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Conference Briefing

Strategic Perspectives

by Dr. Steve Elwart


While many people came to hear top-notch speakers from around the world, many came for the added blessing of fellowship.

In October the Koinonia Institute held its 8th Annual Strategic Perspectives Conference at the Coeur d’Alene Resort. The conference-week activities began on Thursday with a series of pre-conference workshops at Koinonia House, which were varied and covered topics as diverse as “Proving the Authenticity of the Scriptures,” “Discerning Truth in a World of Lies,” and “Keeping the Private … Private.”

Because of the intense interest in the workshops and limited seating, next year the workshops will be held in the conference bays at the Resort.

In many ways the conference was a time of firsts. The conference itself had a new format. In addition to presentations that have been the hallmark of the conference in previous years, panel discussions were added to the format and were well received.

Friday Night Dinner With Frank Peretti

Kicking off the conference was a dinner with New York Times best-selling author Frank Peretti. As Glen Iverson, from Regina, Canada noted:

Frank Peretti kicked things off with a talk pointing out some very obvious problems in the evangelical church, such as “worship became showbiz” and “the church became a corporation”… “technology and scheduling gets people to think less, not more” …and ended with a call to get back to basics. Frank’s observations are largely sad but true, and he presented it in a very engaging way.

Friday Night Speakers

The conference started immediately after the dinner and included some of today’s premier Christian speakers. Among the speakers were Dr. Chuck Missler, kicking off the conference with his unique insights on the world today and Dr. Peter Flint, world-renowned lecturer and expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls, talked about the authenticity of the Scriptures.

Saturday Speakers

Dr. William Welty, Bible Scholar and Executive Director of the ISV Bible, had for his topic, “When God Disciplines His Own.”

Joel Richardson spoke on the rise of Islam and how this lines up with Bible prophecies made 3,000 years ago. Tom Horn spoke on the Vatican observatory in Arizona named LUCIFER where they observe UFO activity.

David McAlvany, President and CEO of the McAlvany Financial Companies, asked the question, “Can America Endure the Coming Years?” and KI’s Executive Director Dan Stolebarger provided the conference with a “Selah Moment.” One session of particular interest during the conference was the panel discussion on the situation in the Middle East. Panel members included author Joel Richardson, KI’s Gordon McDonald, Joseph Farah, and Chuck Missler.

First Gold Medallions Awarded

In another first, the Koinonia Institute awarded Gold Medallions for the first time to members of the Institute. Many of them have been working on this goal for over six years. Underlining the fact that the Institute is truly a worldwide ministry, the awardees came from as diverse places as Australia, Canada, and the United States.

The Blessing of Fellowship

While many people came to hear top-notch speakers from around the world, many came for the added blessing of fellowship. Many people had known each other online for many years but met as old friends face-to-face for the first time at the conference. Others used the time between sessions and nights to meet up with old friends from conferences past. Glen Iverson said it best.

After a 14-hour drive back from Idaho and a blizzard in the mountains, we got back from a fantastic conference. Those who wonder why we would drive so far to go to a “boring” Christian conference haven’t been to a KI conference. Some might think a Christian conference is a hippie love-in where everybody holds hands and sings songs and pats each other on the back for holding the same belief. That’s not this conference. While it was a great reunion to meet up with good friends that I rarely see, there was a lot to learn as well. Christians are required to think, study and have a reason for the faith they have, not just look for an emotional high by waiting for a band and popular speaker to entertain them in a large assembly.”

The name Koinonia means “fellowship”—the essence of the Christian life is the fellowship with God and fellowship with other believers in Christ.

Christian koinonia touches all levels of human existence and experience. “Sharing in the Gospel” (Phil 1:5) includes both experiencing the Gospel and helping to spread the Good News.

As Paul wrote in Philemon:

I pray that your partnership [koinonia] in the faith may become effective as you fully acknowledge every blessing that is ours in the Messiah.

Philemon 6 (ISV)


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