From St. Augustine to Martin Luther and from George Whitfield to Martin Luther King Jr., preaching the gospel has been the very heart of the Christian church’s approach to renewal and engaging society with the claims of God and God’s Kingdom. But things are rapidly changing, not least about communication. Many preachers and Christians wonder:
What place does “preaching” have in our image-shaped world?
How do we bring the gospel word to people inundated by images?
What does Jesus —"the Word made visual"—teach us about the living Word?
Preaching in a Visual Age invites pastors, theologians, visual artists, filmmakers, media professionals, and Christian leaders to come together to grapple with these questions and more. Speakers, music, art, and digital media will help paint a picture…a picture of what preaching the gospel might look like in a visual society.
Pete Docter is a director, writer, and animator at Pixar. A six-time Academy Award Nominee and an Academy Award winner for Best Animated Feature for Up, Pete is a storyteller who understands the profound importance of our human narratives. His commitment to story has been part of what has shaped the cultural impact of Pixar films from Toy Story until today.
Barry Taylor is an Associate at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Pasadena. He first found God on AC/DC's Highway to Hell tour. His music is featured in Agnieszka Holland's film The Third Miracle, Tim Bui's Green Dragon and on his own CD Rio da Duvida (The River of Doubt). Specializing in Pop Culture, Cultural Change and Faith, Barry teaches at Fuller Seminary and does an annual God in the Movies series.
Elizabeth (Betsy) Steele Halstead is resource development specialist for visual arts at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin College and Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is an editor of Dwelling with Philippians: A Conversation with Scripture through Image and Word (Eerdmans, 2010). Her interests are in the integration of theology, worship, and the arts. As an artist she works in oils and printmaking.
For 12 years David Taylor was a pastor of an art ministry and adult education at Hope Chapel in Austin, TX. He is the editor of For the Beauty of the Church: Casting a Vision for the Arts (Baker Books) and has written for Books & Culture, CIVA Seen, Christianity Today, Q, The Living Church and The Christian Vision Project. His artistic interests include playwriting, modern dance and film. He and his wife Phaedra live in Durham, NC, where he pursues doctoral studies in theology and the arts, while she pursues the vocation of gardener, cook and visual artist.
Mark Labberton is an author, preacher, and pastor who now serves as Associate Professor of Preaching and Director of the Ogilvie Institute of Preaching at Fuller Seminary. Mark has long been an advocate for visual experimentation and play in life and worship. Presently he champions these things through the Ogilvie Institute’s Micah Groups, preacher-formation groups committed to the convergence of worship, preaching, and justice.
William Dyrness is professor of theology and culture at Fuller Seminary, and the author of many books on the interaction of the visual arts, theology and worship. Bill is currently working on a book on visual images in worship in Christian, Buddhist and Muslim communities. He is also writing a book with art historian Dan Siedell on the religious influences of modern art.
Bobette Buster is a story guru, consultant, lecturer and screenwriter. After serving as creative executive for Tony Scott, Larry Gelbart and Ray Stark, Bobette continues to consult for Hollywood’s decision makers and creatives at leading studios including Pixar, 20th Century Fox, Disney Animation, and Sony Animation. Bobette conducts seminars for film school around the world and influences leading film industry figures, writers, communications leaders and storytellers.
John K. Chan is the principal of Formation Associationan and an Environmental Designer with architectural work ranging from large-scale master planning and institutional buildings to idiosyncratic, small-scale residential structures. John was “Visionary in Residence” at BIOLA University in 2011. John is also a founding member of The Study, a Christian community building creative church practice over the last 10 years.
Shane Hipps is the former Teaching Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Grandville, Michigan. Before becoming a pastor, Shane was a strategic planner in advertising spending many years as communications strategist for Porsche Cars North America. Shane is the author of two books: The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture: How Media Shapes Faith, the Gospel, and Church  and Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith .
Ralph Watkins is Associate Professor of Evangelism and Church Growth at Columbia Theological Seminary. His work focuses on building bridges between young adults and the church in order to develop leaders for the 21st century church. He is the author of several books, including: From Jay-Z to Jesus: Reaching and Teaching Young Adults in the Black Church (co-authored with Benjamin Stephens) (2008).
Ralph Winter has produced or executive produced over 25 films throughout his career including some of 20th Century Fox’s biggest box office successes: the X-Men Trilogy, Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes, Wolverine, and the Fantastic Four movies. A graduate of UC Berkeley, Ralph is married, with two children and is active in community affairs.
Ken Fong has been Senior Pastor at Evergreen Baptist Church in Rosemead, CA since 1996. Ken earned his D.Min. in Asian American church growth in 1990. In addition to leading EvergreenLA to be a unique and exemplary multi-Asian, and multigenerational church, Ken has authored several books, and is a frequent blogger. He is a board member of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Westmont College. Of his many roles, he is most proud of being a husband, a dad, and a persevering pastor.
Brian Moss will be providing the musical leadership for the conference. An active Board Member of Christians in the Visual Arts, and a gifted musician, songwriter and worship leader, Brian is now Associate Pastor of Maple Valley Presbyterian Church.
Throughout the conference we will have the opportunity to engage with the art installation provided by SEEDS Fine Art Exhibits in the grand lobby of Ecclesia Hollywood. The exhibit created especially for Preaching in a Visual Age is titled "The Last Word" based on Acts 28:30. SEEDS is a national mission based in Southern California and curated by Cindi Zech Rhodes and Denise Kufus Weyhrich since 2004.
Sponsored by the Ogilvie Institute of Preaching and The Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and Art at Fuller Theological Seminary, the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, and Christians in the Visual Arts.
Hosted by Ecclesia Hollywood, 6433 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA. Ecclesia Hollywood meets in the historic Warner Brother’s Hollywood Pacific Theater. Built in a different visual age it offers a great setting for this particular conference.
This conference is a part of the 2012 Brehm Lectures in Worship, Theology and the Arts. Consult The Brehm Center website for other lectures and discussions that will precede the conference on October 31 and November 1 to be held on the campus of Fuller Seminary.
Condensed live and video versions of this conference will occur in two other venues: 1) Calvin Symposium on Christian Worship January , 2013; 2) CIVA Conference June, 2013