Thousands expected to attend North American Christian Convention

Thousands of pastors, leaders and members of Christian churches from across the country will gather in Cincinnati Tuesday, June 23 through Friday, June 26 to attend the North American Christian Convention (NACC) at the Duke Energy Convention Center. The annual convention is expected to draw more than 6,500 attendees to the city over the course of the four-day event.

Mike Baker, president of the 2015 NACC said this year’s convention theme will focus on the message of “We Speak,” which will celebrate every Christian’s calling to speak for God.

“We are celebrating the “we” this year, because in the church, it’s not “some” speak. It’s not “preachers” speak. It’s not “leaders” speak. And it’s not “influencers” speak. Every Christ follower speaks. In fact, as with Peter and John in Acts 4:20, we cannot help but speak,” Baker said.

“The idea is finding your voice in an age of talk, in an age of communication where literally billions of emails, blogs, books and everything that is written every day – how do we as Christ-followers find our voice? We are going to talk about how we can do that. It’s also a time for hanging out with friends.”

Baker will help to kick off the event by speaking at the main session Tuesday from 6:45 to 8:30 p.m. His message is titled, “We Cannot Help But Speak.”

“We have a message to offer, and it plays itself out in two main ways. One is the hope of life after death and the resurrection of Jesus, and two is the healing that comes from a relationship with God. We have a lot to speak into the world,” Baker said.

“I really like “We Speak” as a theme, because I think in our culture right now, everyone is trying to speak something,” said Trevor DeVage, who serves as Local Arrangement Committee co-chairperson along with Senior Minister Rick Shonkwiler from White Oak Christian Church. “We’ve got everything from Caitlyn Jenner trying to speak, to everything with the racial tensions trying to speak, with political tension trying to speak, and a lot of times, I think we allow God’s voice to get drowned out. But God definitely has something to say to this generation and to this culture.”

DeVage, who also serves as lead pastor Christ’s Church at Mason (CCM), said his prayer is that convention attendees walk away with a better sense that they have something to say, they have a voice, and God that wants to say something through each of us.

“I really believe for CCM, for us, we are launching a campus in Price Hill in September, and so for me, we want to speak into a community that we are not going to fix, we are just going to love with Christ, and hopefully transformation will come out of that. When we speak the words of Jesus as the church, I think that culture is not turned off by Jesus, their heart is turned toward Jesus when we do that,” DeVage said.

The convention will feature top-notch speakers, worship leaders and Christian talent. Workshops, Bible studies and networking events offer attendees resources for their ministries and churches. The annual convention returns to Cincinnati after previously being held in the city in 2008 and 2011. It has also been held in other nearby cities, including Louisville, Kentucky and Indianapolis, Indiana.

“This is a great opportunity for Christians in the tri-state area to hear speakers and church leaders from across the country, both for the inspiration that they may gain in large worship settings as well as the practical information that they will get from a number of workshops that are being offered,” said Mark Taylor, publisher and editor of Christian Standard Magazine, a publication based out of Standard Publishing in Mason.

There are worship experiences that every Christian will find a blessing, he said, and there are all kinds of workshops from those that are geared to parents and families to those that focus on individual spiritual growth.

“For me personally, the contact with other dynamic Christians that are living the life I want to live, that has been one of the greatest benefits of the convention to me,” Taylor said.

This year’s program lineup includes best-selling author Lysa TerKeurst, comedian Michael Jr., ministry leaders Bob Russell and John Russell, missionary Ajai Lall, and others. Additionally, NACC’s convention hall will have about 417 booths, including colleges and missions organizations.