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Real Ideas open for registration

Real Ideas open for registration

LUTZ – Registration has opened for the Real Ideas Conference at Van Dyke Church, scheduled for March 5-6, 2015.

The conference, aimed at giving church leaders practical ideas for revitalizing their ministries, has been staged at Van Dyke near Tampa for eight years. Last year, more than 600 people from across the southeastern U.S. attended. 

Rev. Matthew Hartsfield preaching
Rev. Matthew Hartsfield of Van Dyke Church will be one of the keynote speakers at Real Ideas 2015. 2013 file photo by Derek Maul.

Revs. Matthew Hartsfield, lead pastor at Van Dyke, and Jorge Acevedo, lead pastor at the multisite Grace Church in southwest Florida, along with staff members work together to offer the event. Both pastors lead congregations recognized as among the most vital in The United Methodist Church.

In addition to Acevedo and Hartsfield, keynote speakers for 2015 will be:

• Rev. Dennis Blackwell of Asbury UMC in Woodlynne, N.J., a designated congregational resource center for Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century, a General Conference initiative. He also is a member of The United Methodist Church’s Judicial Council;

• Rev. Jessica LaGrone, dean of the chapel at Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky;

• Jim and Jennifer Cowart, lead and executive pastors respectively at Harvest UMC in Byron, Ga., a church plant that grew to a weekly attendance of 2,800 during the 13 years of their leadership. 

Rev. Jorge Acevedo headshot
Rev. Jorge Acevedo

More than 50 workshops on topics ranging from reaching millennials and post-millennials to starting specialized ministries to fine-tuning technical aspects of worship will be offered during the two-day conference. For an additional fee, attendees can sign up for a choice among eight preconference workshops during a morning session on March 5.

Early bird prices are $99 for the Real Ideas program alone and $39 for the preconference workshops. After Feb. 6, registration will cost $49 for the preconference session and $139 for the two-day program.

For more information and to register, click here. For questions, email Bill Hoopes at or call (813) 968-3983, ext. 151.