Sunday, April 10

9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.       Exhibitor Setup

1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.       Registration Desk Open

3:45 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.       First-time Attendee Orientation

4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.      Opening Session with worship led by Jon Eagan and keynote address by John Stonestreet

6:00 p.m.                             Dinner

8:00 p.m.                              Table Talk roundtable discussions

Monday, April 11

8:15 a.m. to 9:10 a.m.     Workshop Block 1

How to Build a Better Website

Brian Erickson | Robb Erickson

Hoping to build a more effective website? Join Brian and Robb Erickson (King Grizzly Marketing & Design) as they show you a step-by-step process for building better websites. From strategy to implementation—this session is packed with specific ways to help your next project succeed.

You will learn…

  • Easy ways to get to know your customer before you build your website
  • Tips on using SEO to analyze competitor websites
  • A simple design process that gives stakeholders multiple opportunities for input/feedback
  • Helpful tools for assessing your website’s performance


The Biggest Decision You Ever Make … Deciding WHAT to Publish

Dean Merrill

Our days are filled with decisions: how much to spend on this article or that design … who should be hired … what promotions to launch … which overhead costs are mandatory, and which aren’t. But at the core of our work is the biggest of all: WHAT TO PUBLISH. To quote the esteemed John P. Dessauer: “Publishers must never forget that they are injecting live matter into the cultural bloodstream.” How do we do this intelligently, responsibly, and in a way that God can honor?

You will learn…

  • Four make-or-break questions we must ask ourselves every time we decide to run a piece of copy.


To Be or Not to Be: Self-editing drills to get rid of eliminate weak verbs

Diane McDougall | Joyce K. Ellis

Are you tired of theory and want to get your hands dirty? Join us for an interactive workshop to practice eliminating weak verbs from your sentences (or the sentences of those you edit).

You will learn:

  • How to transform passive verbs to active
  • How to scrutinize helping verbs
  • How to recognize when adverbs simply prop up feeble verbs
  • and more …


As Honest as the Bible: How to Investigate and Share Bad News About Christians

Bob Smietana

Churches and other Christian groups are filled with people who want to do the right thing. But being human, they sometimes fail. And at times, leaders misuse their power and the resources at their disposal for their own gain. This session is a primer on how to investigate the finances and practices of faith groups and Christian leaders that may have gone astray.


Photography for the Ages

Gary Fong

How do your pictures communicate in context to history? Some, but not all photos, stand the test of time. What we record in words or pictures is a micro-moment of world history. How can we keep the historical perspective during coverage?

You will learn…

  • How to understand the depth of your story
  • How to project the interest of the story for years or generations to come”


9:10 a.m. to 9:40 a.m.     Networking Break


9:40 a.m. to 10:35 a.m.   Workshop Block 2

Not Another Meeting

Ron Hunter, Jr.

Don’t waste your team’s time with another boring meeting or one that wastes their time. Learn what constitutes a need for a meeting and set the expectations for that meeting. Discover simple ways to help people look forward to meeting, set and measure key performance indicators, and deal with groupthink.


Brainstorming Secrets of a Theme Park Designer

McNair Wilson

Most brainstorming sessions are NOT brainstorming. More likely it’s playful arguing with snacks on the table. McNair Wilson has observed this dysfunctional “system” in professional groups at all levels. “Even at Disney Imagineering (when I first got there) we had no system for team creativity!” Typically, one team member’s idea is immediately met with a host of reasons why it won’t work.

McNair’s highly effective “7 Agreements of Brainstorming®” are simple-to-learn, fun-to -use principles to transform your team into a creative force. Implement them quickly to design, plan, invent, launch, redesign, create, develop, or solve any challenges while make your wildest dreams a reality.

McNair’s process was used to create the world’s best 40th birthday party and design five new Disney theme parks and a haunted hotel elevator!

You will learn:

  • How to create using all five senses
  • How to handle negative thinkers
  • How to realize big ideas on tiny budgets


Content Marketing Trends and Strategies for 2022

Robb Erickson | Brian Erickson

Find out what the experts and evidence are saying about the state of content marketing and what you should do about it. Plus, how to create content that stands out from the crowd and why that matters more than ever.

