DULUTH – Georgia Baptists can look forward to igniting their ministries next year at Spark 2021. The Spark Conference, which first premiered in August 2020 and reached over 33,000 total views on the Spark website, will return Aug. 12, 2021.
For those who took advantage of the conference in 2020, the 2021 event will provide a similar schedule and digital format.
Currently, the event will be completely online. Scott Sullivan, GBMB discipleship catalyst and Spark coordinator, said the first Spark Conference was born out of a desire to meet needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s online-only layout was the first of its kind hosted by the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.
“The fully virtual side of the conference is something we will do again in 2021,” Sullivan said. “We are able to train more people and get the training down into the trenches of the local church where it needs to be when we go fully digital.”
Sullivan said the August 12 premiere will offer a full day of content with multiple keynote and breakout speakers. The theme for this year is “DREAM.”
“The point of that is to challenge leaders to lead well now, but spend necessary time learning to be future-tense thinkers,” Sullivan said. “We want them to not just be overwhelmed with the present but be laying a foundation for future success.”
The keynote speakers in particular will be speaking toward what it means to dream God-sized dreams. Sullivan confirmed that Tony Evans, founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, TX, and Ben Mandrell, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, will be keynote speakers. There will also be tracks for breakout sessions that include discipleship, evangelism, missions, and many others to be announced next year.
Last year, the conference premiered on a Friday. In 2021, the conference is slated to premiere on a Thursday. Sullivan cited evaluations from both GBMB staff and conference attendees as a reason for the change.
“It came from our team and several dozen pastors in the state when we asked specifically about the day and format,” Sullivan said. “Thursdays were easier to gather staff or leaders and sit around a computer and watch the premiere.”
The August 12 premiere will be free like last year. However, the content for registrants will only be free until August 31. There will be a digital pass available for purchase – $10 for an individual, $29 for a church, and $99 for an association. This pass gives year-long access to all Spark keynotes, resources, and breakout sessions.
“The target audience for the premiere is the leader or leaders of a church,” Sullivan said. “The larger audience comes when associations or churches host an event centered around the content from Spark.”
In 2020, there were 206 host sites around the world that utilized content from the Spark Conference. As hosts for the event, the churches and associations were able to use content from Spark weeks and months after the premiere.
Sullivan said the quality of keynotes and breakouts makes the Spark Conference a competitor with similar conferences. However, the fact the conference is free and later offered at such a low price means it is the best-valued conference in the nation.
“The goal for 2021 isn’t to do bigger and better,” Sullivan said. “It’s to build on the quality of 2020.”
The website is currently taking sign-ups for early notifications about event details.