By Josh Speight

Hard conversations are difficult, to be sure.  In the context of the congregation, they can be almost debilitating.  However, as ministers, we are called to share in conversations, even when the only thing we agree on is that we disagree. In the church, how do we lead when disagreement arises? How do we work together, despite our disagreements, to do the work of the Gospel of Christ? Where do we give space for God in hard conversations?

2016 will be a challenging year for most of us politically, socially, and theologically.  Ministers will be asked to preach, teach, and lead as our communities continue to understand our world.

Join your colleagues in Asheville, NC at ChurchWorks February 22-24 for a time to reflect and consider why conversations matter.  Prince Rivers, a trained facilitator for the Center for Courage and Renewal (founded by Parker Palmer), will facilitate our time together. Prince will guide us to consider how having “courageous” conversations is what we as ministers are compelled to do, even when challenged.  During the three days in Asheville, Prince will lead us to “Confront our Fears: Follow God’s Call,” ask “What’s Going On?: How Mental Models Shape Our Conversations,” and  consider “Come Let us Reason Together: Tools for Talking About the Tough Issues.”

In addition to Prince’s leadership, ChurchWorks will offer ten-minute presentations called “My Story.” These are an opportunity to hear from colleagues who have navigated hard conversations and want to share their own experience.  CBF networks will gather for peer-learning, resource sharing and fellowship as well as to debrief together the learnings from Prince.

As usual, CBF partners will exhibit and sponsor breaks for ministers to connect and find new resources for your congregation or ministry.  CBF will also recognize two ministers who have served their congregations well.  The Jack Naish Distinguished Christian Educator Award and the Young Baptist Leadership Award will be given on Monday evening.  For more information or to nominate someone, please email

Early bird registration for ChurchWorks is $60 (until Feb. 1) which includes lunch on Tuesday at the church.  To register or for more information, please visit