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"Your Heart's Desire"

April 16 - 19, 2018

Trent@Montreat is a conference for people in the beginning stages of ministry.  It’s about honing in on those practical aspects of ministry that you just can’t learn in seminary. Do you need help dealing with staff? Do you want to be able to jump into a strategic planning process without reading a million best practices that might not even work for your church? Do you want to focus on youth, young adults, social justice, or education? Come with a focus, leave with a plan – Trent@Montreat is built for you.

Trent@Montreat participants choose a track when they register and focus on that topic the whole conference. There is time together as one group for networking, worship, and socializing, but the limited-enrollment tracks let participants really get into the nitty-gritty of their chosen topic. The goal of Trent@Montreat is to help you through those things you can only learn through experience and to do so by connecting you with someone who has serious experience in that field. Trent@Montreat is a new kind of conference and what’s so amazing is that it combines the community of a large gathering with the intimacy of mentorship and coaching.

To see a list of the tracks offered for Trent@Montreat 2018, click the WORKSHOPS tab above.

Trent@Montreat makes some serious claims, but don’t worry, it’s got some seriously experienced backers: Union Presbyterian Seminary, Montreat Conference Center, NEXT ChurchMacedonian Ministry, and the Trent Fund of Second Presbyterian Church of Roanoke, VA.

The Reviews Are In: Hear from Past Participants

Brandon Frick attended Trent@Montreat 2016, and has this to say: “I walked away not only with practical ideas – many of which I’ve been able to try in my current context – but with a sense that I was not in this business of formation by myself.” Read his full blog post, New Ideas and Renewal at Trent@Montreat.

Howard Dudley participated in Trent@Montreat 2016 on the Stewardship as Spiritual Practice track.

Meg Lindsay Dudley participated in Trent@Montreat 2016 on the Tradition and Innovation in Worship track.

Hillary Bergman Cheek participated in Trent@Montreat 2016 on the Reclaiming the Vitality of Christian Education track.

The entire staff of First Presbyterian Church Greer attended Trent@Montreat in 2016. Read Brandi Casto-Waters’s account of their experience A Time and Place Set Apart, written for the NEXT Church blog in November.

Loren Mitchell writes about her Trent@Montreat experience in Why I “Trent”: Attending Trent@Montreat on the NEXT Church Blog.

Andrew Whaley attended Trent@Montreat 2016 and writes about his experience with the track Staff as a Gift Instead of a Headache in Continually Growing on the NEXT Church blog.

If you’re still not sure whether Trent @Montreat is right for you, check out our MORE INFORMATION tab for resources to help you make your decision.

Registration Information

Scholarships are available for church professionals!  Learn more about the J. Randolph Taylor Fellows Program and other scholarships.

Special incentive for 2017 seminary graduates! 20% off the program fee (does not apply to housing or meals).

Registration is now open! To view rates for the conference and accommodations, please click on the RATES & REGISTRATION tab above.

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Registration is open! Special incentive for 2017 seminary graduates! 20% off the program fee (does not apply to housing or meals). 

Comprehensive Rates

Comprehensive rates below include conference fee, room in Assembly Inn, meals in the Galax Dining Room (Monday supper through Thursday breakfast), plus a $3 community services fee.* Rooms are assigned on a first come, first served basis.

  • Double Occupancy, Private Bath: $322.00 per person
  • Single Occupancy, Private Bath: $455.50 per person

Commuter Rate

  • $108 per person (includes $3 community services fee*)

Optional meal packages for the Galax Dining Room may be requested when you register online. (These additional charges will be added separately by the registrar.)

  • $80.50 per person for Monday supper thru Thursday breakfast
  • $19.00 per person for lunches only on Tuesday & Wednesday

Refund Policy

Cancellations must be received by March 5, 2018 in order to receive a full refund less a $25 service charge. Cancellations received after March 5, 2018 but on or before April 9, 2018 will receive a 50% refund of the conference fee and payments made toward room and meal charges (if applicable) less $40. No refunds will be issued after April 9, 2018. All requests must be in writing and received via email, fax, or U.S. mail.

