Faith-based event planners know that a theme can provide order and guidance for content, speakers, design elements, activities and more for a conference or meeting. Having a central theme that connects all the threads of event planning together helps increase engagement and stickiness of the ideas presented, and makes a positive impression on attendees.
However, it can be tough for faith-based event planners who are working on every detail to stop and brainstorm the perfect all-encompassing theme. Here, we share some of the best faith-based conference theme ideas we’ve heard to help inspire your next event or meeting.
1. Be Human
"Now is the time to be a little more human." Those words were everywhere for the April 2022 Orange Conference, an annual Atlanta event for church leaders. The organizers asked the post-COVID question, "Are you ready to be human again?" and then designed elements of the conference around that concept. Speaker Kristen Ivy opened the conference with a keynote session that focused on the idea of The Human Church. She set the tone for what would be an engaging event theme that was plastered on murals, across social media and on T-shirts throughout the conference. “You’re the church. You’re the big idea,” said Ivy. “You’re the human idea.” With that, she set the whole tone of the event.
2. Finishing Well
The Renegade Pastors Conference, a virtual event in mid-March, was only open to senior pastors. With a tough past couple of years, the theme of Finishing Well is meant to be “centered around physical, mental, emotional and spiritual help to carry out the attendees’ calling of ministry,” says founder Nelson Searcy. “As a senior pastor, you face many challenges to finishing strong in ministry,” he says. The event organizers urged attendees to “find renewal and inspiration through proven strategies and new applications for ministry from those who are in the trenches with you.”
A spinoff of the popular Passion Conference in Dallas, Passion Creative Conference is a chance for creatives who are involved in faith-based organizations or endeavors to gather and rejuvenate. Held in May 2022 in Atlanta, the conference's name is LIFT, but “LIFT does not necessarily have a theme each year,” says a spokesperson. The idea of lifting people up is simple, but can be wrapped with incredible visuals and design elements that play on the word. The point? “[The conference] is an awesome time to come together with others in the same field,” adds the spokesperson.
4. The Victory Lap
Alive Conference takes place in October 2022 in Orlando and is put on by Alive Church, which is based in Orlando and Gainesville, Florida. The conference’s event planner is claiming The Victory Lap for this year's event theme. The three-day event is on the church's campus and open to anyone who wants to attend. In a time where we all need some good news, this church is declaring that it's time to take a joyful win for having made it through. The Victory Lap theme will be incorporated into live performances, worship experiences and messages from the main stage.
5. Competing Identities
In March 2022, Hayim Perelmuter Conference took place at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. The gathering, sponsored by the University of Notre Dame, has always focused on the intersection of Jewish and Catholic literature, history and theology. The idea of Competing Identities could be a unique theme for so many faith-based conferences and events. Choose two competing identities that make sense for your organization or pressing topics within your organization and do mashups for breakout sessions or juxtapose an opposite pair of ideas.
The Annual Conference of the Adventists Human-Subject Researchers Association (AHSRA) held its event in Orlando in May 2022. The theme was Faith and Wholeness, and the central theme of wholeness speaks to what attendees are seeking right now. “The Adventist belief system is holistic, consisting of beliefs related to body, mind and spirit,” says Petr Cincala, Ph.D., Institute of Church Ministry at Andrews University. “The Faith and Wholeness topic comes naturally as there are various Adventist initiatives and institutions that focus on mental/physical health, and for us the connection between spiritual, physical, emotional, mental and relational health is quite obvious.” With everything that’s happened over the last couple of years around the world, wholeness is an idea with mass appeal. The event organizers centered the theme on the role of faith in healing and thriving. “To illustrate the point, our AHSR Conference was held at AdventHealth University,” adds Cincala, “which is surrounded by AdventHealth hospital.”
7. All Things New
Reformed Youth Ministries is holding six 2022 Summer Conferences in Maryland, Texas, Colorado and Florida in the coming months. All Things New is a perfect theme after the fear and brokenness of the recent past. RYM says that in these conferences, “we set our sights on the beauty of the new heavens and the new Earth.” It also quotes scripture in its materials for the event: In Revelation 21:5, God says, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
Photo Credit: Orange Conference