By Britney Denise Donald
Parklawn Assembly of God are hosts for the Inner City Workers Conference for the first time in Milwaukee.
Held every two years and sponsored by National Black Fellowship Assemblies of God, the three day conference brings together pastors, preachers and guest speakers from diverse ethnic backgrounds to share advice and experience with fellow church members.
The goal of the conference is to give aspiring pastors the confidence and tools needed to educate their own church back home.
The conference came to fruition in the 1980s by Reverend Spencer Jones, originally from the Chicago area. With his leadership skills and brain power, he is able to bring people of color together and provide an opportunity of fellowship. Jones views the conference as a growing opportunity for minorities within Milwaukee. People find “comfort in speakers who are like them,” Jones said.
Parklawn Assembly is one of Milwaukee’s major churches and has caught the interests of attendees from outside of the state.
“People have fallen in love with the city and interest is growing,” Jones said.
People come to the conference to “be informed, be inspired and be encouraged.”
Senior Pastor Walter Harvey not only serves as the conference host but as the Vice President of the National Black Fellowship Assembly of God. Harvey has served in the ministry for 22 years and is most noted for his background in radio and television.
“I really have a call to urban ministry, racial reconciliation and leadership development,” Harvey said.
This year’s theme, “Renew. Refresh. Revive.” is a focus on reconnecting with old and new friends while refreshing souls according to Harvey.
“The theme “Renew. Refresh. Revive.” will serve as a foundation,” Harvey said.
Pastors from the local community and out of town were greeted by 100 volunteers from the Parklawn Assembly of God church.
The conference revolves around 12 different workshops, general sessions in the morning and afternoon, various vendors and guest speakers.
Dr. Sam Chand, known for being in the Top 30 Global Leadership Gurus list, is the featured guest speaker for the conference. Chand regularly speaks at leadership conferences, churches and corporations including Leadership Roundtables and Minister’s Conferences.
Another stand out guest speaker is the Executive Director Diane De La Santos of the City on a Hill organization in Milwaukee.
City on a Hill is an urban ministry which helps children and adults who fall under the category of the working poor.
The ministry helps provide education, housing, health care and spiritual needs. “We bring in some of the best that we know of,”
The workshops range from building leadership skills and handling finances responsibly to using music as an outlet and encouraging expressing spirituality among youth and young adults.
A native from Atlanta, Georgia, Keith Dobbins is the featured musical guest for the conference.
An accomplished song writer, producer and musician, Dobbins puts on performances throughout North America and Europe.
There are also four special sessions being presented throughout the conference titled “Created Equal and Loving it”, “Spiritual Fathers to Spiritual Sons/Daughters; Is There A Spiritual Father In The House”, “When Theology and Cultures Collide” and “Church Development and Church Planting”.
“Created Equal and Loving it” will be moderated by Harvey who will present key leaders from different backgrounds who celebrate diversity when the church.
“Spiritual Fathers to Spiritual Sons/Daughters; Is There A Spiritual Father In The House” will be presented by Dr. Sam Huddleston who will discuss the importance of having a spiritual father to the next generation.
Jim Rodriguez, host of “When Theology and Culture Collide” will discuss how the church views its culture and how to respond to the community in the present day.
Brian Bolt, host of the “Church Development and Church Planting” presentation will present strategies on where and how to establish a church using effective methods.