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Leadership Advance

The Trust’s Leadership Advance conference is held annually in late November or early December for executive leaders who have the responsibility of leading organizations, including the development of other leaders.

Leadership Advance participants include Christian ministry leaders, educators, trainers, businesspeople and others. To learn more about the conference, please email Mary Hill at the Murdock Trust.

Find resources, audio files, and videos from past conferences below.


Our recent Leadership Advance conference took place on November 28-29, 2018.

Listening and hearing are values that are held very high at the Murdock Trust. We make every effort to live out these values in every aspect of our work. Taken together, these two words form the foundation for the 2018 and 2019 Christian Leadership Conferences. The theme for the 2018 conference is “Listening to Wisdom: Hearing the Voices of Our Great Cloud of Witnesses.” The 2019 theme will be “Listening to Others:  Hearing the Voices of Our Neighbors.” Let me offer an introduction to the purpose behind these two conferences, their themes, and their connection with one another.
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About the Speakers

TRILLIA NEWBELL
Trillia Newbell is the author of  the kids’ book God’s Very Good Idea, as well as Enjoy: Finding the Freedom to Delight Daily in God’s Good Gifts (2016),  Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves (2015) and United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity (2014). Her writings on issues of faith, family, and diversity have been published in the Knoxville News-Sentinel, Desiring God, True Woman, Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition, and more. She has spoken at numerous conferences, churches, women’s retreats, colleges and seminaries, including True Woman, The Gospel Coalition Women’s conference, Southeastern Theological Seminary, and more. She currently is the Director of Community Outreach for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention.

Her greatest love besides God is her family. She is married to her best friend and love, Thern. They reside with their two children near Nashville, TN.

SANDRA RICHTER
Internationally known for her work on Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomistic History, Dr. Richter brings the Old Testament to life by exploring the real people and real places from which it comes.

Richter is a graduate of Valley Forge University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and earned her doctorate from the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department of Harvard University in Hebrew Bible.  A veteran of many years of leading student groups in archaeological excavation and historical geography classes in Israel, she has taught at Asbury Theological Seminary., Wesley Biblical Seminary and Wheaton College.  She is recognized among the laity for her The Epic of Eden: A Christian Entry into the Old Testament and is currently working on a second in that series The Fifth Gospel:  A Christian Entry into the Book of Isaiah (IVP Academic).  Her current research involves a forthcoming book on environmental theology (Hendrickson Publishers) and a commentary on Deuteronomy with Eerdmans.  She is also the author of several adult Bible Curriculums with Seedbed.  Richter is a sought-after speaker in both academic and lay settings.

HAROLD SMITH
As president and CEO of Christianity Today, Harold B. Smith leads a dynamic communications ministry envisioned in 1956 by world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham and that today reaches over five million Christian leaders every month.

Joining the Christianity Today magazine staff in 1984 as special projects editor, Smith found himself working both the editorial and publishing sides of the CT operation before becoming president and CEO in March 2007. He travels extensively on behalf of the ministry, both nationally and internationally, speaking not only to editors and publishers but also to church and ministry leaders on the challenges and opportunities facing Christ-followers in living out a vibrant faith in tempestuous times. An author/editor of numerous articles and books, he serves on the boards of Bethel University (St. Paul, MN) and the National Association of Evangelicals. He is also an advisor to the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

Harold lives in the Chicago suburb of Carol Stream with his wife, Judy. They have two adult sons Andrew and Kevin.

RICH STEARNS
As the longest-serving president of World Vision U.S., Rich Stearns calls Christians to action on the greatest needs of our day. His award-winning, best-selling book, The Hole in Our Gospel, has encouraged hundreds of thousands of readers to open their hearts to those who are hurting in our world. Over the past two decades he has logged 2 million air miles traveling to 65 countries to better understand the issues faced by the world’s poorest people.

Driven by his passion to raise awareness and support for poverty and justice issues, Rich appears regularly as a commentator in outlets ranging from Christianity Today and Relevant Magazine to Fox News and HuffPost. He regularly speaks in churches across the U.S., and in recent years has spoken at the Lausanne Conference, Willow Creek’s Global Leadership Summit, the Christian Leadership Alliance, Q Conference, Movement Day, the Worship Together Conference, and dozens of other gatherings.

A former CEO of Parker Brothers Games and Lenox, Rich holds a Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Following the calling he felt from God, he resigned from Lenox in 1998 to lead World Vision U.S., after more than 20 years in corporate America.

Rich and his wife, Reneé, live in Bellevue, Washington, and have supported World Vision since 1984. They have five children and five grandchildren of their own, and consider millions more around the world to be part of their family.

JOHN YATES
John Yates has been the Rector of The Falls Church in Falls Church, Virginia, since 1979. The Falls Church was established by English settlers as an Anglican church, its leaders were instrumental in the development of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States in the late 1700s. But in 2006, the members of the church voted overwhelmingly to leave the Episcopal Church and have been deeply involved in the establishment of the new Anglican Church of North America. This church of around 3,500 active members is well known for training young pastors, planting daughter churches, biblical preaching, a strong focus on family life, vibrant worship, outstanding youth ministry.

John is married to Susan Alexander Yates. They have five adult children and 21 grandchildren. Susan is well known for her many books on family life and as a speaker and teacher. John has written a number of books as well.

