Published: Fall 2012 in College News

Conference Focuses on Knowing Christ

Westmont’s Martin Institute and Willard Center offer an inaugural conference for Christian leaders.

The Martin Institute for Christianity and Culture and the Dallas Willard Center for Christian Spiritual Formation at Westmont hosts the institute’s inaugural conference in Santa Barbara Feb. 21-23, 2013.

The Knowing Christ Conference will help Christian leaders embrace their role as teachers of the knowledge of God in Christ. Westmont trustee Patty Martin and her husband, Eff, founded the Martin Institute and Willard Center in 2010 to establish an enduring emphasis on the literary, historical and Christian heritage of Willard and others in the modern spiritual formation movement.

Presenters at the conference include Dallas Willard, professor in the School of Philosophy at the University of Southern California; John Ortberg, author, speaker and senior pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church; Richard Blackmon, a psychologist specializing in counseling pastors and their families for more than 25 years; David Ross, who has been helping pastors and churches become healthier and more effective for more than 20 years; Kent Carlson, founder and co-senior pastor of Oak Hills Church; and Mike Lueken, co-senior pastor of Oak Hills for the past 13 years.

“I hope we get a new vision of our calling as stewards of that which human beings most need, which requires our own life with God to be far richer and deeper than job performance and elicits a devotion to learning and leading in continual interaction with Jesus,” says Ortberg, who has written many books, including “The Life You’ve Always Wanted,” “Faith and Doubt,” “The Me I Want to Be,” and “If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat.”

Gary W. Moon, executive director of the Martin Institute, explains the significance of the theme, “Knowing Christ Today.” “The word ‘know’ is such an experiential and intimate word in Scripture,” he says. “To live life in a ‘knowing’ relationship with God is to live each moment of the day in an interactive, transforming friendship with the Trinity. This affects all aspects of life and ministry.

“Also, the conference is a specific way to give life to the dream of Dallas Willard to better equip pastors and ministry leaders to effectively teach living well and to establish churches as schools of life.” The conference is open to everyone, although pastors, ministry leaders, Christian educators, and seminary students are particularly invited to attend. Two special pre-conference workshops will focus on soul care for the pastor and soul care for the church.

For more information about the conference, see

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