An unprecedented, eye-brow raising Christian conference will be held at the famed Crystal Cathedral next week, bringing together an eclectic group of speakers ranging from former President George H.W. Bush and Rupert Murdoch to the Rev. Dr. Robert H. Schuller and Kay Warren.
More than 30 leading figures in and outside of Christianity will converge on one stage Jan. 17 to 19 for the Rethink Conference, co-hosted by Crystal Cathedral's Schuller and emerging church leader Erwin McManus of Mosaic Church in Los Angeles.
Thousands of people are expected to be onsite at the Cathedral and thousands more will participate via satellite simulcast technology.
"We are bringing in leaders from different industries and it's important for us to know what is happening in technology, the trends in media, entertainment and business," explained Rethink's executive director Bill Dallas to The Christian Post.
Dallas said having Christian leaders speak at the conference is "great" because it helps encourage believers to grow in their faith. But he also contends that the conference needs to be put in the context of what is happening in the culture.
"The message always remains the same in Christianity, but the methods change," Dallas, also founder of the Church Communication Network (CCN) emphasized.
One of the main goals of the conference is to give Christian leaders a fresh perspective on the changing world and how to communicate their message more effectively in the shifting culture.
When questioned why powerful, secular leaders would want to participate in the church conference, Dallas explained that they get to speak about their areas of expertise and to a large audience.
"We find that experts have no problem sharing in any environment they are in – Christian or non-Christian, business people, non-business people – they just want to get their message out about the technology or the trends they are seeing," he said.
The Rethink creator also noted that the scale of the conference is another attraction to secular speakers.
"I think the magnitude of the people there is very intriguing and interesting for them," Dallas said. "It is also going to be simulcast so they won't just be in Garden Grove, California, in Crystal Cathedral speaking but to regional sites across the country.
"So I think that is also intriguing because they get leverage on their message. But I still think it is the magnitude of who's there."
Dallas has worked with Christian leaders such as Lee Strobel, Chuck Colson, George Barna, Dr. Henry Cloud, and Dr. John Townsend on events but he said this is the first time he has brought them all together at one time for one event.
Next Thursday's event will be the first Rethink Conference with future conferences to follow if the response is positive.
The Crystal Cathedral is known for being a leader in using cutting edge ideas to communicate the Gospel message. The Cathedral was one of the first in the country to hold large Christian leader conferences 25-30 years ago and is among the pioneers in Christian television.
Other speakers confirmed include George Foreman, Larry King, John Ortberg, Jay Sekulow, Ben Stein and Bishop Charles E. Blake.