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Dear Friends,

As the Michigan Christian Convention planning committee addressed the 2016 theme, they sought to provide a conference that would answer the question, “Whether young or old, how does the church become relevant to people today?” The church needs to do more than just show up on Sunday morning; it must engage our culture where people live in families, in a diverse world, and in secular communities. The planning committee believes it has chosen topics that can help Christ-followers be relevant change-agents through outreach and care as they share God’s truth in love.

Changes have been made to the 2016 convention that will help provide more encouragement and a stronger resource to churches in Michigan and the surrounding region (see the schedule tab). This year’s convention has five sessions from which to choose, with a Saturday closing worship session bringing everybody together for praise and keynote speaker Ben Merold.

Also on Saturday there is a youth program for middle school and high school youth, with Pat Brennan, Student Ministries Director at Willow Creek Community Church in Huntley, Illinois.  Also joining the youth program is Matt Moore, the worship leader at the THRIVE Church in Mt. Pleasnant.  This is in addition to the Preschool-5th grade children's program taking place.

Because of the additional Friday night concert options (Andrew Peterson at the Doty Center or Art Bush/Steve Foster with keynote speaker, Aaron Miller, in the Woodard Administration Building), we have put together three cost packages (see registration tab). Also, as in the past, any church that contributes $400 to the Michigan Christian Convention provides their members free attendance the entire weekend.

Plan today to join us at the 2016 Michigan Christian Convention on April 8 & 9. God will be working in the hearts and minds of His people as we share together to make the church be even more relevant in a culture that often tries to dismiss it.

See you in Lansing at the MCC,

Tyler Barlage

President, 2015-16 Michigan Christian Convention Planning Committee
Minister, Community Christian Church, St. Johns, Michigan

Introducing Our 2016 FRIDAY Daytime Speakers


Ben Merold

Friday Workshop, 9:00-4:30pm
Being Relevant as a Leader in the Church


Saturday Afternoon Worship Celebration, 1:45-3:00pm
Church Relevant


Ben Merold is currently Minister-at-Large for Harvester Christian Church in St. Charles, Missouri. In 2008 Ben completed a 17-year ministry as Senior Minister of this church which he and his wife, Pat began in July of 1991.

His previous ministries include a student ministry at Assumption, Illinois; a 5-year ministry at Villa Grove, Illinois; a 13-year ministry in Sullivan, Indiana; and a 22-year ministry with Eastside Christian Church in Fullerton, California. During his ministry with the Eastside Christian Church, the church had a rapid growth from an average of 185 in worship service to an average of about 3000 in multiple worship services.
In 1991, Ben decided to "start all over again" and accepted the call to become minister of Harvester Christian Church. This was a rather new and very young congregation and has already had tremendous growth causing them to construct a Family Life Center, an Office Building, a Student Center, a larger worship auditorium, and a Community Lobby/Early Childhood building. Averaging about 200 upon his arrival, attendance at Harvester Christian Church now averages over 3000.

Ben received his education at Johnson Bible College in Tennessee and Lincoln Christian College in Illinois -- and honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from Pacific Christian College and Los Angeles Seminary.
He is a past President of the North American Christian Convention and has served on several committees of that convention. He served on the Board of Directors at Hope International University and was an instructor at that college. He has taught at Cincinnati Christian University, Central Christian College of the Bible, Lincoln Christian College and more. Ben has been a speaker for over 70 high school commencements and 11 college commencements. He is a speaker for numerous revivals, men's retreats, state conventions, along with leadership and church growth seminars.

His video series, entitled "Principles of Church Growth" has been very popular in the United States and Australia. This series is produced by Good News Productions in Joplin, Missouri. His writings on Church and Sunday School Growth have appeared in The Christian Standard and The Lookout.
Ben and his wife, Pat, travel extensively as speakers for retreats, conventions, and seminars.

Dr. Richard A Knopp

Friday Workshop, 9:00-4:30pm
Being Relevant When Talking with the Skeptical

Dr. Knopp is Professor of Philosophy & Christian Apologetics, Lincoln Christian University (LCU), with dual appointments with the School of Undergraduate Studies and the Seminary.

He is also Project Coordinator and Presenter for “Room for Doubt,” a grant-funded apologetics project at LCU whose purpose is to provide learning experiences and resources to substantiate the faith of committed Christians, regenerate the faith of younger Christians who have doubts about their heritage, and vindicate the Christian faith to non-Christians. The project began in August 2013. Its initial three-year phase is funded by a $675,000 grant from the Loftis Foundation.

Dr. Knopps is also Program Director of WorldViewEyes, a grant-funded program for youth and adults administered through LCU. The program is designed to help Christian youth and adults EXPAND their minds, ENGAGE their culture, EVALUATE non-Christian beliefs; and EMBRACE a consistently-lived Christian worldview. Over 72,000 adults and youth have attended a WorldViewEyes multimedia presentation. The program has received six grants from the Lilly Endowment totalling over $1,000,000.

