Same Mind: United in Imitating Christ

Reconciling to Become One in Christ

Dr. Andrew Hairston

Abilene Christian University will host the 2015 Summit Sept. 20-23. This year’s theme, from the Letter to the Philippians is, Same Mind: United in Imitating Jesus. Theme speakers include Brady Bryce, Richard Beck, Chris Smith, Amy Bost Henegar, Raymond Carr, Phil Brookman and Mike Cope, each speaking from Philippians. In addition to the theme speakers, more than 100 class sessions will address topics and issues related to culture, ministry, missions, worship, spiritual formation and congregational leadership.

Summit will offer a noteworthy two-part class, entitled “What Will the Universal Body of Christ Look Like in the Next 25 Years?” featuring Dr. Andrew Hairston, minister of Simpson Street Church of Christ in Atlanta, Ga. and Dr. Royce Money, ACU chancellor, for a timely conversation about racial reconciliation. Dr. Hairston has devoted much of his life to improving race relations in Churches of Christ – beginning with a conference on race relations in 1968 hosted by the Simpson Street congregation. In 1999 he was one of the leaders at the "One-in-Christ Conference," convened at ACU by Dr. Money. Dr. Hairston has preached for more than 60 years and holds the J.D. and Master of Law degrees from John Marshall University, a Doctor of Ministry degree from Emory University, and a Master of Judicial Studies Degree from the University of Nevada at Reno.

The exchange between Drs. Hairston and Money will offer insights from the past while emphasizing the future.We hope to see you in the crowd for this and many other engaging conversations. The event is free, but you'll need to register online at to reserve your spot.

Finding Their Voices: Women Preaching in Churches of Christ

Amy Bost Henegar, Dr. David Fleer, Dr. Jeanene Reese, Dr. Bob Randolph, and Angela Ravin-Anderson

Finding Their Voices: Sermons by Women in the Churches of Christ, by D’Esta Love, ACU Press, 2015,  is a significant publication and includes twenty-nine sermons all from women.  As we find that women are filling more and more pulpits at lectureships, seminars, and churches, ACU Summit 2015 invites all to join this timely session on Monday and Tuesday afternoon (2:30-3:15, BSB 117) as the opportunity for conversation about what our future holds for women speaking and preaching in our churches.

ThIs session will include five panelists, each bringing a unique perspective on this important topic.

  • Dr. Jeanene Reese, Associate Professor and Associate Chair at ACU Department of Bible, Missions, and Ministry, will serve as moderator. She has encouraged and mentored young women in their preparation for varied ministries for 25 years.  
  • Dr. Bob Randolph, Chaplain to the Institute at MIT in Cambridge, MA, is from the Brookline Church of Christ in Brookline, Massachusetts. He has empowered, equipped and encouraged women to find their voices in the pulpit at the Brookline Church.
  • Amy Bost Henegar from the Manhattan Church of Christ, New York City, New York, has served in various ministry roles through the years including preaching. She is a theme speaker for this year’s Summit.
  • Dr. David Fleer, special assistant to the President, Lipscomb University, Nashville, TN has utilized women in major preaching seminars and offers a well-developed theological perspective on women preaching.
  • Angela Ravin-Anderson of Houston,Texas is currently at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center/ Baylor College of Medicine as Project Manager at CHI St. Luke’s Health. She also uses her many years of experience, training, and leadership in service to churches.

Plan to attend on Monday and Tuesday afternoon (2:30-3:15, BSB 117) and engage together with these five panelists in thoughtful conversation about their views and experiences with women preaching in the Churches of Christ. 

The View from the Square

Larry James and John Siburt

Summit 2015 will offer the timely opportunity to hear a class in the Mercy and Justice Track led by Larry James and John Siburt about their commitment to fight and to cure causes and effects of poverty through service, advocacy and friendship. The afternoon class “The View from the Square” will meet sessions Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in Hart Auditorium.

Larry and John head CitySquare, a faith-based community development organization located in Dallas,Texas, that has grown from a small food pantry housed in a church to a multi million dollars a year organization with 15 different programs, 130 staff members, and 12 different locations working together in the fight against poverty.

The “CitySquare Way” of fighting poverty is a way of life rooted in faith, justice, community and stewardship. It is a way of life fueled by a belief in the wealth of the poor. It is a way of life nurtured by diverse relationships which reveal our shared humanity by looking to Christ as we humble ourselves in love and service to others.

John and Larry will offer specific information, instruction, insights, and encouragement for those committed to serving, ministering to, and learning from the neighbors living in poverty in our communities. As a reminder, their class will meet Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in Hart Auditorium.  Plan to attend. You will leave inspired and recommitted to the work of Christ in our world.

Minister Support Network

Robert and Jenny Oglesby, Chris and Stacie Hatchett, Rick and Jamie Atchley, and Tracy and Tina Fleet

The Minister Support Network staff believe that support and validation are critical for those in the arena of ministry if they are to remain effective in the work for which they are are called. Among the difficult realities faced by ministry couples that lead to weariness and burnout are, criticism, church tensions, conflict and loneliness.

