Providing gospel-centered resources to mobilize the church for global orphan care.


Important Information: When registering online for the conference, you will have the opportunity to choose the breakout sessions of an entire track (For example, you could chose all four sessions offered in Track #1 “Your Church and the Orphan”) or create your own customized breakout track by mixing-and-matching sessions according to when they are offered. For example, you could customize a track by choosing the following sessions (notice the track from which each session comes):

Breakout Session 1 (Oct. 1, 10:30 – 11:30 am). ”Missional Orphan Care” from Track #4

Breakout Session 2 (Oct. 1, 1:30 – 2:30 pm). ”Using Music as a Voice for the Orphan” from Track #7

Breakout Session 3 (Oct. 1, 4:00 – 5:00 pm). ”Domestic Adoption” from Track #9

Breakout Session 4 (Oct. 2, 1:15 – 2:15 pm). ”The Needs of Foster Care Children” from Track #8).

Make sure you do not choose sessions that are offered at the same time.

Over 50 breakouts sessions offered:

Track #1 – Your Church and the Orphan (Hope for Orphans)

Session 1 (Oct. 1, 10:30 – 11:30 am) Launching an Orphans Ministry in Your Church (Paul Pennington and Jason Weber will be discussing Steps 1 & 2; which are Approach a Key Leader with Your Vision and Identify Passionate People to Join You in Prayer)

Session 2 (Oct. 1, 1:30 – 2:30 pm) Launching an Orphans Ministry in Your Church (Paul Pennington and Jason Weber will be discussing Steps 3 & 4; which are Dream Together About the Possibilities and Determine Your Channels of Orphan Ministry)

Session 3 (Oct. 1, 4:00 – 5:00 pm) Launching an Orphans Ministry in Your Church (Paul Pennington and Jason Weber will be discussing Steps 5 & 6; which are Plan the Strategies of Your Ministry and Establish a Leadership Structure)

Session 4 (Oct. 2, 1:15 – 2:15 pm) Launching an Orphans Ministry in Your Church (Paul Pennington and Jason Weber will be discussing Steps 7 & 8; which are Develop a Formal Proposal for Church Leadership and Launch Your Orphans Ministry)

Track #2 – Church-Centered International Orphan Care (Saddleback & World Orphans)

Session 1 (Oct. 1, 10:30 – 11:30 am) Why the Church? (Elizabeth Styffe and Paul Myhill)

Session 2 (Oct. 1, 1:30 – 2:30 pm) Six Things Every Church Can Do Everywhere (Elizabeth Styffe)

Session 3 (Oct. 1, 4:00 – 5:00 pm) How to End the Orphan Crisis (Elizabeth Styffe)

Session 4 (Oct. 2, 1:15 – 2:15 pm) Global Orphan Care through Church-to-Church Partnerships (Alan Hunt and Scott Vair)

Track #3 – Post-Adoption (Dr. Karyn Purivs and Michael and Amy Monroe)

Session 1 (Oct. 1, 10:30 – 11:30 am) Empowered To Connect Session 1: Healing and Hope for the Whole Child (Dr. Karyn Purvis) – This session will focus on the need for adoptive parents to approach their children holistically and with eyes of compassion.

Session 2 (Oct. 1, 1:30 – 2:30 pm) Empowered To Connect Session 2: Adoption from the Inside Out (Michael & Amy Monroe) – This session will address the need for adoptive parents to focus on what they bring to the parent-child relationship in terms of attachment and connecting, with an emphasis on motivations, expectations and dealing with past hurts.

Session 3 (Oct. 1, 4:00 – 5:00 pm) Empowered To Connect Session 3: Providing the Right Balance for Our Children (Dr. Karyn Purvis) – This session will focus on a childʼs need for a balance of both structure and nurture in order to develop trust and healthy relationships, and will address a variety of specific strategies to help parents connect even when correcting.

Session 4 (Oct. 2, 1:15 – 2:15 pm) Empowered To Connect Session 4: Identifying Tools and Resources for Families and Churches (Michael & Amy Monroe) – This session will provide a detailed overview of the various resources and tools that are available to help families and churches communicate, implement and reinforce a “connecting approach” to parenting.