He has been a board member since 1992 for the Christian Campus Foundation, a campus ministry at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Knopp earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Illinois, 1991. He has an M.A. in Philosophy from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, earned his M.Div. in Philosophy and Theology at Lincoln Christian Seminary, and attained his B.A. in Christian Ministries from St. Louis Christian College. He is a member of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, the Evangelical Theological Society, and he is a founding editorial board member for the Stone-Campbell Journal. He is extensively published. He is married to Paula, and they have three married children.


Two Friday Evening Events to Choose From

7:00-8:30pm at the Doty Center 



"For more than twenty years now, Andrew Peterson has been about the business of quietly changing lives in four-minute increments. In the city of Nashville where music is an industry in the same way fast food, generic greeting cards, and bumper stickers are industries, Peterson has forged his own path, refusing the artistic compromises that so often come with chasing album sales and radio singles and creating instead a long line of songs that ache with sorrow, joy and integrity, and that are, at the end of the day, part of a real, ongoing, human conversation."

7:00-8:30pm in the Woodard Administration Building (former GLCC Chapel)

For many years Art Bush has had the opportunity to speak and sing for Christ on the road. For the first 11 years he traveled with a group called "The Jackson Brothers" and in that time recorded 5 albums. Art has released 15 solo recordings since that time and has assisted with other recordings as a background vocalist.  In addition to this, Art has been speaking to young and old alike over the years in a variety of settings. Art has done High School assembly programs, sung in city parks and on college campuses, and shared just about anywhere the opportunity presented itself. Art continues to minister in many different settings by using a wide variety of musical styles utilizing keyboards, 12 string and 6 string acoustic guitars.

After working in Public Relations for Eastern Christian College for 3 ½ years, Art began his work with "Operation Evangelize Ministries" in 1976. In 1991, at the close of that ministry, Art established his own ministry based in Chesapeake, Ohio, Art Bush Ministry Inc. is sustained by the offerings and the monthly support of various Churches and individuals.

It is a special wife and family that allow Art to perform this kind of ministry. Art and Jean have been married for 35 years and have two children. Art stands for the proclamation of New Testament Christianity. Art states, "The communicative power of music must not be minimized. Music is a valuable and important tool for the Church today to communicate its great message. We must be sure not to surrender it but rather use it to encourage and build up lives for Christ.


Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley is strengthening Michigan by removing barriers to its potential. Working in partnership with Governor Rick Snyder, the Lieutenant Governor has played an integral role in Michigan’s comeback. Brian is also a committed Christian and a man of faith who is in a position to offer insight about how Christians can engage the political scene and their communities with their influence. Lieutenant Governor Calley will address the topic, "Being Relevant in Culture as Citizens and Influencers."

He guided two historic tax reforms through the legislature that have opened new doors of economic opportunity and private sector job growth. He also worked to create citizen and business friendly state government services by leading an initiative to improve efficiencies and eliminate outdated regulations.
He is committed to removing barriers to individual potential.

Lieutenant Governor Calley has gained national recognition for his work on mental wellness. He led the Michigan Mental Health and Wellness Commission, which developed strategies to help Michigan’s most vulnerable citizens find better lives through self-determination and independence. He led the charge to implement autism insurance reform and has traveled extensively to promote inclusion for people with disabilities.

The Lieutenant Governor served two terms in the Michigan House of Representatives. His career in community banking provided him a strong background for his work in the legislature.

He has been given the “Executive Champion Award” from Autism Speaks and was named one of the U.S. Jaycees’ “Ten Outstanding Young Americans”. Lieutenant Governor Calley holds degrees from Michigan State, GVSU and Harvard. He and his wife Julie live in Ionia County with their three children.

Two Sat Morning Workshops to Choose From


Wissam Al-Aethawi

Saturday Workshop, 9:00-12:30pm
Being Relevant in Relating to Muslims


Wissam was born in Baghdad, Iraq, where at one time he was an Iraqi soldier and engineer. He is a convert from Islam, and was baptized in a hotel bathtub in Kurdistan in northern Iraq. He came to the United States seeking asylum because of this conversion to Christianity. He finished school at Sunset International Bible Institute, Lubbock, TX, in 2013 and is working on sharing the Gospel with the Arabic community in the Detroit area, where he hopes one day to establish an Arabic-speaking Church of Christ in Dearborn. He seeks to reach Muslims with the good news of Jesus in a way that only someone on the inside can. Wissam serves with the ministry staff of Sunset Church of Christ in Taylor, Michigan. Wissam is educated in both Christianity and Islam. He has dedicated his life to teaching Christianity to Arab refugees in the Detroit area and teaching Christians about Islam so that they can better understand how to share the Gospel with Muslims. In addition to his preaching and teaching duties at the church, Wissam also volunteers at the Angel House in Dearborn, a nonprofit that helps meet the social, vocational, and spiritual needs of Arab immigrants.

