In the third event of this type to take place in The Wesleyan Church (previously 2007, 2011), “The Gathering” set a new mark not only in attendance, but in the expressed appreciation of the vast majority of those participating. Over 2,300 Wesleyan pastors and spouses and other ministry leaders took part.
General Superintendent Dr. Jo Anne Lyon said, “It was an incredible event. I heard over and over that pastors said they felt ‘cared for.’ The countless hours and prayers of so many people were blessed by God and multiplied over and over in the lives of the pastors and spouses. And that impact becomes exponential!”
Located in Orlando, Florida, from January 13-15, The Gathering was a powerful celebration designed to encourage, inspire, and engage, and by all accounts, it did so. The themes of the main sessions were: We Hope, We Serve, We Inspire, We Love, and We Are Made New.
Some of the key speakers and special guests in the plenary meetings were Joel and Becky Hunter, Kevin Myers, John Maxwell, Bob Roberts, Joanne Solis-Walker, Ken Murphy, Kyle Ray, Kevin and Sherry Harney, Todd and Sonja Burpo, and Michael Jr. More information about these speakers and guests can be found here.
Over 60 seminar presenters offered a wealth of inspiring and practical sessions, including a Spanish language tracks and specialized ministry networks such as worship arts, women clergy, executive pastors, etc. In addition there were many other simultaneous events such as college, university, and seminary gatherings, mini-retreats, district fellowships, and receptions. One pastor echoed a common sentiment: “There is constantly a choice between three or four different, excellent, things to do at once!”
A huge, robust exhibit area served as a center of focus for untold thousands of highly rewarding networking opportunities. For many pastors, the family atmosphere, the reuniting of friendships, and the important ministry connections made here was worth the trip all on its own.
The Gathering Executive Director Russ Gunsalus stated: “We are deeply grateful that pastors and spouses experienced care and encouragement from God and each other. And we pray God will continue to help all of us flourish in our lives and ministries as we work together to transform our churches and communities.”