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Trinity faculty and administrators contribute to successful EFCA One meeting

Trinity CommunicationsJune 23, 2019

Faculty and administrators from Trinity International University contributed to the success of the Evangelical Free Church of America’s biennial EFCA One meeting June 18-20 at The Compass Church in Naperville.

Credentialed delegates at the event numbered 1,230, with several hundred other attendees present for seminars, networking and fellowship. The total attendance was the highest for an EFCA One since 1998, and the highest since the event switched from offering family-oriented programming to instruction for adult church leaders.

According to Greg Strand, EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, “The high numbers reflect both the decision that was before the conference—the Motion to Amend Article 9 of our EFCA Statement of Faith—and also the growing relational connections experienced across the EFCA, both nationally and internationally, the fruit of living out the reality of one EFCA.”

Trinity faculty members contributed to instructional periods known as Deeper Learning Tracks and Learning Labs throughout the event’s three-day run.

David Gustafson, associate professor of evangelism and missional ministry, presented a Learning Lab titled EFCA History, Theology and Polity. In several sessions, Gustafson explored the history and theological distinctives of the Free Church movement. Some in attendance received credentialing credit for the information they received.

Kevin Vanhoozer, research professor of systematic theology at TEDS, presented Hearers and Doers: A Pastor’s Guide to Making Disciples through Scripture and Doctrine.  In three Deeper Learning Tracks sessions, Vanhoozer looked at core stability, core strength, and core mobility for improving the ministry of a church.

Paige Cunningham, executive director of Trinity’s Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, and Michael Sleasman, associate professor of bioethics, addressed Christian Engagement in Our Med Tech Age in a three-session presentation. In facing increased medical and technological sophistication in blockbuster drugs, gene therapies, three-parent embryos and surrogacy, Cunningham and Sleasman examined the question “how are we to live wisely and faithfully?”

Mary Willson, a TEDS alumna, presented three sessions on “Women of the Word – Hearing, Doing, and Sharing Old Testament Narrative: Practice in Exposition.” The interactive sessions aimed to promote growth as Word-filled women and focused on the book of Ruth.

At least six members of the Trinity Board of Regents played significant roles in the event, taking the lead in important business discussions and helping with event logistics.

At the biennial business meeting, outgoing president David S. Dockery gave his final report on the health of the institution.

“We have seen God’s blessings rest upon the Trinity campus in encouraging ways,” Dockery said in his address. “We believe that Trinity needs the EFCA and the EFCA needs Trinity, and we look forward to a continued strengthening of that relationship.”

Dockery, who is now university chancellor, introduced Nicholas Perrin, who became the 16th president of TIU earlier this month. Perrin told the audience that Trinity wants to be the EFCA’s go-to institution for higher education. He promised commitments to scripture, inclusion and formation.

“We only want (to hire faculty) who are of the highest academic caliber, but who also love Jesus,” Perrin told the EFCA audience. “I want you to be assured that when you send us students, they’re going to get great learning, but they will meet people who love Jesus.”

Both Perrin and Dockery received standing ovations from the delegates assembled for the business session. After their reports, Bill Jones prayed for both men as they begin new roles. Jones serves as a Trinity Board of Regents member.

In addition to the many presentations, Trinity also hosted a dinner for 500 guests on Tuesday evening, granting honorary doctorates to the EFCA’s Kevin Kompelien and Greg Strand, and presenting the university’s service award to Quintin Stieff, pastor of Valley Church in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Trinity also hosted a display at EFCA One and conducted a drawing for a gift basket that included books from Trinity authors and other university-related items. Pastor Cody Kargus of Maranatha EFC in Rice Lake, Wisconsin won the drawing. Kargus is an alumnus of both the undergraduate and divinity school programs.

EFCA One meets in odd-numbered years. The 2021 event is set for June 22-24 in Fullerton, California.

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