You will learn…

  • Get content marketing insights (and recommendations) from King Grizzly and other industry leaders
  • Learn helpful tips for creating compelling content
  • Understand the role content channels like social media and e-mail play in content marketing


Fire Up Your Magazine Writing with Fiction’s Best Techniques and Wisdom

Patricia Raybon

Why should fiction writers have all the fun? Tap into the most time-tested, dynamic, and effective fiction techniques to add sizzle, style, and substance to your nonfiction toolbox. In this writer-friendly workshop, award-winning author, essayist, and novelist Patricia Raybon shares fictional theories, tips and techniques for making your nonfiction magazine writing as dynamic and daring as the most exciting fiction. Gain writing takeaways that elevate your writing style and competence while increasing your writing output and enjoyment. Ready to sharpen your magazine-writing skills to their crafting best? Here’s a workshop to help you achieve that.

You will learn…

  • How to write openings that invite readers to keep reading
  • How to make real-life characters come alive
  • How to get the most from dialogue and quotes
  • How to use the sizzle of your senses
  • How to use conflict to build suspense
  • How to apply craft insights that add depth, substance, and dynamic tension to every story, profile, or essay
  • And more!


Photography for Non-Photographers

Gary Fong

Yes, editors and writers can take serviceable photos. Sometimes a snapshot can show a fragment of the story, but with today’s more sophisticated visual palette, the image must expand and enlighten the message.

You will learn…

  • How to take great photos even if you are not a professional photographer
  • How to understand where the eye flows in composition
  • How to identify the components of a story-telling image”


10:35 a.m. to 11:05 a.m. Networking Break


11:05 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Plenary Session

The Dr. Jeff Show: Thinking and Writing from a Biblical Worldview, featuring a live video podcast recording with Dr. Jeff Myers interviewing Heather Walker Peterson


12:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.   Lunch and Higher Goals Part 1 presentation


2:35 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.     Workshop Block 3

Recapturing Your Creative Spirit

McNair Wilson

Are there only a few creative (gifted) people, while everyone else is merely a spectator? Why do children exhibit more uninhibited creativity than “grown ups”?  Maybe, everyone is born with a creative spirit (as standard equipment) that gets diminished, devalued, and tramped down over time. How do we fix this and Recapture Our Creative Spirit?

Everyone shares a handful key of characteristics—Creative Habits— used by the most “actively creative” people. They are history’s great inventors, entrepreneurs, rule-breakers, innovators—creators in all artistic disciplines. They are also teachers, ministry professionals, moms and dads—even writers and editors!

McNair challenges deeply-held myths that creativity is exclusive to a select few. These lies block us from accessing  and implementing our natural curiosity and imagination. This is McNair’s now-famous TED Talk/keynote featured at hundreds of major conferences. This is the foundation for all of McNair’s work.  Your creativity may just be a bit rusty. Here’s your tune up. Time to punch the RESET button and reignite our original “Creator spirit” and start living life “actual size”—even in the workplace!


Mis-communicating God’s Mission

Geoff Peters

For years our words have painted the wrong picture of God’s mission. According to research with regular church-going, Bible-study-attending Christians, God’s mission is a part-time gig for just a few superhero believers to select parts of the world. We know that is wrong! The language we use is part of the reason less than 1% of professing Christians engage in cross-cultural missions. We need to change the way we communicate about the mission of God.

You will learn…

  • The top five words and phrases that miscommunicate
  • The knowledge gaps we need to fill, to better communicate


Reporting on Religion: Truth Seeking and Accountability Through Hard Questions, Research, Verification, and Investigation

Steve Rabey (moderator) | Warren Smith | Sevil Omer | Bob Smietana

Veteran reporters who have served both Christian and mainstream news outlets show how they’ve covered religious leaders and organizations, highlighting “good news” while exposing concealed sin, deception, hypocrisy, financial fraud, sexual abuse, and other problems. At a time when some complain of “”fake news,”” reporters show the challenges and rewards involved in the dogged pursuit of truth.