Contact the Registrar

If you have any questions about the registration process, please email the registrar at SusanA@montreat.org or call 828.419.9829.

*Community services fee of $1 per night per adult is charged for public services provided by the Town and the fire district.

Key Leadership

Montreat Conference CenterRev. Dr. Ed McLeod has been senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Raleigh, NC, since August 2004. Prior to his move to Raleigh, he served three churches in South Carolina: Eastminster Presbyterian in Columbia, First Presbyterian in Greer, and First Presbyterian Church in Sumter. He is a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA, and received his doctor of ministry at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA. He has served on the Board of Trustees at both Union Presbyterian Seminary and William Peace University.

Montreat Conference CenterRev. Dr. Agnes W. Norfleet is pastor of Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church in Bryn Mawr, PA, since January, 2013, having previously served churches in Columbia, SC, Decatur and Atlanta, GA. She is a graduate of Davidson College, and Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA, and received her doctor of ministry degree in Bible and preaching from Columbia Theological Seminary. Agnes has sermons and articles published in The Abingdon Women’s Preaching Annual, The Presbyterian Outlook, Interpretation: A Journal for Bible and Theology, Lectionary Homiletics, and is a regular contributor and associate editor of Journal for Preachers. An early organizer of NEXT Church, Agnes has enjoyed serving the denomination as guest preacher for many special occasions and conferences, and is currently a Trustee of Union Presbyterian Seminary.

Montreat Conference CenterRev. Caroline Dennis serves as the associate pastor for children and family ministry at Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, IN. Caroline holds a Master of Divinity degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, GA, a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Oglethorpe University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Davidson College. She has worked with children throughout her career, first as a child care director at Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, then as a teacher in the Atlanta Public Schools.

Montreat Conference CenterRev. Paul Roberts Sr. is president of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary in Atlanta, GA, a position he has held since the spring of 2010. Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary is one of the ten theological schools of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the only one that is historically African American. Paul graduated from Princeton University in 1985 with a BA in Architecture and African American Studies. Prior to his career in ministry, Paul worked for eight years in advertising in New York City. Paul later received his MDiv with a concentration in New Testament Studies from Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA. Paul is a contributing writer to Pastoral Care: A Case Study Approach (Orbis Books,1998), and to Feasting on the Gospels (Westminster/John Knox Press, 2013).

Montreat Conference CenterDr. Tony McNeill has been serving as the director of worship and the arts at historic Ebenezer Baptist Church (America’s “Freedom Church”) for four years. Prior to coming to Atlanta, Dr. McNeill was a visiting lecturer in choral music at his alma mater, Appalachian State University (Boone, NC) from 2010-2012. He earned the bachelor of music education degree from Appalachian State University; a masters degree in choral conducting from Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL); and a doctorate of worship studies from the Robert Webber Institute for Worship Studies (Orange Park, FL). In addition to his work at Historic Ebenezer, Dr. McNeill is a member of the staff of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, based in Atlanta, where he serves as program director of The African American Institute of Worship, Preaching, and Sacred Arts. He has presented at The Hampton Ministers Conference, Duke Divinity School, The American Baptist College (Nashville, TN), Shaw University, and served as Artist-in-Residence for the past three years at Princeton Theological Seminary (Princeton, NJ) for its Black Theology and Leadership Institute.

Montreat Conference CenterRev. Dr. Millie Snyder earned a bachelor of arts degree with honors in psychology from Davidson College; a master of divinity with a concentration in preaching from Princeton Theological Seminary; and a doctor of ministry degree from Columbia Theological Seminary. She has served congregations in Rochester Hills, Michigan and in Matthews, NC. Millie was called to Myers Park Presbyterian Church in August of 2004. She serves as executive pastor there and is responsible for overall coordination and implementation of the church’s ministries. Millie also serves on the Board of the Presbyterian Outlook and the Board of Trustees of Columbia Theological Seminary.

