Loading Events

Wee Kirk Conference

For leaders of small churches

October 16 - October 18, 2017

The Wee Kirk conference aspires to provide Christ-centered opportunities for inspiration, encouragement, and community among leaders of small membership churches so they can do the same in their congregations and regions. The conference will offer the following tracks for conferees to choose:

  • Barnabas Track
  • Missional Clustering Track
  • Spiritual Formation Track
  • Global Engagement Track
  • Retreat Track

See the WORKSHOPS tab above for track descriptions. You will be asked to select a track when you register. Once selected, that track will be your focus throughout the conference. We will all be together for plenaries and worship.


Participants will be housed in the Assembly Inn which has some rooms available with queen and king beds. Married couples will be assigned to these rooms to the best of our ability. Please indicate your preference on the registration form. Housing assignments are made on a first come, first served basis after specific physical needs are taken into account. Please indicate if you have specific physical needs or trouble walking. Housing check-in is available AFTER 3:00 pm on day of arrival. Please Note: All participants taking the Barnabas track will be housed at the William Black Lodge.

Barnabas Track

The Barnabas track is a specialized track for pastors and CRE/CLP’s and their spouses who are serving in their first call. The Barnabas track begins a day earlier on Sunday, October 15, 2017. Participants will lodge and fellowship together at the William Black Lodge, share in devotions, as well as have opportunities for extended discussion with new and seasoned pastors. In addition to the main conference registration fee, returning participants will pay $50 for individuals and $75 for couples. There is no additional fee for first time attendees.

Registration Information

Online registration is now open! Prompt registration is encouraged as the conference may fill up quickly. For conference costs, please click on the RATES & REGISTRATION tab above.

Conference registration will begin at 1 p.m. on Monday, October 16 in the Assembly Inn upper lobby. The main conference begins with the first seminar on Monday at 3:00 p.m. and concludes with lunch on Wednesday. The Barnabas Track begins a day earlier on Sunday, October 15. Dress is casual. Phones are not available in individual rooms, but emergency messages may be left at the front desk of the Inn (800-572-2257, ext 0). Please note: Child care is NOT available for this event.

Share this
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

Rates and Registration

Online registration is now open! Prompt registration is encouraged as the conference may fill up quickly. 

The conference will offer multiple tracks, including the Barnabas track, for conferees to choose (see WORKSHOPS tab above for descriptions). You will be asked to select a track when you register.

THIS CONFERENCE IS A LOVE GIFT to those serving small membership congregations. The average cost per person is $380. Through the generous support of governing bodies, large churches, co-sponsors and individuals, the conference fees for actively-serving Presbyterian congregational leaders (PCUSA, ECO, EPC, PCA etc.) are reduced substantially.

All rooms are double-occupancy. A roommate WILL be assigned if none is indicated at time of registration.

Conference Fees


Congregation with an average of fewer than 100 in worship:
— Individual $180*
— Individual & spouse $210*

All Other First Time Attendees:
— $380 per person


Congregation with an average of fewer than 50 in worship:
— Individual $200*
— Individual & spouse $240*

Congregation with an average of fewer than 100 in worship:
— Individual $230*
— Individual & spouse $285*

All Other Repeat Attendees:
— $380 per person

*A maximum of 6 persons, including clergy and spouse, from any one congregation may attend at the reduced rates. Additional persons will pay $380 each. Fees for Children: Meal charge $25 for children 5 to 11
years of age. Please note: Child care is NOT available for this event.

Barnabas Track Additional Fees

The Barnabas Track has an additional fee on top of the main conference registration fee:

  • First time attendees, no additional fee
  • Repeat Attendee, add $50 to fees above
  • Repeat Couple Attendees, add $75 to fees above


Cancellations may be made at any time prior to the conference. Full refunds will be issued for cancellations received by September 15, 2017. After that, 50% refunds will be issued if cancellation is made before October 11, 2017.


Questions about registration? Email the registrar, Susan Akduman, at SusanA@montreat.org or call 828.419.9829.

Worship Leader

Montreat Conference CenterRev. Robert Austell serves as pastor of Good Shepherd in Charlotte, NC. Previously he served as associate pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Lenoir, NC. He is a graduate of Davidson College, studied at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Boston, MA), and graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary with a MDiv in 1996. In May of 2008 he completed his dissertation on worship and music and graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte with a Doctor of Ministry. Robert is a life-long musician and continues to write and record music. He is married to Heather and has three daughters.

