November 5 & 6


November 5 & 6

The Future Church Convocation is a celebration of the Black Church.

The Black Church is often imitated, but never duplicated! Through God's power and anointing, it has left an unparalleled impact on North America—and continues to do so today. 

The Future Church Convocation brings together leaders, thinkers and practitioners to praise God for what he has done and to dream about the destiny that lies ahead.

Gather your leadership team together for a transformative experience that will propel you into new kingdom opportunities. With this unique virtual event, you will celebrate your congregation or organization and craft a future-focused strategy for the coming year and beyond. 


Register Your Team Now!

Team Registration



Left Until the Convocation Begins!



More than a webcast!

Collaborate with your team

A two-day interactive planning retreat

Hear from Leading Thinkers and Practitioners

Learning Continues After the Event

Registrants receive the Future Church Convocation Resource Box ($100+ value) as well as seven complimentary six-month memberships to the FX Connect app.


Free and Discounted Books You'll Receive When You Register

Session Overview

Friday Evening

The Future of the Black Church
Bishop Kenneth Ulmer


Recovering Our Prophetic Voice
Rev. Dr. Michael W. Waters


Saturday Morning

From the Steeple to the Streets: Taking the Church to the World
Keisha Polonio


The Black Church for All People
Pastor Santes Beatty


Saturday Afternoon

Black Church Revitalization: Re-Missioning the African-American Congregation
Rev. Dr. Wayne Faison


Social Media to Social Ministry
Pastor Nona Jones


Leading Through Healing Our Community
Rev. Dr. Nicole Martin


Where Do We Go From Here
Bishop James Edward Swanson


Detailed Schedule

Friday Night

7:00-7:10pm Welcome, Overview & Prayer (Moderator: Dr. Dee Stokes)

7:10-7:25 Worship: Zenobia Smith, the KC Songbird

7:25-8:10: Session 1: The Future of the Black Church (Bishop Kenneth Ulmer)

8:10-8:15: Selah Pause

8:20-9:00: Session 2: Recovering Our Prophetic Voice (Rev. Dr. Michael W. Waters)

9:00-9:10: Altar call & prayer

9:10: Announcements & Benediction

Saturday Morning

9:30-9:45am: Welcome, Overview, & Morning Manna

9:45-10:15: Session 3: From the Steeple to the Streets: Taking the Church to the World (Keisha Polonio)

Selah Pause

10:20-10:45: Session 4: The Black Church for All People (Pastor Santes Beatty)

10:45-11:15: Unpack with Team and Break

11:20-11:45 Session 5: Black Church Revitalization: Re-Missioning the African-American Congregation (Rev. Dr. Wayne Faison) 

Selah Pause

12:00-1:30: Lunch Break with Team and Unpack What you Have heard

Saturday Afternoon

1:30-1:40: Welcome Back & Afternoon Manna (Moderator)

1:40-2:00: Session 6: Social Media to Social Ministry (Pastor Nona Jones)

Selah Pause

2:20-2:55: Session 7: Leading through Healing our Community (Rev. Dr. Nicole Martin)

2:55-3:30: Unpack with Team/Break

3:30-4:10 Session 8: Where Do We Go from Here (Bishop James Edward Swanson)

Closing Remarks/Announcements/Prayer


Pastor Santes Beatty

Pastor Santes Beatty serves as the Lead Pastor for Mosaic Midtown Church in Detroit, MI and as the Multiethnic Multiplication Catalyst for the Wesleyan Church.  He has a passion for seeing healthy, gospel centered, multiethnic ministries grow as disciples make disciples and churches multiply themselves until there is a transforming presence in every zip code. He served as Director of Multiethnic Ministries within the Church Multiplication and Discipleship division at The Wesleyan Church World Headquarters, and is a much sought after speaker, coaching consultant, lecturer and trainer. Beatty is a co-founder of Call and Response Ministries. He is a coaching consultant for Mosaix Global Network, an itinerant speaker for Fuller Youth Institute, and is the founder of Crossover Consulting. He and his wife Nicole have six children. 

Dr. Wayne Faison

Dr. Faison has been serving as the Senior Pastor of East End Baptist Church in Suffolk, VA since November 2014. He has also been serving as the National Coordinating Officer of the Ascent Team of the Baptist General Association of Virginia in Richmond, VA, as well as  other leadership positions, since 2001. Prior to coming Virginia, Dr. Faison served as Senior Pastor of Canaan Missionary Baptist Church in Flemington, Florida.  

His secular experience includes serving as Vice President of Commercial Banking at AmSouth Bank of Florida from 1996-2001 and as Assistant Vice-President and Investment Officer, as well as in other capacities, at Mid-State Federal Savings Bank from 1984-1993 in  Ocala, Florida. 

Dr. Faison is married to Carmen Clark Faison and has two adult children – Andrea and Chasity. He loves spending time with his family, playing golf, exercising, reading and writing.