Montreat Conference CenterRev. Dr. Ernie Thompson serves as pastor of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Greensboro NC, and has served other 4 other churches in NC, SC and VA over 29 years of ministry. He is a graduate of Union Presbyterian Seminary and Columbia Seminary.

Montreat Conference CenterRev. Dr. Glen Bell is one of the pastors at First Presbyterian Church in Sarasota. He participates on the strategy team and executive team of NEXT Church, the board of the Presbyterian Outlook, and the president’s roundtable at Louisville Seminary. He has served churches large and small in North Carolina, Indiana, and Florida.

Montreat Conference CenterRev. Katherine Kerr is originally from Jacksonville, Florida, but has called North Carolina home for much of her adult life. After graduating from Davidson College in 1993, she lived in Asheville and Davidson before returning to school, where she received a master’s degree in counseling from Wake Forest University and was a school counselor with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for three years. During that time, Katherine began to sense a call to ministry, and enrolled at Princeton Theological Seminary in the fall of 2002. Upon graduation in 2005, she accepted a call to First Presbyterian Church in Oxford, Mississippi, where she served until being called to First Presbyterian Church in Charlotte in January 2008. She serves as the senior associate pastor for congregational ministry and care.

Montreat Conference CenterRev. Dr. Aram Bae – Ministry with youth and their families is the stuff of Aram Bae’s heart. Shoes and barbeque aside, Aram is most passionate about the faith development of teens, equipping parents, and partnering with the larger faith community on how to best address questions of faith and spirituality during adolescence. This is what speaks to the heart and soul of her calling. Aram began her studies in education in college, majoring in education and child studies at Smith College, and taught fifth grade before going to Princeton Seminary for her M.Div. She continued her focus on faith development at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, pursuing a master of Christian education, and delved deeper in youth ministry with a dissertation in practical theology from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. During her doctoral work, she served as the director of family ministries at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. She is now in her first call as associate pastor for youth and mission at First Presbyterian Church, Charlottesville, VA.

Montreat Conference CenterRev. Dr. Felipe N. Martinez is a fourth generation Presbyterian born in Monterrey, Mexico. He came to the United States in 1981 to enroll in the high school at the Presbyterian Pan American School in Kingsville, Texas. Twice a graduate from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, he earned his MDiv in 1992 and completed his DMin in 2005. Felipe has served congregations, presbyteries, and commuities in Illinois and Indiana over two decades, and is currently the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Columbus, Indiana.

Montreat Conference CenterMark Ramsey most recently served as the Senior Pastor of the 2,200 member Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas. He moved to Texas after nine years at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Asheville, NC. He has also served churches in the Chicago area, Denver, Michigan and the Washington D.C. area. He has served as an adjunct instructor at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and been a preacher for Montreat Conference Center’s summer worship series. He has been a leader and speaker at the NEXT Church conference and at retreats in Montana and Iowa on behalf of Macedonian Ministry. He just completed three very meaningful years as a participant in the Asheville Macedonian group. Mark is an associate editor and frequent contributor to Journal for Preachers and has written selections for Feasting on the Gospels. A special passion right now is working with a group of scholars and pastors, funded by the Louisville Institute, on the challenges of race, church, and theological practice. Mark finds this time in church life exhilarating and challenging all at the same time. A native of Central Illinois, he is a proud graduate of the University of Virginia, and also received an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary.

Track Descriptions

You may attend one track during the conference.  Each track is limited to 15 participants and is assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. When you register, you must provide your first, second, and third choice. To learn more about the track leaders, click on the LEADERSHIP tab above.