Minister Support Network offers participants opportunities to network with other  couples in a four-day weekend retreat that allows time for rest, discernment, worship, recreation, and spiritual reflection. In the sharing of the joys and challenges of their ministry stories, they find understanding and healing from the community of new found friends.  Gathering at a quiet retreat venue, nine guest couples are heard, encouraged, and renewed by the experienced MSN staff.

Staff couples for the Minister Support Network include Robert and Jenny Oglesby, Rick and Jamie Atchley, Chris and Stacy Hatchet, and Tracy and Tina Fleet. Every afternoon at Summit a class will be presented by these staff couples. They will share the benefits of this long term ministry and the principles upon which it was founded. The class will offer opportunity for conversation with the MSN staff couples about ways church leaders can apply these principles in their own congregations.

MSN retreats, because of generous benefactors, are offered at no charge to the attending couples. If you are an interested ministry couple or you wish to recommend a ministry couple to MSN contact Robert Oglesby,, to request information about future retreats.

New Tool to Aid with Mission Team Assessments

Daniel Rodriguez and Sonny Guild

Few would dispute that a major issue facing mission teams is getting along with fellow missionaries.  Dr. Sonny Guild offers a valuable resource to assist church leaders and missionaries facing these issues.  Guild’s Doctor of Ministry project at ACU was “Enhancing Interpersonal Relationships Within Mission Teams.”  Out of his project/thesis grew the development of a new assessment tool, PATH (Periodic Assessment of Team Health), designed to help mission teams to determine their strengths and challenges, as well as chart a PATH forward for greater effectiveness.  Further information, including sample individual and team reports, is available online.

On Tuesday, September 22, during Summit, Dr. Guild will offer a three-hour certification training for PATH.  The first hour is open to anyone who wants to know more about PATH, while the final two hours are open only to those who are certifying.  Registration for the PATH training is separate from Summit registration.  Contact Dr. Sonny Guild directly if you are interested or have any questions related to PATH at

Dr. Sonny Guild was born into a missionary family and has given his life in service to missions.  He brings credibility with his many years serving on the field and training those going to serve.  To quote Daniel A. Rodriguez, Professor Religion, Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA. “Dr. Sonny Guild has developed an invaluable tool for helping to identify the strengths as well as potential challenges facing existing and future mission teams. Since intra-team conflict is among the most common causes of missionaries leaving the field prematurely, it behooves everyone who helps to recruit, train and send mission teams to learn how to effectively use this important resource. I am looking forward to participating in the three-hour certification training for PATH (Periodic Assessment of Team Health), scheduled for Tuesday, September 22 during the Summit at ACU.”

Establishing a Still Point

Suzanne Allmon, Greg Dowell, Barry and Diane Packer, and Eddie and Annette Sharp

"Busyness" is often seen as a indication of our success at work and perhaps even in our service to the Lord. Our frenetic, technological lifestyles tend to crowd quiet times with God to the outer margins. Yet, according to Ruth Haley Barton, "one of the best things we bring to our leadership roles is our own transforming self." This is true at work and at home. Spending quiet time with God provides a time for disciples of Jesus to observe Sabbath and create space for God.

Suzanne Allmon, Greg Dowell, Barry and Diane Packer, and Eddie and Annette Sharp are leading three classes at Summit which will provide practices for creating a Still Point in our demanding lives. All these presenters attended Ruth Haley Barton's Transforming Center in Chicago, a training center where Christians gather nine times over a two year period to identify and engage in contemplative and spiritually forming practices. Solitude, silence, and prayer invited us to come to the quiet and, then, with spiritually renewed hearts and minds, answer God's call to minister.  

Hope Network Ministries

Hope Network Ministries, founded by Lynn Anderson, now co-led by Grady King and Jon Mullican, provides mentoring, consulting, and pastoral care for congregational leaders. Hope Network invites a number of their ministry partners to serve as consultants and resources for this practical and timely work of the Kingdom.             

Grady King claims that church ministry is the “hardest” responsibility in which most leaders engage. At the 2015 ACU Summit Hope Network’s session, a 3 hour interactive small group setting, will be a place for conversation and questions regarding concerns of specific challenges that lead to anxiety, conflict and division. In this session ministry partners will listen and offer insights from their training and experience as they address the critical need, for church leaders in the 21st century, of discernment, wisdom and effective communal judgement.

Participants joining in this conversation with Hope Network ministry partners at Summit on Monday afternoon (Sept 21) can expect significant benefit, blessing and hope as they lead congregations into God’s preferred and promised future.

Songs of New Creation from the Tennessee Prison for Women

Claire Davidson Frederick

Claire Davidson Frederick, musician and theologian in Nashville, TN., ministers to women in the Tennessee Prison System. Based on a theology of New Creation and the firm conviction that Christ is indeed making “All things new” (Revelation 21:5), Claire encourages incarcerated women to embrace their God-given creativity as a means of healing, identity recovery, and spiritual formation.

Redemptive songwriting is a process whereby a person looks at her life through the eyes of God, where God has been at work. God intends to bring light out of darkness, life out of death, and beauty from the ashes of a broken life.

Featured as a late night guest as well as a classroom presenter, Claire will perform an hour of this redemptive songwriting. The presentation, in the Chapel on the Hill, follows the Monday evening theme speaker, and will include compositions created at the Tennessee Prison for Women as a part of the New Creation Songwriting Workshop.