bird cost is $35 per person, which goes up on January 1st to $45 per person.

COAC HandBill 2010 1FRONT


Poets, Preachers and Prophets

Four of us from the World Relief NEXT team are headed to Grand Rapids this Sunday to take part in a pastors conference called Poets, Preachers and Prophets.

We’ll be sharing from the stage about World Relief NEXT and meeting with pastors throughout the conference at a NEXT table.
It’s been a ton of fun getting ready for the conference with videos, some new coffee mugs and posters and the shirts that Ann Mara ordered up for us all.
We’ve also been able to collaborate on some cool stuff with WR Baltimore and a few new friends — Check out the cover below of the take away piece designed by Jon Bell in Grand Rapids.


Apologetics Conference

I really enjoyed the conference this weekend and getting to hang out with some of my old professors.

Rich Waller did an amazing job pulling this thing off… all in all there were close to 400 people who came to listen or to volunteer.

It was also cool to see such a multi-church event and hang with the gracious staff over at New Hope Church.

Looks like the next one will be in February of 2010!


       Website design by Nate Salciccioli. Website development by GelFuzion, Inc.