News: Church Leaders Gather at CCU

Outbreak Conference in Denver Draws Leaders from 200 Churches Nationwide

At the heart of Christian faith is Jesus Christ's command to share it as widely as possible, and not just by pastors. Yet only 5 percent of American Christians engage in any form of evangelism, and 50 percent of churches don't see a single person come to faith in a year, research shows (data available upon request).

That's why on January 28, 2011, a packed crowd of nearly 1,000 pastors and leaders from 200 churches and 9 states -- Midwest to Pacific Northwest -- converged at the main campus of Colorado Christian University for the first-ever "Outbreak" conference to discuss the startling news and how to reverse direction.

The evangelism deficit is less about desire than practical training among Christians today, say conference founders and best-selling Christian authors and apologists Mark Mittelberg, Lee Strobel, and Greg Stier, founder of the national youth outreach Dare 2 Share, based in Arvada, Colo.

The one-day, free event, officially sponsored by CCU, offered ways for church leaders to train Christians in the practice of evangelism. Headed by Mittelberg, Strobel, and Stier, it centered on Mittelberg's Becoming a Contagious Christian curriculum which has helped lead an estimated one million people into Christian faith. A handful of guest speakers shared the stage throughout the day and popular Denver pastor and radio personality Gino Gerasi broadcast live from campus.

"If the Bible reveals the truth about God and reality, then it's of utmost importance to tell as many people as possible what Christianity uniquely offers," said Brian Carlson, a former pastor and CCU spokesperson at the conference. "That belief was at the core of the day's events, clearly on a personal level with each speaker."

Take for example Strobel, formerly an award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune -- and also a staunch atheist. Today he's the author of works heralded among the most effective for validating Christianity, born from his own conversion experience.

"We have been using many strategies to get our folks engaged in [reaching out to] their friends," said one attending pastor from Colorado, joined at the conference by 12 of his church leaders. "Now we can move forward with intentional training."