Forged in the Fire - Washington

Reforging a Passion for Evangelism in the hearts of the churches of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference

In 2007, 74 percent of churches in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference received two or less persons by Professions of Faith. That same year, 60 percent or 529 IGRC churches had no professions of faith.

Pastors, church council chairs, lay leaders, pastor-parish relations chairs and outreach chairs are encouraged to take part in Forged in the Fire, a three site event hosted by the IGRC Evangelism Committee.


Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, Resident Bishop
Illinois Area, The United Methodist Church

General Session speaker, Saturday morning

Rev. Sylvester Weatherall
Pastor, Springfield Kumler-Grace UMC's
Friday evening worship, The Essence of Evangelism!

Rev. Tom Goodell
Pastor, Washington Crossroads UMC

General Session speaker, Saturday morning, Becoming Jesus!

Dr. Troy Benitone
Pastor, Pawnee UMC

General Session speaker, Saturday afternoon, Unapologetically Unashamed of the Gospel

Rev. Shane Bishop
Pastor, Fairview Heights Christ UMC
Saturday evening worship, A Church of Biblical Proportions


In addition to the plenary sessions, each participant will be able to select from one of four breakout session tracks aimed at resourcing the needs of each particular congregation. The workshop tracks include:

  • Re-fine (pre-evangelism): Workshops include Re-forging the Culture of Your Church to Evangelism (led by Dr. Troy Benitone, pastor, Pawnee UMC); Ground Preparation: Spiritual Disciplines (led by the New Streams Team); and Discipleship that Lasts: Early Faith Formation (led by the New Streams Team).


  • Re-kindle (evangelism targeting): Workshops include Getting to Know Your Community (led by Mike Crawford, IGRC Coordinator of Congregational Development); Before You Leap: Radical Hospitality and Irresistable Evangelism (led by Dr. Kent Lolling, IGRC Director of Connectional Ministries); Evangelism in Urban and Ethnic Environments (led by Rev. Sylvester Weatherall, pastor of Springfield Kumler-Grace UMC and Rev. Adrian Garcia, pastor of Jesus es el Senor UMC, Cobden and IGRC Coordinator of Hispanic Ministries).


  • Re-fire (the evangelism word): Invitation 101: Offer Them Christ! (led by Rev. Mark Jordan, pastor of West Frankfort Trinity UMC); Relational Evangelism: Becoming a Contagious Christian (led by Ken Runkle, Springfield Kumler UMC); and Intentional Evangelism: Window Events (panel discussion)


  • Re-forge (Practical evangelism): Relentless Evangelism (led by Rev. Shane Bishop, pastor of Fairview Heights Christ UMC); Connecting with a New Generation: Evangelism to 20 to 35 year olds (led by Rev. Andy Adams, pastor of Champaign Quest UMC); Making Waves in the Small Rural Church (led by Rev. Allen Miller, pastor of Fairview Heights Christ UMC)



6 to 7 p.m. Early Registration
7 to 9 p.m. Evening Worship and Word -- Rev. Sylvester Weatherall preaching 
8 to 8:45 a.m. Registration and Fellowship
8:45 to 9 a.m. Pre-Worship
9 to 10 a.m. Morning General Session -- Bishop Gregory Palmer speaking
10 to 10:15 a.m. Morning Break
10:15 to 11 a.m. Breakout Session #1
11 a.m. to noon Morning General Session -- Rev. Tom Goodell speaking
Noon to 1 p.m. Lunch -- provided on-site and included in registration fee
1 to 1:45 p.m. Breakout Session #2
2 to 3 p.m. Afternoon General Session -- Dr. Troy Benitone speaking
3:15 to 4 p.m. Breakout Session #3
4 to 6 p.m. Dinner -- on your own. A list of local eateries will be provided to participants
6:30 to 8 p.m. Evening Worship and Word -- Rev. Shane Bishop preaching

Motel accommodations
Special room rates have been secured at the following motel for the Forged in the Fire event. Mention Illinois Great Rivers Conference when making your reservations to receive this special rate.

Sleep Inn and Suites
1101 N. Cummings Lane
Washington, IL  61571
Special rate: $84.99 per night
Reservation cutoff date: March 6

Lay Speaker information

In order to receive credit for the event, there are some steps you need to follow:


1.      Contact your District Director of Lay Speaking and let them know your intent to attend so you can receive the required Continuing Education form.

2.      Obtain two event leader signatures while at the event and return the completed form to the District Director of Lay Speaking for credit and update of your record.

3.      Required reading is Becoming a Contagious Christian by Bill Hybels and Mark Mittelberg.  You can order the book online by clicking the link to Cokesbury.

4.      You can sign up on any of the four  tracks (Re-Fine, Re-Kindle, Re-Fire or Re-Forge) that best fits your situation and interest but in order to receive credit you need to attend the “Relational Evangelism: Becoming a Contagious Christian” session which is held on the Saturday Breakout Session #2.

5.      You are expected to attend both days of your chosen event.

Name Sales End Price Fee
Registration Fee   Ended $10 $0.99
Registration of additional participants   Ended Free

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