Pastor Nona Jones

Nona Jones is a rare combination of preacher, business executive, author, and entrepreneur. In her day job she serves as the Head of North America Community Partnerships and Global Faith Based Partnerships at Facebook. She is the bestselling author of two books; Success from the Inside Out, chronicling her unlikely story of success after a childhood filled with physical and sexual abuse, and From Social Media to Social Ministry, the globally acclaimed guide to digital discipleship for churches. Since being licensed into the gospel ministry at the age of 17, Nona has preached around the world. As a business executive and entrepreneur, she has been profiled by ESSENCE Magazine as an “Under 40 Woman to Watch” and Florida Trend Magazine as one of Florida’s “30-Something All Stars.” She holds a Bachelor in Communications and Master of Business Administration from the University of Florida where she has been recognized as an Outstanding Young Alumnus and she has completed graduate studies at the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation. She is the Founder of Faith & Prejudice, a social justice organization bringing the churches across North America together to dismantle systemic racism. She is a graduate of Leadership Florida and the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program, a joint initiative of President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton. Her civic engagement includes The Links, Incorporated, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and the University of Florida Digital Advisory Council. She and her husband, Pastor Tim, lead Open Door Ministries in Gainesville, FL and are the proud parents of two boys, Timothy, Jr. and Isaac, and two girls, Goldendoodle Shiloh and Standard Poodle Sydney.

Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer 

Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer has been Senior Pastor of Faithful Central Bible Church in Los Angeles since1982. In 2000, the congregation purchased The Great Western Forum (previous home of the Los Angeles Lakers),which they also operated as a commercial entertainment venue before selling it to Madison Square Garden in 2013. Dr. Ulmer was a founding board member and former President of The King’s University in Los Angeles, adjunct professor and Director of The King’s At Oxford; an annual summer session held at Oxford University. After accepting his call to the ministry, Dr. Ulmer founded Macedonia Bible Church in San Pedro, California. Dr. Ulmer is currently the Presiding Bishop over Macedonia International Bible Fellowship, an association of pastors representing ministries in Africa and the United States and based in Johannesburg, South Africa. In addition, Dr. Ulmer is the founder and CEO of The Ulmer Institute, a non-profit organization focused on the research, training and treatment of psychological trauma in urban communities. He has written several books, including: Passion God, Training To Win: A Spiritual Guide to Victorious Living, Passing The Generation Blessing and his latest book Walls Can Fall: Race, Reconciliation and Righteousness in a Divided World. Dr. Ulmer and his wife have been married for over 40 years and have two daughters, one son and five grandchildren.

Rev. Dr. Nicole Martin

Nicole Martin currently serves as the Vice President of Church Engagement and Executive Director of Trauma Healing. She joined American Bible Society in 2016 as a City Mobilizer in Charlotte, NC and later served as the Director of US Ministry, supporting Scripture Engagement efforts in cities across the US. 

A former management consultant with Deloitte Consulting in Chicago, Martin has also previously served as an Executive Minister at a multi-site church in Charlotte, NC. Martin teaches courses in Ministry and Leadership Development at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is the author of two books: Made to Lead: Empowering Women for Ministry and Leaning In, Letting Go: A Lenten Devotional. Martin has authored several articles that have been featured in USA Today, Christianity Today, and The Charlotte Observer. As a nationally recognized speaker, Martin has been inducted into the prestigious Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Board of Preachers at Morehouse College. 

Martin is a graduate of Vanderbilt University with a triple major in Human and Organizational Development, Educational Studies, and French. She earned her Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and her Doctor of Ministry from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She serves on the Board of the National Association of Evangelicals and is also a member of the Board of Trustees at Gordon College in New England. Martin currently resides in Baltimore with her husband, Dr. Mark Martin, and their two daughters, Addison and Josephine.

Keisha Polonio

For the past 20 years, Keisha Polonio has worked in diverse leadership roles that have served some of her communities' most vulnerable individuals. She is a results-driven leader, certified growth coach, speaker, and missionary, whose expertise and global heart extend to both the private and public sectors. Keisha served as an activist, chief storyteller, and Executive Director for Created Women, a ministry committed to supporting vulnerable women caught in the sex industry in Tampa, Florida. In addition, she passionately worked as a Associate Director and leadership coach to missional leaders with the Underground Network. Keisha equiped leaders, churches and networks to clarify and achieve their kingdom dreams with this non-profit ministry who exists to inspire, engage, connect and empower Christ followers. 

Keisha is also the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Roots and Branches, a ministry specifically committed to training leaders of color to cultivate a deeper understanding of their ethnic and cultural identity. This foundation informs their leadership and engagement in the work of racial reconciliation and justice. Keisha embodies the work that she calls others to as a proud Belizean woman, who is a wife and mother of two boys.  She co-leads a house church with her husband, loves cupcakes and is a Kidney cancer survivor. For those wanting to grow as faith leaders, Keisha is available for leadership development training, conference speaking, as well as individual leadership and growth coaching.