Morning and Evening Prayer Leader

Montreat Conference CenterRev. Dr. Robert McRae is the pastor at Galatia Presbyterian Church in Eagle Rock, VA. Robert has been active in Presbyterian Pilgrimage Spiritual Retreats since 1988. Robert has a Doctor of Ministries from Union Theological Seminary, and for 17 years worked as a teacher and principal in MS before attending seminary. He is married to Jane C. McRae, and is a grandfather of eight. Robert’s favorite pastimes are biking and photography. He and his wife have attended all but two of the Montreat Wee Kirk Conferences.

Music Leader

Montreat Conference CenterEric VanderHeide is the director of music ministries at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC. Eric has a personal an vibrant faith, with many years of worshiping and serving in the Christian Reformed Church. He leads the traditional choral program as well as the contemporary worship team ministry, coordinating and planning worship with the pastor around the biblical and theological themes of the service. Besides being a gifted vocalist and director, Eric has training and experience in music education, musical theater, and visual arts. He is married to Lisa and they have two children.

Barnabas Track Leader

Montreat Conference CenterRev. Dr. Matthew Floding is the director of ministerial formation and field education, Duke Divinity School, Durham, NC. Matt has served as pastor in Illinois, college chaplain in Iowa, and director of formation for ministry at a seminary of the Reformed Church in America in Michigan. Matt also volunteers with a non-profit, Friendship House Partners USA, which works with persons with intellectual disabilities and their families to secure safe, affordable, and community-oriented housing in partnership with divinity schools and seminaries. He is passionate about encouraging leadership development for ministry and vocational discernment. He is an ordained minister of word and sacrament in the Reformed Church in America. He and his wife Marcia are parents to Geoffrey, Kathryn, and Greta.

Missional Clustering Track Leaders

Montreat Conference CenterRev. Dr. Herb Codington was born and raised on the mission field (Korea), as was his wife Suzan (Brazil). They have five children, one of whom is a missionary in Albania. Herb pastors three smaller congregations in Lauren’s county, SC. He also serves with a small mission agency with work in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. In addition, he teaches an introductory missions course at Presbyterian College. Herb is a conference speaker and has led the Laurens cluster of 16 churches for 25 years.

Montreat Conference CenterRev. Dr. Lisa Baroody Culpepper serves as pastor of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Hemingway, SC. She is a graduate of Furman University (BS), as well as a magna cum laude graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (MDiv and DMin). Lisa serves in leadership with a missional cluster of five churches in New Harmony Presbytery, and has been involved in short term cross cultural mission for 25 years. Her most recent involvement is in Lebanon with the Outreach Foundation’s ministry to Syria and Lebanon.

Spiritual Formation Track Leaders

Montreat Conference CenterRev. Marina Gopadze, a native of Philadelphia, PA, began her career as a clinical microbiologist in Richmond, VA, following graduation from college. Through several years of separation from the Lord of her childhood, Jesus Christ brought her back into His fold, opening up the path He had waited to place her on. She graduated from Union Presbyterian Seminary in 2000, and became pastor of Buchanan Presbyterian Church in Virginia, where she has served since 2002. Her passion lies in helping men and women find the depth of relationship with the Lord Jesus, becoming one with Him.

Montreat Conference CenterRev. Dr. Anne Hilborn, Presbyterian pastor and avid supporter of small membership congregations, has a DMin in Christian spirituality and leadership.” She is subject matter expert and adjunct faculty for the DMin program at South University, where she has written and teaches such courses as “Christian Spiritual Formation,” “Community and Discipleship” and “The Person and Practice of the Ministry Leader.”

Global Engagement Track Leaders

Montreat Conference CenterMarilyn Borst is associate director for Partnership Development of The Outreach Foundation, a Presbyterian mission agency. She works with churches around the United States to help them discern God’s call to global engagement while connecting them to that work alongside the Global Church in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Middle East—a particular area of specialty for her. She travels extensively, nurturing relationships with church leaders, assessing ministry initiatives and leading short-term vision teams. Just within the past five years, her journeys have taken her to Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Oman, Israel/Palestine, Cuba, Pakistan, Russia, Mozambique, Kenya, Rwanda and Malawi. Prior to joining The Outreach Foundation staff, Marilyn served for over 6 years as Director of Global Ministry at Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, where she oversaw the international partnerships of the PC(USA)’s largest congregation in over 33 countries. Marilyn holds a B.A. in Classical Studies from Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI), an M.A. in Art History from Michigan State University, and an M.A. in Theology from St. Thomas University in Houston. She has participated in four archaeological digs in Jordan and Egypt and taught as adjunct faculty at the University of Houston for 20 years. She is an elder at North Avenue Presbyterian in Atlanta.

