Conference at Midway Church in Villa Rica to equip Christians to be sowers of peace


VILLA RICA, Ga. — An organization that exists to prevent and resolve conflicts in churches will hold a southern regional conference in Georgia in April.

“I am aware of no greater threat to the gospel and the North American church than internal conflict,” said Todd Wright, co-lead pastor at Midway Church in Villa Rica, the setting for Relational Wisdom 360’s conference April 18-20. “The trauma of a single conflict is often passed down two additional generations. Sadly, for many people, their most vivid church memories center around conflict, instead of the transformational power of Jesus.”

The goal is to help every church become a bridge connecting people to the gospel, not a wall keeping people away from the gospel, said Wright, who will lead one of the worshops at the conference..

The regional conference is intended to provide an inspirational vision for building relationships that display the transforming power of Jesus and his gospel. Five keynote addresses and 25 workshops will provide practical training on how to live out relational wisdom and biblical peacemaking in daily life and especially in church leadership.

W. Thomas Hammond Jr., executive director of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, will be one of the keynote speakers, along with  Sandy Willson, interim president of the Gospel Coalition; Tim Laniak, senior vice president of Our Daily Bread Ministries; Ken Sande, president of Relational Wisdom 360; and Kevin Rivers, co-lead pastor at Midway Church.

Organizers said one of the primary goals of the conference is to provide churches with practical training and resources that make it easier for their members to share the gospel with friends, neighbors, and coworkers and to draw them into church fellowship.

The conference will also provide training and resources to enable churches to establish “Peace Sower Teams” to teach coach and provide conciliation services, which have been proven to promote peace and unity but also to prevent divorces.

“As relationships thrive, the weeds of conflict have less room to grow, which reduces strife and division in the church and opens the way for stronger families, more fruitful ministry and church growth, improved work performance, and, most importantly, a more compelling witness as Christians live out the gospel of peace in their families, workplaces and communities,” said Stephen E. Garner, a Georgia attorney who leads Peace Like a River Mediation Services.

Rivers said conflict frequently becomes an opportunity for distraction, disruption, and destruction in the church.

“What if conflict became an opportunity for the advancement of the gospel instead?” Rivers said. “Navigating conflict is an inevitable part of every leader’s legacy. Shifting the approach from peacekeeping to peace-making will help ensure your navigation is on course.”