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Glorieta, Ridgecrest changing names, launching new conference offerings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Glorieta (N.M.) and Ridgecrest (N.C.) conference centers are changing their names and expanding their conference offerings to better reflect the vision and ministry of their parent agency — LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Effective April 1, the new name for the Southern Baptist owned-and-operated facilities will be LifeWay Conference Center at Glorieta and LifeWay Conference Center at Ridgecrest.
“With almost 140 years of combined service to Southern Baptists, our two national conference centers have an incredible heritage,” said Mike Arrington, vice president of the corporate affairs division at LifeWay, based in Nashville, Tenn. “We’re not getting away from that; we’re building on it.”
The name change, Arrington said, is part of LifeWay’s efforts to more closely link the conference centers to the agency’s vision of helping people and churches “know Jesus Christ and seek his kingdom by providing biblical solutions that spiritually transform individuals and cultures.”
“To an extent, this has always been our goal at the conference centers; we just want to be more intentional about it and reach a broader audience in the evangelical world,” Arrington said.
Glorieta and Ridgecrest have been providing LifeWay-staffed and -coordinated leadership conferences for decades, primarily in the summer months. Some of the more popular events include Sunday school leadership conferences, discipleship conferences, church music week and Centrifuge camps for youth. While these will continue to be offered, Arrington said providing relevant and effective ministry to churches and individuals in the 21st century will require new ideas, methods and approaches.
Toward that end, LifeWay has conducted research to better determine customer needs, provided more customer service training for employees and hired event planning directors at both conference centers — Wendell Newman at Glorieta and Tommy Gilmore at Ridgecrest.
“Our goal is to design practical and relevant conferences and events which appeal to contemporary evangelical believers,” Gilmore said. “We want people to experience a sense of community while they’re on campus and leave feeling challenged to be more Christlike. As they return home, we want them motivated to make a positive impact in their families, churches and communities.”
Several new events are already in the works. At Ridgecrest, for example, a conference scheduled May 14-16 is designed to provide women with a fresh encounter with God through Bible study, worship, music, reflection and community building. “God’s Design for Women” will feature Christian author and nationally known speaker Debby Jones of Columbia, S.C., and Susan Hunt of Marietta, Ga., an author and director of women’s ministry for the Christian Education and Publications Committee of the Presbyterian Church in America.
That event will be followed by “Revisiting Your Call” on May 17-19. This conference, targeted to ministers and spouses, features “Experiencing God” author Henry Blackaby and will touch on how to live a life of holiness, keys to an effective prayer life and how to establish and maintain spiritual integrity in ministry, among other topics.
Twice a year, Ridgecrest also plans to offer “Your Church Staff Retreat,” designed to offer time and experiences for staff bonding, calendar planning, relationship building and spiritual counseling. Nationally recognized pastors will address participants, while ministry consultants also will be available to meet one-on-one with church staffs.
Among other Ridgecrest conferences under development are events for law enforcement officers, families, graduating seniors, bicycling and other sports enthusiasts, and the National Day of Prayer.
New events at Glorieta in 1999-2000 will include a dozen “Personal Institute of Growth” conferences, which Newman described as “a feast on the Word.” Participants will engage in eight hours of Bible study, two hours of inspirational praise and two hours of “chat time” with a widely known Bible teacher and/or Christian author. A “Minister’s Enrichment Conference” also is being planned as an annual inspirational and fellowship event for pastors and church staff. Glorieta is organizing the event with state ministry coordinators and LifeWay’s Discipleship and Family Group and LeaderCare program.
Other new events in the works at Glorieta for 1999-2000 include a women’s ministry workshop, single parents’ seminar, ministers’ retreats, a “Get-a-Way” for couples, “Boot Camp” (basic training for church leaders) and a “Kingdom Princess Conference.” The latter event is a retreat for mothers and daughters that encourages a mentoring, Christian relationship between the two.
Details also are expected to be announced soon on Glorieta’s partnership with a nationally recognized leadership expert, author and speaker on training events at the conference center and other locations around the country.
“We’re trying to meet the needs of several ‘niche markets,’ by partnering with leaders at LifeWay and other evangelical churches and organizations,” Newman said. “Our goal is a new level of activity that results in better stewardship of our facilities and lives that are transformed for Christ.”

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  • Chip Alford