Montreat Conference CenterCody Watson is associate director for Frontier Fellowship, which just celebrated 35 years as Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship (PFF). Cody engages local churches with areas of the world where Jesus Christ is not yet known. He is also a promoter and coordinator of the course “Perspectives on the World Christian Movement”, which he describes as to best tool for mobilizing the local church. Cody has been on staff for almost 23 years. Before that he served in S Korea as a VIM with the PCUS for 3 years, pastored two small churches in SC for 6 years, then directed the Presbyterian Center for Mission Studies in Pasadena for 3 years. In 1989 he married Talulah Parrish who had been on staff for 15 years with Campus Crusade for Christ and then served a term for 3 years in Bangladesh as mission co-workers with the PCUSA. Prior to joining staff with PFF he was missionary in residence in New Harmony Presbytery, SC. With that historical connection his focus has been on S. Asia, especially N. India where he has been taking groups since 1999. His travels have also taken him to Berlin, Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Central Asia, Turkey, Nepal, Costa Rica and Kenya. He received a BBA from Emory University and the DMin from Columbia Theological Seminary.

Track Descriptions

This year we are offering multiple “tracks,” including the Barnabas track, for conferees to choose. You will be asked to select a track when you register. Once selected, that track will be your focus throughout the conference. We will all be together for plenaries and worship.

Barnabas Track

Barnabas track is a specialized track for pastors and CRE/CLP’s and their spouses who are serving in their first call. The Barnabas Track begins on Sunday, October 15, 2017 with Matt Floding. This will be a highly interactive track seizing for its theme its namesake, Barnabas—“son of encouragement.” Refreshment and resilience will be nurtured throughout. In addition to content and facilitated discussions by Matt, participants will lodge and fellowship together at the William Black Lodge, share in devotions and have opportunities for conversation with new and seasoned pastors. In addition to the main conference registration fee, returning participants will pay $50 for individuals and $75 for couples. There is no additional fee for first time attendees. Led by Matt Floding.

Missional Clustering Track

Essential Principles of Partnering in Mission

Many smaller membership congregations presented with mission opportunities often view these as too large or beyond their ability to engage. So what are they to do? They can address these mission needs and opportunities by networking or partnering with other small membership congregations to meet the mission objectives more effectively. This workshop will offer examples, models, and methods of doing mission through cooperative ministry. It will also provide resources that enable congregations to form missional clusters. Led by Lisa Culpepper and Herb Codington

Spiritual Formation Track

By participating in this track, you will receive both “soul shepherding” and spiritual renewal! Join Anne Hilborn and Marina Gopadze to learn how to make space to hear God’s voice and guidance– and respond to it. You’ll be introduced to along with opportunities to experience, well-known “soul training activities” (spiritual exercises and ancient practices) that will put you on God’s path for Him to transform your life (from the inside out) – and directly impact your discipleship and ministry! Led by Anne Hilborn and Marina Gopadze

Global Engagement Track

See What God is Doing in the World—and Join Him!

We all learned it in school — the way to express exponential growth is by maintaining a constant and multiplying it by itself: 10 to the 1st power equals 10, 10 to the 2nd power equals 100, 10 to the 3rd power equals 1000, etc. Seemingly small numbers quickly begin to reflect larger realities. Far from being inessential in the enormous work of global mission, the smaller church, by enlarging its vision can also compound its capacity for engagement and play a significant role in fulfilling the Great Commission and completing the task so that, one day, “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord….” This track will expand your perspective on how God is at work in the world and point to ways in which churches of any size can join Him in that work through our acts of faithful discipleship, keeping in mind, that, when God does the math, small equals big! Topics include:

  • What in the World in God Doing Today?
  • Healthy Partnerships: Principals and Models
  • Preparing for Short Term Mission
  • Adopting an Unreached People Group
  • Taking Next Steps to Connect with God’s Big Mission

Led by Marilyn Borst and Cody U. Watson.

Retreat Track

Many people come to Montreat’s Wee Kirk Conference simply to enjoy the fellowship of other believers in the beauty of Montreat. To encourage this, we have created a special “retreat track” that includes all the worship and plenary presentations with abundant time for prayer, recreation, fellowship, and spiritual renewal.