A national ministry that seeks to bring about spiritual renewal in urban America is celebrating 20 years of providing innovative and relevant training to church and community leaders through its annual conference this week.
The Urban Alternative is hosting the Kingdom Agenda Conference for pastors Tuesday through Friday at the Hyatt Regency DFW hotel in Dallas.
Previously known as the Church Development Conference, the Kingdom Agenda Conference features exhibits, open forums, general sessions, and nearly 100 different workshops on topics including Christian education, counseling, discipleship, leadership, and worship.
It will also offer comprehensive training in the ministry's national faith-based strategy, The National Church Adopt-A-School Initiative (NCAASI), which addresses the spiritual and social needs of urban youth and families through a church and public school partnership based on its Dallas model.
"This celebration is like none other," conference organizers say. "We're unveiling a new name, a new face and a fresh approach to 21st century ministry. It is an all-out revival."
In commenting on the conference's new name, Tony Evans, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Church in Dallas and president of The Urban Alternative, explained that "Kingdom Agenda philosophy reflects the plan God has for every area of our lives."
"The Bible is clear that spiritual ministry and social responsibility should work hand-in-hand," he expressed in a released statement. "When the two are properly connected and integrated, people become productive citizens of society and are prepared for life in eternity."
According to Bill Collins, director of NCAASI and vice-president of The Urban Alternative, the ministry's passion is that its program becomes pervasive in all churches and communities.
"We believe that only the church can rebuild the communities by improving the lives of public school youth and their families," he stated.
To date, there have been 17 training conferences conducted for NCAASI across the nation and over 600 pastors and church leaders have participated. The program is designed to help, train, equip, and motivate and excel urban youth and families. It teaches fundraising, grant writing, program development, marketing, and mobilizing communities.
During the four-day conference, The Urban Alternative is also planning to establish a formal association of pastors, the Kingdom Agenda Fellowship, beginning with an informational meeting on Friday.
"Our group wants to transform communities in a way that begins with the individual, spreads to the family, impacts the church and changes the community," Evans stated in a public announcement.
In addition to Evans, keynote speakers for the Sept. 30-Oct.3 conference include Kenneth Ulmer, senior pastor of Faithful Central Bible Church in Los Angeles; Fred Luter, senior pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans; and James Robison, founder and president of LIFE Outreach International. Musical guests include Gospel singer Marvin Sapp, vocal powerhouse Vicki Yohe, and Gospel recording artist Anthony Evans, Jr.
"This year marks 20 years of conference ministry and we are in high gear to make this celebratory year one to remember," Evans exclaimed.
Evans was scheduled to speak at the conference's opening general session Tuesday night.