Our Only Hope: A Review of the 2019 For the Church Annual Conference

by Ronni Kurtz September 25, 2019

Every institution has their rhythms. Theological and educational institutions are no different. Every year there exists consistent patterns—students come and go, grades are due, tests are taken, convocation and commencement bookend predictable semesters. One rhythm rooted in the life of Midwestern Seminary is the annual For the Church National Conference. For two days in September, pastors and ministry leaders ascend upon Kansas City in hopes to feast on the goodness and grace of God in the form of conference sermons, breakouts, panels, and fellowship with one another. What we have seen in six years of providing this conference is simple, Jesus is good to his people.

Each year, over a thousand stories come together. In one space, the Daniel Lee Chapel, there are stories of frailty and victory, of turmoil and triumph, of sorrow and joy. Attendees sit for two days with a thousand visual reminders that they are not alone in the glorious and tiring work of loving God and his people. Year after year we bear witness that the grace of Jesus has a word for each of those thousand stories whether it be a word to the lamenting or the laughing.

The 2019 For the Church National Conference was no different: friends came, the word was preached, hearts were filled, God was glorified, and we were all reminded that Christ is indeed our only hope.

For those who were not able to attend, we’ve gathered some of our favorite quotes from the six gospel-laced conference sermons.


Dr. Jason Allen | Christ and Discipleship

– “In the Christian life, discipleship is a life and death struggle.”

– “I wonder if we may have something missing in contemporary Evangelism if we have a generation of churchgoers who have never experienced the fear of the Lord.”

– “Life in Christ is a life of bearing fruit.”

– “In Evangelicalism, we’ve grown accustomed to the air of decisionism…but Jesus is asking, ‘What is happening in your inner man?’”


Dr. Crawford Loritts | Christ and Courage

– “You’re not going to make it in life and ministry if you don’t learn how to get a handle on discouragement. You have got to build up a capacity to take a punch.”

– “It is important not to be passive when you get discouraged. You must take the initiative to own your choices, rather than your circumstances owning you.”

– “You’ll find in ministry you had better learn how to look in the mirror and preach some of your finest sermons.”  

– “Our joy and rejoicing have to be independent of our circumstances.”

– “You are never, and you will never be, as great as the way God uses you.”


Dr. Owen Strachan | Christ and Culture

– “The Devil became a serpent to kill us, but God became a man to save us.”

– “Jesus has taken the worst possible thing­­—death—and has made it the passageway to the greatest possible thing—heaven.”

– “Penal substitutionary atonement is how Christ’s victory over the devil was accomplished.”

– “The Son wanted to help you before you knew you needed help.”

– “Our chief means of engaging culture is Christ and his cross.”

– “Beauty is one of our most powerful apologetic tools in this world.”


Dr. J.D. Greear | Christ and Mission

– “The Word of God commands what to do but also gives you the power to do it.”

– “Without the preached Word of God, there can be no faith.”

– “The privilege of receiving the gospel comes with the responsibility to share the gospel.”

– “A lot of factors determine where you choose a job. Why shouldn’t the largest of all those factors be the Kingdom of God?”

– “Those of us who send should be every bit as committed to the work as those who go.”


Dr. Tony Merida | Christ and the Church

– “I can’t think of anything better in the world right now than that almighty God is not opposed to us. He is for us.”

– “The cross is the ongoing proof that God is for us.”

– “The Savior, at this moment, has you as the subject of his intercessory prayers.”

– “Jesus is more committed to you than you are to him. That is the basis of our assurance.”

– “If you devote your life to preaching Christ, you will never run out of material.”

– “When our tank is empty, we remember the tomb is empty.”


Jared Wilson | Christ: Our Only Hope

– “Those of you in seminary, you do not find unshakeable security in academia, but in Adonai.”

– “Christ will not become our only hope until he is our only hope.”

– “Christ did not say, ‘Come to me all you who are in need self-improvement, and I will give you steps.’”

– “Pastors wither, ministries fade, but the name of the Lord lasts forever.”


This year’s conference, like the years before, was a testimony to God’s grace. For two days we reveled together in the glorious reality that Christ is our only hope. We are beyond thankful to all who came out for this year’s annual conference and already eagerly await next year’s reunion. Be on the lookout for the videos of this year’s talks as well as information regarding next year’s conference.

Until then, we sit in awe of Christ, our only hope.