Inspire Speakers Retooling Their Talks
Steve Argue, one of the speakers slated for Inspire 2022, says that hardly anything is the same since the COVID-19 pandemic began nearly two years ago.
“Everything has changed – our research, resourcing, training, assumptions,” said Argue, an associate professor of Youth, Family, and Culture at Fuller Theological Seminary.
“At the same time, the work done with young people has always been aware of young people’s lives in motion.”
Along with other speakers, Argue had planned to address participants of Inspire 2021, but that gathering was postponed until August 2022 because of the pandemic.
In his work, Argue teaches, advises, and studies adolescents and emerging adults, seeking to understand their stories and how their narratives influence the way they navigate the world they have inherited.
Argue said that being attuned to the fluid nature of the lives of young people – the unstoppable process of growing – may be part of what he talks about during his plenary session at Inspire 2022. But, in a way like responding to a virus, he may also need to adapt his message, depending on what is going on at the time.
“Most of our assumptions need to pivot to take on new factors that significantly impact the lives of teenagers and emerging adults,” he said. “As with all avenues for serving young people, we must be vigilant to see them today, not yesterday.”
Featuring plenary presentations, times of worship, and a series of seminars and workshops, Inspire 2022 will take place at the Tinley Park Convention Center near Chicago, Ill., Aug. 4-6, 2022. Registration will open in January 2022.
Another of the presenters will be Ken Shigematsu, an internationally known Canadian speaker and writer.
Shigematsu, senior pastor of Tenth Church in Vancouver, B.C., is the author of Survival Guide for the Soul: How to Flourish Spiritually in a World That Pressures Us to Achieve and God in My Everything: How an Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God.
In his plenary address, Shigematsu had been planning to speak on survival habits for the soul, exploring how we can live with joy and fulfillment in God rather than seeking happiness through being or doing more.
And while he may touch on those ideas, he said, he will also be adapting his message “to fit the context of COVID, which will change as we draw closer to the date.”
A third speaker will be David Zac Niringiye, a retired Anglican bishop from Kampala, Uganda. Niringiye has a Ph.D. in theology and mission history from Edinburgh University and is a senior fellow with INTERFACE, a think tank that addresses how socialization around religion and culture has affected the way we view and engage with ideas in the public square.
In his plenary session, Niringiye had planned to talk about mission in relation to how we interpret and live out the gospel – a message that especially fits with Inspire 2022’s emphasis on “Inspired to Be One.”
A strong supporter of building unity between people, of living out the gospel with others, Niringiye said he will likely still focus on what it takes to seek unity with our neighbors.
“You’ve heard the stories,” he said. “Christianity is growing in Africa. Churches are multiplying every day. On the same continent, poverty is also multiplying. The quality of the lives of the people is not any better.”
In a biographical note, Niringiye added, “The question of the gospel and its implications for social justice is one that has occupied my life and work over the last three decades. I guess this was inevitable, serving in various leadership roles in international and national organizations, focusing attention on the work of the gospel in Africa and Uganda, respectively.”
Additional speakers as well as a line-up of workshops will be announced soon.
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