Zenobia Smith

"Singing for Jesus" best describes the life of Kansas City's own, Zenobia L. Smith A native of Ogden, Utah, Zenobia grew up in a very musically gifted family. She along with her brothers and sisters were taught to sing at a very early age by their mother, affectionately known Miss Ivy. Over her career, she has performed alongside some of this era's gospel greats: Edwin Hawkins, Minister Daryl Coley and serving as a featured artist alongside Vanessa Bell Armstrong, The Williams Brother and Evangelist Shirley Caesar.  

Through her obedience to the Holy Spirit and compassion for others, Zenobia has used her gift to uplift those in nursing homes and behind prison walls. Her travels have taken her as far away as Germany where she instructed a 200-voice choir performing in a concert to aid orphaned children in Sri Lanka. Never one to remain idle, Zenobia also does plus-size modeling, provides voice instruction, and facilitates musical workshops. She most recently added "actress" to her list of many talents, appearing in the stage play "Women ShopTalk While Real Men Wait."  

Dr. Dee Stokes

Dr. Dee serves on the teaching/preaching team at Christ Wesleyan Church, Greensboro, NC. She is President/CEO of a cross-cultural non-profit ministry: Dee Stokes Ministries, Inc. She is also an author and on the Fresh Expressions US staff as the Director of Cultural Intelligence & Trainer.

Bishop James Edward Swanson

James Edward Swanson Sr. is the resident bishop of the Mississippi Conference of The United Methodist Church. His tenure began Sept. 1, 2012, with his first public appearance one day earlier to the conference’s Seashore District. He went there to be with those affected by Hurricane Isaac. The hurricane made landfall on August 28, 2012, causing additional devastation to Mississippi coastal communities recovering from Hurricane Katrina seven years earlier.

Swanson serves as the president of the General Commission of United Methodist Men for 2017-2020. He was re-elected to the post following his service for 2012-2016. Swanson is a member of the International Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges and Universities (IAMSCU). He serves on the board of trustees for Emory University, Rust College and Millsaps College. He is also the chairman of the board of trustees at Gammon Theological Seminary.

Swanson is a sought after preacher, workshop leader and lecturer. He has presented to people in Japan, Korea, Brazil, Russia, Estonia, Chile, Canada, the Holy Land, Egypt, Liberia, Sudan, Uganda, South Africa, Zimbabwe and throughout the United States.

Dr. Michael W. Waters

Dr. Michael W. Waters is the founder and lead pastor of the Abundant Life A.M.E. Church in Dallas, Texas, and is a professor, author, activist, and social commentator. Dr. Waters has appeared on ABC Nightline, AJ+, BBC Newsnight, the Black News Channel, CBS This Morning, C-SPAN, Fox Soul, MSNBC Live, NPR, The NBC Nightly News, PBS Newshour, and VICE on HBO. He has also been featured or mentioned in/on The Associated PressThe Chicago TribuneThe Christian CenturyCNN.com, and other venues of note. A best-selling, national award-winning author, Dr. Waters is also a former board chair of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center in Dallas, Texas which serves the social, educational, and recreational needs of over 350,000 Dallas residents annually while serving on numerous other boards. He earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees with honors at SMU where he served as founding director of the SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage. Dr. Waters is wonderfully married to Attorney Yulise Reaves Waters. They are the proud parents of four children.


Who should attend this event?

This conversation is oriented around church and organizational leadership teams, those on your staff and in your congregation or organization who are discerning, deciding, and implementing ministry strategy. Anyone from your congregation or organization is welcome to participate, but the conversations are meant to spur your members, pastoral leadership, and staff to consider the implications and possibilities of the cultural trends that will impact your mission effectiveness.

What will Fresh Expressions provide?

  • A pre-event prayer guide and experience to facilitate with your leadership team
  • Presentations by thought leaders and practitioners of innovative mission
  • Discussion guides to grapple with the themes of the presentations with your local team
  • Access to the Fresh Expressions App
  • Future Church Resource Box

What is the local church or organization responsible for?

This is a virtual event and we admonish your team to be together in one place viewing each session. This will give you a chance to dialogue during times of pondering and unpacking what has been shared with you.

Your church is responsible for setting up the technology for your team/church to view the Convocation. Please also prepare to have refreshments and lunch provided as this virtual Convocation requires that the team stay together for its entirety. The way this virtual Convocation is designed, we want your team/church to interact, brainstorm, and decide the 'what's next' for the future of your church.

Is there a limit on how many from my church or organization can attend?

No. However, if you choose to have a large group participating, you will need to consider how to break up your participants in smaller groups for the local team conversations to be effective.

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The future is here, and "church" will never be the same. Gather your team together for two days that will equip you to craft a strategy for the changing world.