Karam Forum 2020: Justice, Discipleship, Fruitfulness, Kingdom

KF20 mugshots 2

Adapted from the Oikonomia Network.

The schedule is packed at Karam Forum 2020, so register today to attend this catalytic and connecting event! We’ll be meeting January 3-4 in Atlanta to refresh our community of collaboration, and hear from leading voices including Rich Mouw, Charisse Jones, Greg Jones, Rachael and Jacob Denhollander, Jules Martinez and many more – the list of speakers is twenty names long and still growing. There’s no substitute for being there!

Register today to get our low early price of $100, available until December 15. You can also reserve your hotel room for the discount conference price of $129, also a limited-time opportunity, available until December 18. (Faculty and other leaders at ON partner schools, check with your ON liaison for a coupon to get a further discount on conference registration.)

At Karam Forum we’ll be talking about justice and vocation, how local churches can prepare for the emerging cultural world, the future of theological education, the church and entrepreneurship, and much more. Key themes through all these conversations, as always at Karam Forum, will be justice, discipleship, fruitfulness and the kingdom of God.

Incarnational Encounter with the Local Church

Last year, when we met in Dallas, Karam Forum was honored to take a field trip to Park Cities Presbyterian Church to encounter their faith and work ministry. We heard from you that you were richly blessed by this direct connection with the “end user” – the people we’ve been called to equip and serve as theological educators, and whom our students have been called to equip and serve – in the local church, the context that is God’s “Plan A” for equipping his people.

So in Atlanta we will be taking that incarnational encounter to the next level. Karam Forum will meet at Intown Community Church, which has graciously agreed to host our event. We have set aside not one but several times on the conference schedule so you can hear about what’s happening in the local church in Atlanta. We are already working with local leaders to draw in a diverse selection of churches, not just Intown (great as they are), so we can hear many voices when it comes to how “the rubber hits the road” on our issues.

Theological Education: Traditioned Innovation and the Common Good

Our keynote addresses at Karam Forum 2020 come from two of the most widely respected leaders in theological education today. On opening night, we will hear from Greg Jones of Duke Divinity School, who will speak on the paradoxical mission of theological education – finding new and innovative forms in which the theological tradition that was passed down to us can be stewarded forward into the future. Offering additional insight will be educators who have been at the forefront of various kinds of traditioned innovation in ON schools. Michael Thigpen, executive director of the Evangelical Theological Society and an educator at the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University, will host this discussion.

To close Karam Forum 2020, we are honored to hand the microphone to Rich Mouw of Fuller Theological Seminary. Mouw’s accomplished career connecting theological education to the church’s vocation to serve the common good of our communities requires no elaboration. Mouw will share with us his reflections on the mission and future of the great enterprise we are all embarked upon as theological educators who are convinced that theology has a transformative role in the life of the church and the world. There will be no substitute for being present at this talk!

Justice and Vocation: A Conversation with Rachael and Jacob Denhollander

Rachael Denhollander captured the nation’s attention as an advocate for justice and for the gospel when her powerful testimony at the Larry Nasser trial went viral. She and her husband Jacob, a Ph.D. student in theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, have since become the leaders of a growing movement in the evangelical church to confront abuse, including in the church.

The Oikonomia Network welcomes Rachael and Jacob Denhollander to Karam Forum to discuss how justice is not only integral to the gospel, but integral to vocation. Cultural circumstances may vary, so what works in one place and time may not be right for another. But justice always remains at the center of both the gospel call and the call to our work in the world (they are, after all, the same call). Patrick Smith of Duke Divinity School will facilitate the conversation, with Gerry Breshears of Western Seminary offering introductory remarks on the deep connections between the issues the Denhollanders are leading on and the issues at the heart of the Oikonomia Network’s mission.

Entrepreneurship: Connecting Church, Academy and Community

For as long as the church has been the church, at its best it has been an innovating and empowering force within the nations of the world. Today, one of the most important ways to create fresh cultural expressions of the holy love of God, as well as expanding opportunity to those who most need it, is through entrepreneurship. As Atlanta leader Bob Lupton has said, economic development doesn’t stop with the traditional “teaching a man to fish,” it extends to helping people own the lake.

At Karam Forum we’ll hear from Charisse Jones of Asbury Theological Seminary, a pioneer in connecting church, academy and community through entrepreneurship. Expanding the conversation will be Joe Gorra of the Veritas Life Center, sharing his work on developing a theology of entrepreneurship, and Dean Blevins of Nazarene Theological Seminary, sharing his work on how theological education can prepare leaders to support and nurture entrepreneurship. Hosting this conversation will be Lawrence Ward of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Abundant Life Church, who has been training entrepreneurs both in the local church and through the seminary for years.

The Local Church in the New Global World, and Discipling People in the New Economy

Two sessions at Karam Forum 2020 will explore how the mission of the church can find new expression in the new cultural world that’s emerging in our day. New technologies and new ideas are connecting the world ever more completely; from pluralism to the internet to global trade, boundaries between social worlds are collapsing. This offers many new opportunities for loving and serving our neighbors – but it also disrupts long-stable social systems that people are accustomed to relying upon. How can local churches lead the way and disciple people in this exciting and challenging time?

In the first session, Greg Forster and Jules Martinez of Trinity International University will offer TED-style talks on how we can think and act from a theological perspective in these circumstances. Focal points will include how the economic side of life can be a powerful way to bring new life to the world, and how we can build the kingdom of God across ethnic divisions. In the second session, Lisa Slayton of Tamim Partners and Terry Timm of Christ Community Church of the South Hills will discuss their work in Pittsburgh, discipling people for different modes of leadership and collaboration in the new economy. Both sessions will feature discussions with a diverse array of other participants; we’ll be sharing more about that in future newsletters.

Register Today for Karam Forum 2020

Of course, Karam Forum also remains a collaborative event for connecting with peers to reflect together on our work! We love to share news about what we’re preparing for you on stage, but you know as well as we do that much of the growth we experience at Karam Forum is the connections and conversations that happen outside of planned activities. Join us in Atlanta to stay connected!

Karam Forum 2020 is shaping up to reach new peaks in our mission together. We’re excited, honored and humbled to bring it to you. Register today to join us at this unique event.

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