Track #4 – Missional Communities and Orphan Care (Sponsored by the Verge Network)

Session 1 (Oct. 1, 10:30 – 11:30 am) Missional Orphan Care (Michael Stewart, Founder of Verge and Pastor of Missional Community at The Austin Stone Community Church)

Session 2 (Oct. 1, 1:30 – 2:30 pm) Ending the Global Orphan Crisis through Church Planting (The Austin Stone Community Church)

Session 3 (Oct. 1, 4:00 – 5:00 pm) Being a Church for the Orphan in the City (The Austin Stone Community Church). How to be a community on mission for the orphan locally.

Session 4 (Oct. 2, 1:15 – 2:15 pm) How to Mobilize Your Small Group for the Orphan (Todd and Olivia Engstrom, Todd is Pastor of Missional Community, The Austin Stone Community Church)

Session 5 (Oct. 2, 2:30 – 3:30 pm) Orphan Care and Unreached Peoples (Joey Shaw, Minister of International Mission, The Austin Stone Community Church)

Track #5 – General (Orphan Care and Pre-Adoption Breakouts)

Session 1 (Oct. 1, 10:30 – 11:30 am) Hope for the Orphan in Me, in You, in Them (Dr. Susan Hillis, Adoptive mother with 10 children)

Session 2 (Oct. 1, 1:30 – 2:30 pm) Leading Your Family through the Adoption Adventure (John Bryson, Fellowship Memphis – John serves alongside Bryan Loritts)

Session 3 (Oct. 1, 4:00 – 5:00 pm) Adopting Outside Your Skin Color: A Gospel-Centered Look at Tansracial Adoption (Dan Cruver, Together for Adoption). This session is all about equipping multi- ethnic families to live in our complicated race-conscious culture for the glory of God, the good of their family, and for the sake of the gospel.

Session 4 (Oct. 2, 1:15 – 2:15 pm) Overcoming Fears & Obstacles to Adoption – Panel Discussion.

Session 5 (Oct. 2, 2:30 – 3:30 pm) Getting Started in the Right Direction: Helping Pre-Adoptive Couples Make Sound Decisions (Loving Shepherd Ministries) – For pastors and lay leaders: You’ve done a great job of promoting adoption in your church. God is stirring couples in the congregation to consider adoption. They excitedly come to you for specific guidance and direction. Now what? This breakout teaches you how to aid families that are considering adoption through the difficult but significant choices leading up to adoption – from whether to adopt, to which kind of adoption, to which agency to choose, to which country, to how they can finance their adoption. Get specific, tangible counsel and resources in this breakout.

Track #6 – College Students and the Orphan

Session 1 (Oct. 1, 10:30 – 11:30 am) Straight Talk about Hunger, Poverty, Sex Trafficking, and HIV/ AIDS

Session 2 (Oct. 1, 1:30 – 2:30 pm) Become an Orphan Advocate. Learn how to use your voice, social media, and other opportunities to advocate for orphans on your college campus.

Session 3 (Oct. 1, 4:00 – 5:00 pm) Make a Difference through Local Chapters.

Session 4 (Oct. 2, 1:15 – 2:15 pm) Start Something NOW. This breakout will give college students the opportunity to brainstorm in order to get an orphan care project started.!If you want to get something started NOW, you won’t want to miss this session.

Track #7 – The Arts, Media & Advocating for Orphans

Session 1 (Oct. 1, 10:30 – 11:30 am) A Different Kind of Picture (Esther Havens). How easy is it to get wrapped up in a person’s circumstance and forget to engage in their story? Images have the capability to convey meaning, compel thought and create movement. In this session, we will discuss Humanitarian Photography and how we can be a voice for those who need to be heard.

Session 2 (Oct. 1, 1:30 – 2:30 pm) Using Music as a Voice for the Orphan (Aaron Ivey & Steven Bush, The Austin Stone Community Church)

Session 3 (Oct. 1, 4:00 – 5:00 pm) Arts & the Orphan Showcase (Various/Panel)

Session 4 (Oct. 2, 1:15 – 2:15 pm) Web 2.Orphan (Carlos Whittaker)

Track #8 – Foster Care

Session 1 (Oct. 1, 10:30 – 11:30 am) Your Church and the Foster Child (Todd Nighswonger – as Executive Pastor at Cornerstone Church, Todd had the privilege of serving alongside Francis Chan)

Session 2 (Oct. 1, 1:30 – 2:30 pm) Foster-to-Adopt (Keith Howard, ARROW CHILD & FAMILY MINISTRIES OF TEXAS)

Session 3 (Oct. 1, 4:00 – 5:00 pm) The Church as an Alternative to the Foster Care System (Judge Hathaway)