You will learn…

  • Learn different approaches to reporting the news
  • See how reporters follow the money trail
  • How does reporting hold religious leaders and organizations accountable?
  • Examine models of investigative reporting


Going Digital

Tom Orsat

It is the digital age, and most people are receiving content on the go through digital devices. You want your audience to be able to receive your content at their convenience, but going digital can be a daunting task if you aren’t a technical person. In this session, we will walk through how to create a digital strategy by starting small and scaling at a comfortable pace. Tom works with Rubico, a business as mission web development shop. They will discuss the best platforms for your goals and audience, how to optimize your digital reach, and how to find digital talent to help your organization have a greater impact.


You will learn:

  • Insights from the tech community to help you grow your organization, whether you already have a digital presence and are looking to grow your footprint, or are new to the digital space


Context, Context, Context: Shooting Environmental Portraits

Gary Fong

A photo should communicate to the reader much more than just what the subject looks like. The mug shots of yesteryear only allowed the reader to identify the subject, as in a police lineup. But today’s readers want to understand the context the subject has to the story.

You will learn…

  • How to recognize what light does for the subject
  • How to appreciate body language
  • How everything flows in context of background and what the subject is doing


3:30 p.m.                         Free time in Colorado Springs

Tuesday, April 12

8:15 a.m. to 9:10 a.m.     Plenary Session

After The Pandemic, What’s Next? — Phil Cooke


9:10 a.m. to 9:40 a.m.     Networking Break


9:40 a.m. to 10:35 a.m.   Workshop Block 4

Writing and Editing for Clarity

Warren Maye

Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it” (Habakkuk 2:2). Many people with advanced degrees have become experts in their field but fail to effectively convey what they truly know because their writing skills have lagged sadly behind. This workshop will show how to write brilliant ideas clearly, powerfully, and succinctly. Through a unique editing process, participants will gain the ability to select only the best and most creative words and phrases.

You will learn…

  • Three words you need to drop from your writing vocabulary
  • Five questions you need to answer that will bring your perspective into crystal focus
  • A three–step process you can use that will clarify the most complex concept


How Journalism Can Save Evangelicalism

Warren Smith

Evangelicalism is amid a crisis, a crisis that is largely a crisis of authority. The largest churches in the nation are no longer part of denominations. Christian publishers are owned by Wall Street. Historical systems and processes for clergy accountability have become irrelevant. That’s why independent Christian journalism is so vital today. Christians are supposed to be people of the light, and journalism can be the tool to bring sunlight to the evangelical world.

  • Christian journalists will be ENCOURAGED to pursue their vocations with vigor and the confidence that it is a noble, sacred vocation.
  • Christian journalists will be able to DEFEND their vocation against charges that the media is the problem.

Go Viral: Marketing on Social Networks

Terry Whalin

Social media can seem like a huge waste of time—and it can be without a plan. Terry Whalin spends about 30 minutes or less a day on his social media and has over 200,000 Twitter followers, over 17,000 LinkedIn connections and over 4,900 Facebook friends. In this workshop, Terry reveals his inside secrets and tips for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn so you too can grow your platform and presence without wasting hours of time.

You will learn…

  • How to grow your presence without consuming lots of time
  • Discover the tools for effective engagement”


Is Hollywood Anti-Christian? Discover What God is Really Doing in the Entertainment Industry Today

Kathleen Cooke

Kathleen Cooke is founder of an unusual ministry in Hollywood that mentors, encourages, and inspires influential Christian women in the entertainment and media industry. As believers, we often get conflicting opinions about Hollywood, and in this session, Kathleen will open your eyes to what God is really doing in today’s turbulent entertainment world.


Anatomy of a Picture Story

Gary Fong

Like a written story in which each additional paragraph contributes to the development of the story thread, pictures can follow the same story thread or highlight the most important elements of the narrative. We’ll discuss the components and developmental process in creating effective visual stories.

You will learn…

  • How to create tight, medium, and overall coverage for a more comprehensive narrative
  • How each visual component contributes to the overall story
  • How page design and sequencing is vital to the presentation


10:35 a.m. to 11:05 a.m. Networking Break


11:05 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Workshop Block 5

Surviving a Crisis in a Cancel Culture World

Phil Cooke

From controversies like Joe Rogan and Spotify, parents versus school boards, and the shocking multitude of pastors and church leaders experiencing moral failures of all kinds these days, how should publishers be ready when cancel culture comes to your door? Phil Cooke has advised some of the largest and most respected churches, ministries, and nonprofits in the country during times of extraordinary crisis, and in this fascinating session, he’ll share vital insights on how to deal with authors, book content, and attacks of all kinds.


