Again this year, Northwest Nazarene University is offering free, live webcasting of its annual Wesley Center Conference. On Thursday and Friday, February 18 through 19, NNU is hosting “Dialogue Despite Difference,” a ministry conference that explores what it means to bridge relational gaps through loving dialogue in an often uncivil world. Dr. Dan Boone, Dr. Richard Mouw, and Dr. Curt Bechler headline this year's event. Dr. T. Scott Daniels, whose church is hosting the conference venue, also spoke in the opening plenary session.
“Our Wesley Center conferences have a long history of helping the Church engage deeply in NNU's mission of seeing God transform our world,” notes Dr. Jay Akkerman, 2016 conference director. “We've always tried to be a place where the Church comes to think and explore faithfully. This year is no exception.”
Dr. Boone is president of Trevecca Nazarene University and author of “A Charitable Discourse: Talking About the Things That Divide Us,” among other titles. Dr. Mouw is president emeritus of Fuller Theological Seminary and author of numerous publications, including “Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World.” Dr. Curt Bechler is managing partner of Venture International, a consulting firm that specializes in assisting leaders and organizations with team building, listening and leadership skills, and strategic communications.
When asked about this year’s topic, Sonya Miller, administrative pastor of Spokane Bethel, says, “Dialog despite differences of opinion is vital to representing Christ in our political climate.” Conference attendee, Portland Church of the Nazarene Pastor Steve Wingate, adds, “The Wesley Conference gives me healthy, holistic tips to better love and better respect people. We won’t have a chance to make a difference if we don’t have a platform to talk—love and respect is this platform.”
The conference began at 1:00 p.m. MST on Thursday and concludes around 8:30 p.m. on Friday. The live webcast spans the entire conference, including select workshop sessions. Website participants are encouraged to download and print copies of each daily program found at nnu.edu/wesleyconf and to submit questions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or through social media channels like Twitter using #wesleyconf. A conference app has also been developed.
NNU's mass communication students produce the media feed and the university webcasts conference content live through its Wesley Center site.
Previous conferences have drawn hundreds of participants to NNU's campus and thousands of viewers worldwide have taken advantage of the free webcast. “By offering our Wesley Center Conferences online, we're able to leverage so many of the high quality delivery tools NNU has already developed for ministry leaders in our online graduate, undergraduate, certificate, and continuing education programs,” Akkerman adds.
The majority of the conference will take place at College Church of the Nazarene, which is adjacent to the NNU campus.