Session 4 (Oct. 2, 1:15 – 2:15 pm) The Needs of Foster Care Children (Saint Fults, Quality Improvement Specialist at State of Missouri, Children’s Division)

Track #9 – Adoption 101

Session 1 (Oct. 1, 10:30 – 11:30 am) Beginning the Adoption Journey (Laura Godwin, Nightlight Christian Adoptions)

Session 2 (Oct. 1, 1:30 – 2:30 pm) Funding Your Adoption (Jason Kovacs, The ABBA Fund)

Session 3 (Oct. 1, 4:00 – 5:00 pm) Domestic Adoption (Cindy Seay, NewLife Adoption)

Session 4 (Oct. 2, 1:15 – 2:15 pm) International Adoption (Herbie Newall, Lifeline Children’s Services)

Mini-Breakout Track (only sessions 4-5) – Orphan Care Partnerships: Church-to-Church and Church-to-Community (Food for the Hungry)

Session 4 (October 2, 1:15 – 2:15 pm) James 1:27 in Full: Orphans, Widows, and Defacto Orphans – a groundbreaking, multi-year partnership between churches in Austin and a community in Ethiopia. Learn how one church has launched a $700,000 community-to-community partnership (in conjunction with 17 indigenous churches and Food for the Hungry International) to serve as “virtual foster parents” for 300 orphans living alone, to serve dying widows and their defacto orphans, and to promote indigenous adoption. Pre-read the partnership’s blog at

Session 5 (October 2, 2:30 – 3:30 pm) Orphan Care as True Evangelism – a multi-year orphan care partnership has become a model for evangelism and spreading the Gospel in a predominantly Muslim area of Ethiopia. Learn how meeting the physical, emotional, and intellectual needs of orphans can lead to spiritual transformation, for the orphans and those around them. From mud hut painting, to grief and loss support groups, to building libraries, see the undefiled and pure religion of caring for orphans can bring people to Christ through.

Additional Breakout Session Opportunities: Note that there are additional non-track breakouts being offered during Breakout Sessions 3 and 4 (Friday, from 4:00 – 5:00 pm and Saturday, Oct. 2, from 1:15 – 2:15 pm respectively) that you could attend instead of what is offered as the 4th session of any track (see list below). Also, on Saturday, October 2, we are offering Breakout Session 5 (from 2:30 – 3:30 pm) as a bonus session (see list below). When you register online, you’ll have the opportunity to choose one of them as well.


Additional Breakout Session 3 Topic – Oct. 1: from 4:00 – 5:00 pm (non-track specific):

Option 1 – How to help 100 orphans for the cost of 1 (Jim Ross, VisionTrust). This session will take a look at the reality of the current global orphan situation, what the statistics mean, and especially what they don’t mean. The session will conclude with practical examples of how large numbers of orphans have been cared for in both extremely life changing AND cost effective ways around the world.

Option 2 – Embryo Adoption and the Protection of Life (Laura Godwin, Nightlight Christian Adoptions). There are more than 500,000 embryos in storage. What is their future? Well, there are four options for these embryos: indefinite cryopreservation; objects of research resulting in destruction; destruction; or life. As we consider adoption, some will be called to adopt newborns, some to adopt children in orphanages around the world, and some to adopt waiting embryos. All life is precious in God’s eyes. Whatever our individual emphasis may be, let us stand together in protecting and preserving all life. If you are starting the adoption journey, you may want to consider your role in giving life to one of these embryos. Your adoption will just start earlier than most and you will get to experience pregnancy and the birth of your newborn infant.

Option 3 – Honoring First Families (Troy and Tara Livesay). Whether you are simply considering adoption or have been an adoptive parent for many years, this session will help you relate to your child’s first family in healthy ways. We’ll examine positive language about birth-families and ways to build your child’s security as a member in your family. their first family, and God’s family.

Option 4 - Adoption and Evangelism: Telling your family’s story in a way that communicates the gospel (Trevor Atwood, College Pastor at The Summit Church, Durham, NC).  When we understand adoption as God’s idea, not our own, we recognize that it should be saying something primarily about Him, not us. This session would help those who have adopted or are in the process of adopting to bring out gospel truths as they tell their story of adoption to friends, families, or perfect strangers.