John has been an instrumental figure in the Anglican renewal movement here in the U.S. over the last several decades. He attended the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, graduating in 1968, Phi Beta Kappa and a Morehead scholar. He received his Masters of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1971, and in 1984 earned a Doctorate of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary. His work over the years with Christian young people and young families has especially equipped him as a spokesman on family life. He and his wife are deeply involved in the Little Rock, Arkansas-based ministry, Family Life, and they speak regularly at Weekend to Remember conferences around the country.

Past Conference Resources

2018 Leadership Advance Conference | Listening to Wisdom

Session 1: Sandy Richter (audio)
Session 2: John Yates (audio)
Session 3: Trillia Newbell (audio)
Session 4: Panel (audio)
Session 5: Jeff Pinneo & Rich Stearns (audio)
Session 6: Sandy Richter & Trillia Newbell (audio)
Session 7: Closing (audio)


2017 Leadership Advance Conference | Telling THE Story: Telling YOUR Story

Session 1: Andy Crouch (audio)
Session 2: Andy Crouch (audio)
Optional Film Viewing: Terry Stokesbary & John Priddy (audio)
Session 3: Eugene Cho (audio)
Session 4: Andy Crouch & Romanita Hairston-Overstreet (audio)

Lunch Presentation: Tim Mackie (audio)
Breakout Resource: Getting Your Organization’s Story Told / Telling Your Organization’s Story in Times of Crisis or Misrepresentation | Brian Gard & Bill Robinson (PDF)


2016 Leadership Advance Conference | Preparing for the Future: The Vital Work of Developing People

Session 1: Brenda Salter McNeil (audio)
Session 2: Bruce McNicol, John Lynch, Bill Thrall (audio)
Session 3: Brenda Salter McNeil (audio)

Breakout Resource: Bill Robinson, “Executive Leadership: A Model of Growth & Development” (pptx)


2015 Leadership Advance Conference | Understanding the New Millennium: Reexamining the Cultural Narratives

Session 1: Alissa Wilkinson, “The Core of Our Cultural Narratives” (audio)
Session 2: Greg Jao, “Living With Pluralism” (audio)
Session 3: Peter Greer, “Navigating the Cultural Landscape: Anchors and Sails” (audio)
Session 4: Jason Locy, “Engaging a Post-Modern World with Your Organization’s Story” (audio)
Session 5: Dave Blanchard, “Harnessing the Entrepreneurship Narrative” (audio)
Session 6: Panel & Closing (audio)


2014 Leadership Advance Conference | Word Made Flesh

Session 1: Introduction by Steve Moore & Terry Stokesbary (audio)
Session 2: Sandra Richter keynote with Michael Lindsay response (audio)
Session 3: Mark Labberton Keynote with Michael Lindsay response (audio)
Session 4: Michael Lindsay keynote (audio)
Session 5: Sandra Richter keynote with Michael Lindsay response (audio)
Session 6: Mark Labberton keynote with Michael Lindsay response (audio)


2013 Leadership Advance Conference | Convicted Civility: Candid Conversations in a Conflictual Culture

Session 1: Introduction by Dr. Steve Garber (audio)
Session 2: Dr. Richard Mouw, “A Journey Toward Convicted Civility” (MP4 | audio)
Session 3: Dr. Richard Mouw, “The Hard Work of Convicted Civility” (MP4 | audio)
Session 4: Dr. Richard Mouw, “God Loves a Pluralistic Society” (MP4 | audio)
Session 5: Dr. Richard Mouw, “Every Person is Full of Hopes and Dreams” (MP4 | audio)
Session 6: Dr. Richard Mouw, “Common Grace for the Common Good” (MP4 | audio)
Session 7: Dr. Richard Mouw, “Leadership… Living with the Mystery of God’s Work” (MP4 | audio)
Session 8: Dr. Richard Mouw, “Cultivating Conviction and Passion” (MP4 | audio)


2012 Leadership Advance Conference | Leadership in a Changing/Unchanging Time

Session 1: Introduction by Steve Garber (audio)
Session 2: Eric Metaxas (audio)
Session 3: David Kinnaman (audio)
Session 4: Eric Metaxas (audio)
Session 5: Kentra Creasy Dean (audio)


2011 Leadership Advance Conference | Shaping the Soul of a Leader

Session 1: John Ortberg (audio)
Session 2: Ruth Haley Barton (audio)
Session 3: John Ortberg (audio)
Session 4: Ruth Haley Barton (audio)


2010 Leadership Advance Conference

Session 1: Steve Garber & Sharon Parks (audio)
Session 2: Andy Crouch & Sharon Parks (audio)
Session 3: Michael Flaherty (audio)
Session 4: Charlie Peacock & Sharon Parks (audio)


2009 Leadership Advance Conference

Session 1: Rob McKenna & Ron Carucci (audio)

The 'On Leadership' Video Series

How do you develop the leaders of tomorrow? At all levels of an organization, what qualities do existing leaders need to help people learn and grow? What tools and resources are necessary? In the Murdock Trust’s video series, On Leadership, nonprofit sector leaders with decades of experience and wisdom share their insights on these important topics. These short videos contain practical, illuminating perspectives on the most vital leadership themes, including making time to mentor, the traits of leaders, overworking, how to cultivate young leaders, and many more.