Becoming a Fearless Editor

Jerry Jenkins

Jerry Jenkins’ Ultimate Self-Editing Checklist urges writers to become ferocious self-editors—and it works as well for publication editors. Apply these tips and tricks to your copy until you’re happy with every word. You will learn how to edit with a reader-first mentality and the confidence to make bold choices.


Intro to Podcasting

George Paul Wood

This session will explore how to start a high-quality, low-cost podcast. Topics will include how to record and syndicate your podcast, how to select guests and prepare for interviews, and how to use social media to grow your audience.


Write for the Reader

Lori Wildenberg

No book (other than the Bible) is for everyone. Learn the four questions to ask, create a reader avatar, and discover the three keys to meet your readers’ needs. Use this approach and the writer’s secret weapon (social media) to fine tune your focus, connect with, and communicate effectively with your reader to expand your reach.


Photographic Illustration: When a Picture Can’t Replace a Thousand Words

Gary Fong

When the story goes beyond photographic reality, shooting some story concepts may not be practical, (i.e., what might heaven and hell look like?) However, blending the conceptual disciplines of a photographer/illustrator can produce explanatory Images that bring lofty concepts down to earth.

You will learn…

  • Concepts and collaboration between the editor/writer/photographer/illustrator
  • When and where not to use photo illustrations


12:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.   Lunch, Annual Business Meeting, Higher Goals Part 2 presentation


2:35 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.     Workshop Block 6

Harnessing Data to Strengthen and Visualize Your Message

Jon Hirst

We are surrounded by data but often don’t know how to bring it to life. As a communicator today, you need to be able to understand data and use it in your work. But most communicators love Microsoft Word and are allergic to Microsoft Excel. So, it’s time to learn! In this non-technical workshop, you will learn how to work with designers, researchers and data providers to take that spreadsheet and bring it to life in the form of infographics, data visualizations and compelling graphs. The session will be very practical, focused on examples and heavy on tips you can use as you work with others to bring data to life.


Juicing Your Ideas

Sherri Langton

You just went through an experience and want to write an article about it. But is that all there is? The same experience can be “juiced” to get more: a devotional, opinion piece, profile — and more. Bring your ideas and see how much you can “squeeze” from them for different readerships!

You will learn:

  • How to stretch your thinking about your experiences so they don’t fit just one mold
  • How to stretch your writing skills to write other types of manuscripts for different audiences
  • How to repackage reprints to reach more people


Leading Up: How to Manage Your Boss

Marshall Shelley

Everybody reports to someone. Even CEOs report to a board, and a board to various regulators. Within organizations, most good supervisors recognize that they might have blind spots. They appreciate those they supervise taking some initiative to make sure that their working relationships are both faithful and effective in accomplishing the mission of the organization. Here’s how to competently manage those above you, with integrity.

You will learn…

  • Seeing things from a boss’ point of view
  • Steps that almost every boss will appreciate
  • What good bosses do NOT appreciate


Taking a Manuscript from Good to Great

Dean Merrill

Almost every writer thinks they’ve delivered a masterpiece. And every editor knows it could be even better, with some judicious help. This session will deal with: MACRO-EDITING—six key questions to ask at the start, then four improvements to consider … followed by MICRO-EDITING—the many details that prevent future embarrassment; how much tightening to attempt; and what to do about third-person singular pronouns (he/him/his and she/her/her vs. they/them/their)!

You will learn…

  • The importance of polishing text until the reader can’t put it down
  • An orderly checklist of editing tasks to avoid missing vital responsibilities


5:00 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.     Closing Dinner, Awards of Excellence, keynote address by Trillia Newbell

Wednesday, April 13

8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.   Post-convention Intensive

Book Publishing 101:  So You Want to Write a Book


8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.   Post-convention Intensive

Content Matters: Strategy that Meets Business Goals and Reader Needs

Instructor: Lou Ann Sabatier