Each track will meet four times, allowing for fellowship and extended teaching and discussion on the questions most relevant for each community.
The tracks take place from 2:30 – 3:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday. For our 2016 program, you are requested to choose from the tracks below:
Courageous Leadership – Abdu Murray, Sanj Kalra, Chris Blattner
With the growing public hostility to Christian ideas and values, so many of us are daunted at the prospect of sharing our faith in Christ in the workplace, in school, and in public. And yet, God has placed each of us in significant positions of leadership and influence in each of these spheres of life. During this track, devoted Christian leaders in various fields – from business, to sales, to law – will equip you with spiritually rich, strategically smart, yet simply practical ways to be an uncompromising voice for Christ within your sphere of influence.
Conversational Evangelism – Michelle Tepper, Alycia Wood, Michael Suderman
There is a tremendous difference between being confident about the importance of apologetics and being confident enough to use apologetics in everyday conversation. Real conversation is raw and unstructured, but usually we learn about apologetics in very neat and structured arguments. How do we transition between theory and daily practice? How do we present the gospel clearly without anything getting lost in translation? The main objective of this track is for you to leave encouraged, equipped and confident that YOU can effectively engage any person with the truth of the gospel regardless of who they are or what question they bring.
Emerging Challenges to Christian Conviction – Nathan Betts, Nabeel Qureshi, Madeline Jackson, Shawn Hart
Throughout history, Christians have faced challenges that were specific to their time. The cultural influences of their particular moment made certain issues pressing. Similarly today, Christians face myriad questions, but there are some topics that have emerged as being more urgent than others. This track is going to place a special focus on four emerging challenges currently facing Christian conviction. Four talks will be dedicated to the topics of God, the Bible, faith, and the human person, all topics that are hotly debated and discussed in our world today.
Faith and Imagination – Jill Carattini, Margaret Manning Shull, Cameron McAllister, Stephen Watson
When Jesus talked about the kingdom of God, he often used parables and stories, pictures and illustrations to do so. Jesus understood that the transformation of whole persons involved something much more compelling than intellectual arguments. He knew that the conscience and imagination, body and senses must be addressed as well because the new creation change he envisions involves everything within us. As one author notes of Christ’s holistic appeal to the imagination: “Very often we tie down the notion of belief to mean having a quick answer to what you think is true out there, rather than, how do you inhabit the world you’re in, the speech you speak, and the vision you see… One of the things that most needs saying to the cultured despisers of religion today is that the classical language of faith is overflowing with resources for imagining and understanding human experience at depth. As I’ve said on other occasions, when people compare Christian belief to belief in the tooth fairy or Santa Claus, I want to ask, where are the Divine Comedies or Matthew Passions or Four Quartets inspired by the tooth fairy?”
Christian belief and Christ himself offer a language and an imagination unlike any other, one which sets us down in this world we inhabit and changes the way we see and speak, act and live into the new creation Christ embodies for us. The Faith and Imagination track will explore this language and imagination, the notion of belief in practice and place. Using the arts as a conversation partner and examining some of the cultural works Christian belief has inspired, we will look at themes such as transformation and communion, prayer and spiritual discipline, worship and lament, creation and inspiration.
Developing Courage and the Christian Faith – Jeff Jackson
The Christian faith would have never reached the 21st century if the early followers of Jesus did not exercise courage of faith in the face of many roadblocks, difficulties, despairs, and moments of doubt. Truth, life’s greatest treasure, in Jesus creates a love within the followers of Christ that should give a stable platform for courage to take its stand in the face of many foes. This track is particularly focused in looking at how courage can come alive within each one of us in relation to the major themes of Scripture. Think of a table with four legs. Each session is a discussion of one of those legs so that courage may come to have a stable platform in your life as you proclaim God’s Gospel in the part of the world our Lord has placed you for these times.
Ethical Convictions and Scientific Progress – Fuz Rana, Nathan Rittenhouse
This track will provide a general framework for theological and ethical reflection upon three focal points in today’s culture: the image of God and human identity; meaning and purpose; and biotechnology.
You Are What You Worship – Marty Reardon
Are we shaped by our worship? And if so, how are we being shaped? Or is Christian worship just something we do in order to please, or worse yet, appease God’s desire to be worshiped? What is our understanding of worship? And what does it have to do with our theme this week, This We Believe?
To answer these questions we’ll turn to Psalm 115.
Never mind the univocality of what scripture has to say about worship or what all of Church history says about it. This single passage alone tells us that worship, sacred or secular, is formative. At the most basic level, we are formed (or are being formed) into what we worship. We are never not worshipping, which means we are never not being formed. So what do I worship? More specifically, what do I love? Where does my imagination naturally dwell? Where do I spend the majority of my time, money, or resources? The answers to these questions will tell us what we worship and they will give us a picture of who we are becoming; they present us with the liturgies that are shaping us, and present us with the deepest answers to the question of what we believe.
Each day will consist of a primary lecture for thirty minutes, followed by a presentation for fifteen minutes, and conclude with time for Q&A. For the full schedule, click here: 2016 SI Schedule