Option 5 – Persistent Passion- Weathering the Storms of Foster Care, Christie Erwin (Author of The Middle Mom: How to Grow Your Heart by Giving It Away…a foster mom’s journey). In this session Christie Erwin will share how from her experience she has found that Christians sometimes enter fostering with such optimism, (which is great), but they are often devastated by the reality of the process and lose hope or give up. This session will be an encouragement to current foster parents and/or to those who are considering becoming foster parents. Christie will share several truths that are critical to understand in order to become all that God wants you to be as a foster (or adoptive) parent: perceptions (of the system, of foster parents, or foster children), passion, perseverance (choosing to persevere in spite of grief and loss, disillusionment, etc), purpose.

Additional Breakout Session 4 Topics – Oct. 2: from 1:15 – 2:15 pm (non-track specific):

Option 1Panel Discussion on Adoption Funding (Facilitator: Andy Lehman, Lifesong for Orphans)

Option 2Orphan Sunday: Grow Commitment to Orphans in Your Church and Community (Christian Alliance for Orphans)

Option 3Becoming an Adoption-Friendly Church: Twenty Ways to Look After Orphans (Paul Golden, Adoptive Father and Director of Admissions at Baptist Bible Seminary in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania). Churches can and should play a crucial role in encouraging members to “look after orphans in their distress”. This session will provide practical and specific ideas on how to become an adoption-friendly church.! Come prepared to share your ideas with the group as well.

Option 4Adventures in Adoptive Fatherhood (Ted Kluck, Author of Hello, I Love You: Adventures in Adoptive Fatherhood)


Session 5 Breakouts – Oct. 2: from 2:30 – 3:30 pm (Bonus Sessions):

Option 1HIV/AIDS and the Global Orphan Emergency (Dr. Susan Hillis, Senior HIV Scientist, Division of Reproductive Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Option 2 -Adoption Q & A Panel

Option 3Digging Deeper into the Theology of Adoption for the Sake of Orphans (Dan Cruver and Jason Kovacs)

Option 4Q & A: Human Trafficking and Orphans (Tom Davis, Children’s HopeChest)

Option 5POSITIVELY Adopting Children with HIV/AIDS (Carolyn Tweitmeyer, Founder and Executive Director of Project Hopeful). Join us in discovering the realities of adopting and raising children with HIV. Understand the reality of HIV in the U.S. through our University of Chicago PID specialists. Learn the legal and immigration requirements. Take a look at REAL LIFE raising children with HIV/AIDS. Slay the stigma!

Option 6Adopting Children with Medical Needs (Mark Ottinger, Fellowship Memphis)

Option 7Encouragement to Keep-On-Keeping-On (Johnny Carr, Director of Church Partnerships for Bethany Christian Services). Many people who have started Orphan Care and Adoption Ministries in their churches are burned out and discouraged. We will look at what Scripture has to say about casting your net one more time.

Option 8The Benefits of Child Sponsorship for Churches and Families (Chris Marlow, Founder of Help End Poverty)

Option 9How The Village Started Its Adoption / Foster Care Ministry (Matt Donavon, The Village Church)

Option 10Night and Day Prayer for Justice (Randy and Kelsey Bohlender, The Zoe Foundation and International House of Prayer). How prayer and worship can impact a church’s effectiveness in justice ministry.

Option 11Mission Impossible? Self-Sustaining Orphan Care (Adrien Lewis, Community Director, The Global Orphan Project). Can micro economic and agricultural development help break the cycle of aid, entitlement, and the economic orphan? Attend this session with the Global Orphan Project and others as we talk about the vision, commitment, and lessons learned in the pursuit of self-sustaining orphan care.

Option 12Creating Hope for the Orphan through Indigenous, Local Church-Based Holistic Ministry (Aschalew Abebe, Kidmia Foundation). Hear an experienced indigenous leader-advocate discuss the conditions and issues contributing to the overwhelming orphan crisis in Ethiopia, and his thoughts on a Gospel-based response. This session will challenge you to consider the specific role your church, organization or individuals might play in loving the least of these precious ones in partnership with a local community church and community at-large.

There are also a few special breakouts and Q & A opportunities that will be offered during Saturday’s onsite lunch slot (11:30 – 1:00 pm).

Saturday Lunch Special Breakout / Q & A Opportunities (12:00pm – 1:00pm):

[Option 1] Breakout: Human Trafficking and Orphans (Tom Davis, Children’s HopeChest). As a supplement for this breakout, a Q & A session will be held during Session 5 Breakouts.

[Option 2] Infertility and Adoption Q & A

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