Dr. Joshua Straub

Saturday Workshop, 9:00-12:30pm
Being Relevant as a Balanced Family

Joshua Straub, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, family advocate and professor of child psychology. He is the president and cofounder of The Connextion Group, a company designed to empower parents, spouses and families. Josh speaks and writes on emotionally safe parents and spouses and the influence of technology on today's family. He is the author of Safe House: How Emotional Safety is the Key to Raising Kids Who Live, Love, and Lead Well and along with his wife, Christi, is the producer and co-author of the video curriculum The Screen-Balanced Family: Six Secrets to a More Connected Family in the 21st Century. Josh and his Canadian wife Christi reside in Nashville, TN with their son, Landon, and daughter, Kennedy.


Saturday All-Day Youth Program


Pat Brennan

Saturday All-Day Middle/High School Youth Program, 9:00-3:00pm
Being Relevant as a Christ Follower

With Matt Moore Leading the Worship & Praise

Pat Brennan is Student Ministries Director at Willow Creek Community Church, Huntley in Huntley, IL. He is a speaker, teacher, and writer. He also loves running, wake boarding, music and Starbucks.

Pat is passionate about seeing God transform the lives of young people. Pat grew up going to Willow Creek; he became a Christian in Elevate; he now oversees the middle school and high school ministries at Willow Creek Huntley.

Pat loves hanging out with his high school sweetheart and love of his life (a.k.a his wife) and getting into trouble with their two young sons, Patrick and Nathan.

Matt Moore is a musician and Worship leader with the THRIVE Church in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.


9:00-9:15 Welcome & Ice Breaker with Ryan Bushnell
9:15-9:45 Worship with Matt Moore band
9:45-10:15 Main Session #1 Pat Brennan
10:45-11:00 Small Group Reflection
11:00-11:30 Follow up & Game with Ryan Bushnell
11:30-1:00 LUNCH
1:00-2:00 Off-Site Service Project (tentatively Lansing City Mission)
2:15ish-2:45 Panel Discussion back at GLCC
2:45-3:15 Worship with Matt Moore band
3:15-3:45 main Session #2 Pat Brennan
3:45-4:00 Small Group Reflection
4:00-4:15 Follow up to Small Group
4:15-4:45 Group Game
4:45-5:00 Final Send-off


to the 2016
Michigan Christian Convention
Friday and Saturday
April 8-9 
On the campus of
Great Lakes Christian College,
6211 W. Willow Hwy,
Lansing, Michigan 48917.

The Michigan Christian Convention (MCC) has served churches throughout Michigan for over 50 years by providing education and edification to support local work. We invite speakers and workshop leaders to help inform and inspire churches to greater service for our Lord. Our hope is that each person in attendance will find useful knowledge and tools for their work in the kingdom of God. Scroll down through the web site to learn more about the speakers and their workshops.

MCC in Action

Quick Links

MCC Blog Updates

  • Children's and Youth Program Part of MCC 2016

    Tim St. Louis and volunteers are working hard to put together some awesome speakers and programs for the children and youth who attend this year's MCC conference.  I want to encourage families and youth ministers to bring their young people to Lansing this April for some superb and challenging training on how to be a relevant Christian in today's culture.

  • Looking Forward to the 2016 MCC Conference

    Plans are in place for an outstanding 2016 Michigan Christian Convention.  This conference promises to be one of our best yet, helping Christians and their churches to be relevant in a culture that would rather dismiss them.  Dealing with issues like leadership and parenting, as well as how to approach Muslims as well as the skeptical with the gospel message, this year's speakers and presenters will provide you with outstanding resources.

  • Churches Have a Special Opportunity to Help People

    When a congregation donates $400 to the ongoing ministry of the Michigan Christian Convention, every person who is a member of their church (or who is regularly active with it) gets to attend the convention without the additional cost of paying the registration.  The Saturday lunch cost of $5 still needs to be paid, however, not having to pay the registration cost could be a substantial investment in the discipleship growth and training for service of God's people.  Church treasurers c...

  • Donate Used Bibles and Commentaries For a Good Cause

    Something new to the MCC conference this year is the opportunity for participants in the convention to donate Bibles and commentaries, either from their personal libraries or from church libraries, that you no longer use.  There are churches and ministers in South Africa who can benefit from your generosity.  Steve Zimmerman, Director of South African Christian Mission, said, "An opportunity to give the Word of God to people who can't afford it can make a huge difference to Christians ...

  • Find MCC on Facebook

    Did you know that Michigan Christian Convention has a Facebook page, too?  Click on the Facebook icon above to check out what people are saying.

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Past Keynote Speakers

Past keynote speakers at MCC include...

  • Bob Russell
  • Jeff Walling
  • Dr. David Faust
  • Larry Carter
  • Dan Smith
  • Dr. Rubel Shelly
  • Dr. Gary Johnson
  • Dr. Jack Cottrell
  • Don McLaughlin
  • Matt Proctor
  • Randy Harris
  • Steve Larson
  • James Sanderson
  • Dr. James Girdwood

                            …just to name a few!