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Conference Speakers

Denny Howard serves as the Director of Counseling & Coaching for Full Strength Network, a group of professional caregivers around the nation that provide preemptive, renewal and counseling services to pastors and their families. Full Strength Network exists to make it easy for pastors to monitor their own wellbeing and find their way to strengthening resources.

Denny also serves as the director of the Vitality Care Institute providing a wide range of proactive and restorative services for those who serve in people influencing vocations such as non-profit and ministry leaders. He is a State Licensed Clinician in mental health, marriage/family therapist and a certified addictions counselor. Denny is an ordained minister, a graduate of George Fox University located in Oregon. He is a member of the National Association for Addiction Professionals, National Board of Certified Counselors, and the American Association of Christian Counselors.  He is also a featured speaker and conducts regular workshops/seminars on personality-based conflict, stress management, maintaining personal vitality and a wide range of interpersonal relationships issues. His speaking engagements and workshops have taken place in Asia, Europe, Africa, and various parts of United States.

Denny is also the Creator / Owner of Livstyle Visual Personality Portraits providing assessments for workplace teams, marriages, ministries and youth organizations. These assessment tools are utilized for personal growth, team building and selecting prospective employees.

Denny resides in Fort Wayne with his wife Debbie and they have three adult children Joshua, Rebecca, and Timothy (wife: Kelsey) who all serve in people-helping vocations.

Reaching “to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 1:8 challenges all of us to engage our culture around the world – reaching those far away who are often different than us. Ross Miller will be sharing how we can engage our culture around the world. Ross Miller is the Senior Pastor at Evermore Community Church in Hartville, Ohio. He was raised near Wooster, Ohio. He attended Kenyon College to become a doctor but God had other plans. He sensed a call to pastoral ministry and so he attended Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, IN. Ross enjoys hunting, fishing, hiking, and in recent years long distance running. He loves God and seeks to live a life that follows Christ’s example. He often quotes the phrase “love God, love people”. His desire is that God receive all the glory and honor.

The centrality of church multiplication is woven into the core of Acts 1:8. We are called to reach out to our “Judea” – to establish churches among those who are like us but not near. Jake Mills will be sharing with us his passion for church multiplication along with practical strategies we can use to reach our own Judea. Jake Mills is the lead pastor of a growing church just outside of Peoria, Illinois, called Great Oaks. He is passionate about church multiplication, with a vision to see Great Oaks with 10 campuses in 10 years. Jake is blessed to be husband to his high school sweetheart (Erin) and father to 3 amazing kids (Kennedi, Joshua, and Hannah).

Engaging with those near us no longer means those like us. The Samaritans, referenced in Acts 1:8, we geographically near but culturally very different. In a like manner we are called to engage with those who are near us, but are increasingly very different. Chris Freeman will share with us what he has learned about reaching his Samaria. Chris is the senior pastor of Pine Hills City Church. After graduating from college, Chris and his wife, Madison, moved to Dayton, Ohio where he served on the staff of a large church for seven years. In the fall of 2015, he felt God clearly calling him and his family to plant a new church. God led them to a partnership with Pine Hills Church in Fort Wayne. In the fall of that year, a new church was launched called Pine Hills city Church – in the heart of Fort Wayne. Chris and Madison have been married since July 5, 2008 and they have two kids, Piper and Bennett.

Reaching our neighbors – those close to us and similar to us – can often be the most difficult task of all. That’s why almost 40% of non-Christians say they have no non-Christian friends. But, we must learn to step outside our comfort zones as individuals and as churches and engage the worlds we live in. Jesse Kahler will challenge us to engage our own Jerusalem. Jesse has been serving as the Archbold Evangelical Church’s Lead Pastor for just over 9 years. He great up in a small fruit farming community just north of Grand Rapids, Michigan, has a bachelor from Taylor University (’06), and has a Masters from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (’19). He became captivated by Jesus early in his life, experienced a clear calling to preach the gospel in high school, and has a deep, deep affinity for the local church. While gifted in preaching and teaching, he has found the unseen, personal moments of shepherding be the space where the Spirit is just as present. When not navigating how to lead a 150 year old church, you’ll find him with his wife, Cindy (married for 13 years) and 4 kids (Alexander 10, Sophie 8, Liam 6, Olivia 4) hiking, kayaking, reading, sitting by a fire, or drinking coffee. Jesse is passionate about persuading people to LoveJesusMost!

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