The Glory and the Grind of Preaching
Preaching is a call to both a regular discipline and a long term adventure. We will explore practices to help proclaim a fresh Word as the year unfolds through: imagining new approaches to Bible study, cultivating good conversation partners, gathering helpful resources, establishing rhythms of pastoral and prophetic preaching, and engaging ideas participants bring to the shared joy of proclamation. Led by Ed McLeod and Agnes Norfleet

Written on Our Hearts: Education for Transformation
Our Reformed tradition is known for its depth of theology and learning. Yet today our lives do not always align with traditional models of Christian Education. It was John Calvin who said faith is “revealed to our minds and sealed upon our hearts.” Join me as we discern the ways we are called to teach God’s Word for transformation within the life of the church. Come prepared to create blueprints and build an intentional program for Christian Education for your context, so that you may equip and engage disciples with the passion and joy of “faith seeking understanding.” Led by Caroline Dennis

Staff as a Gift Instead of a Headache
The relationships with staff (such as musicians, administrative assistants, youth workers and educators) are crucial for your success in ministry and for the health of your congregation. In this track, an experienced leader will walk you through pragmatic leaderships skills in dealing with church staff. You will learn skills that can be used on day one when you get back to your church and you will receive practical tools to implement easily. We will discuss job descriptions, hiring processes, evaluation models and healthy team dynamics. Led by Millie Snyder

Vision and the Down and Dirty: Strategic Planning Here and Now (This track is FULL)
How do we develop a common vision for our congregation? In this difficult time of discord, we will learn to invite our leaders and participants to recognize the nudges of the Holy Spirit. This intriguing mix includes the hidden gifts of the congregation, the growing edges of the community around us, and the energy of our own individual passions. Led by Glen Bell

Ministry with Youth 101
This track focuses on the the basics of ministry with youth and their families. We will explore the 5 W’s of ministry with youth: who, what, when, where, and–most importantly–why. For those who are concerned with the growing demographic of the “spiritual but not religious” (18-29yo) this is the track for you. The youth among us both spiritual AND religious. How we minister and partner with them will make a difference on which “box” they check on the census bureau as they turn the corner towards adulthood. Come and see how to make that difference. Led by Aram Bae

Solo, Not Alone: The Solo Pastor and His/Her Gifted Congregation
Ministry as a solo pastor brings its own blessings and challenges. Starting with the assumption that God has uniquely blessed and equipped you as a solo pastor, your congregation and community, participants will explore how to rely on those strengths/assets and seek collaboration when addressing new challenges. The conversation among participants will acknowledge the wisdom each contributes, use their concerns/questions to invite dialogue, and will integrate reading on subjects such as Asset Based Community Development. Led by Felipe N. Martinez

Exegeting Your Community
Every person wants to be involved in a mission greater than themselves. The challenge for the Christian church in this time in history is to find creative ways to empower lay people for their ministries in society and to mobilize congregations to “take on trouble” in their local communities. This track will help the participants to “exegete their local community” so their congregation can respond to the radical call of the Gospel that gives meaning and purpose to our lives! Led by Mark Ramsey

Resources about Trent@Montreat

Download the printable Trent@Montreat 2018 Flyer.

Our friends at NEXT Church curated a month of blog posts about Trent@Montreat and the beginning stages of ministry. If you’re looking for a little more information about Trent@Montreat, check out some of the following posts!

On being new to ministry:

Big, Uncertain Moments by Katherine Norwood, a student at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Without Training Wheels by Jessie Light, Monie Pastoral Resident at Preston Hollow Presbyterian.

On leading others in ministry:

Not Alone by Felipe Martinez, leading On Your Own But Not Alone – Solo Pastoring at Trent@Montreat 2018.

High Hopes for the Future by Agnes Norfleet, co-leading The Glory and Grind of Preaching at Trent@Montreat 2018.

Sage Training or Saint Training? by George Anderson, Trent@Montreat 2018 planning team member.

Trent@Montreat: A Guide for the Journey by Elizabeth Link, Trent@Montreat 2018 planning team member and Tanner Pickett, VP of Sales, Marketing, and Communications at Montreat Conference Center.

On participating in Trent@Montreat 2016:

A Time and Place Set Apart by Brandi Casto-Waters.

Why I “Trent”: Attending Trent@Montreat by Loren Mitchell.

Continually Growing by Andrew Whaley.

More Information