The EPC endeavors to create a culture that supports leadership development for all ministries of the church, and our sixth annual Leadership Institute is designed to encourage you and offer practical ways to further that mission.

Because of the hybrid nature of the 41st General Assembly, this year’s Leadership Institute will feature three plenary speakers whose presentations will be available via live stream. Four ministry-specific leadership development gatherings (but open to all GA attendees) will be held on Tuesday, though these will not be available to virtual participants. Times listed below are subject to change.

Plenary Speakers
Chaplains Workshop
Creating Church Planting Networks
Transitional Pastor Training
World Outreach: The Israel of God



Tuesday, June 22
Time: 9:45 a.m.–4:00 p.m. (Central)
Location: Sanctuary

Our Tuesday keynote speaker is Ligon Duncan, Chancellor and CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary. He will address the topic of “Combating Biblical Anemia in Scripture, Discipleship, Worship, and Preaching.” He will spend approximately one hour on each of these areas, with 15-minute breaks between each as well as a lunch break.

Ligon Duncan

Chancellor and CEO
Reformed Theological Seminary
Jackson, Mississippi


Wednesday, June 23
Time: 9:30–11:30 a.m. (Central)
Location: Sanctuary

George W. Robertson serves as Senior Pastor of Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tennessee. He earned his baccalaureate degree from Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia; his Master in Divinity and Master in Theology degrees from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri; and his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Historical and Theological Studies from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Before coming to Second, he served as Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Augusta, Georgia; Pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, and as lecturer/adjunct professor at Covenant Theological Seminary. He currently serves as a council member for The Gospel Coalition.

His topic is “Soul Care for Pastors,” which will be followed by a time of question-and-answer.

All Sanctuary sessions will be live streamed to via the EPC website and GA smartphone app.

Geroge Robertson

Senior Pastor
Second Presbyterian Church
Memphis, Tennessee


Wednesday, June 23
Time: 1:30–3:00 p.m.
Location: Sanctuary

Rufus Smith has served as Senior Pastor of Hope Church in Memphis, Tennessee, since 2013. Under his leadership, the EPC’s largest congregation has transitioned from a predominantly Caucasian to a vibrant, multi-ethnic church with 30% of members now being people of color. In 2016, he founded the Memphis Christian Pastor’s Network (MCPN), an ethnically and denominationally diverse consortium of 67 Memphis-area pastors that seeks to “bridge the trust gap” between pastors by way of candid conversation, supplication, and social interaction—all outside of church walls. He also serves as Co-chairman of the EPC’s Revelation 7:9 Task Force.

Prior to Hope Church, for 12 years he served as Senior Pastor of The City of Refuge EPC in Houston, Texas—also an interracial, intergenerational, biblically centered and socially active fellowship. He founded the Forge for Families (FFF), a community development center designed to empower the under-resourced in the greater 3rd Ward community of Houston. Under his leadership, FFF built a $6.4 million, 40,000 square-foot campus, debt-free. He served as the Lead Chaplain for the NBA Houston Rockets for three years.

He and his wife of 36 years, Jacqueline, have three adult children, all of whom work in Memphis with under-resourced children.

His plenary message will be on “Kindness that Leads to Reconciliation.” He and his team will then report on the work of the Revelation 7:9 Task Force, which will include a time for Q-and-A.

Rufus Smith

Senior Pastor
Hope Church
Memphis, Tennessee


Tuesday, June 22
Time: 8:45 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (Central)
Location: E2139 (Campus Map, Section E)

As in past years, the 2021 Chaplains Workshop is open to all GA Attendees. This year’s guest speaker is Mike Berry, General Counsel for First Liberty Institute, who will lead our two morning segments:

1. Why Religious Freedom Matters and What Our Nation’s Founders Intended. The focus of this section will be a discussion of what the Founding Fathers intended when they drafted the first amendment, and why they wanted to protect religious freedom.
2. Threats to Religious Freedom and What We Can Do to Protect It. With the continuing erosion of Christian values and norms within American society, there have been growing challenges to the religious freedom that we have enjoyed as a nation, as Teaching Elders, and as individuals. This portion will focus on these issues, what the future may hold, and ways we can stand up to those who would want to take away or water down our religious liberties.

The afternoon segment will be led by EPC Chaplain Endorser Mark Ingles:

3. Ministry in the Midst of COVID-19. The year 2020 through to today has been challenging for all ministers of the gospel. Whether a chaplain or pastor, the pandemic has caused us to “throw out the book” on the norms of ministry and become creative in how we do the work of the Lord. This portion will include extensive time to learn from each other by sharing our experiences, successes, challenges, disappointments, and failures. We also will discuss how some of the changes we made over the past 12 months may—or will—continue into the foreseeable future.

Mike Berry

General Counsel
First Liberty Institute
Plano, Texas

Mark Ingles

Chaplain Endorser
EPC Office of the General Assembly
Orlando, Florida


Tuesday, June 22
Time: 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. (Central)
Location: C310 (Campus Map, Section C)

Creating pathways for effective church planting is not a “one size fits all proposition.” Learn how to partner with other churches in your presbytery and region to establish healthy, long-term effective church planting practices!

Tom Ricks serves as Lead Pastor of Greentree Community Church in Kirkland, Missouri, and leads the EPC Church Planting Team.

Tom Ricks

Lead Pastor
Greentree Community Church
Kirkwood, Missouri



This year’s Transitional Pastor training event will not be held at GA, but watch for similar workshops in your presbytery. Contact Bob Stauffer at  or (330) 559-7955 for information about hosting a Transitional Pastor training workshop at your presbytery.

Bob Stauffer serves as Regional Church Development Coordinator for the EPC’s Presbytery of the Alleghenies and is a Transitional Ministry Specialist with the GO Center of the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic.

Bob Stauffer

Church Development Coordinator, Presbytery of the Alleghenies
Transitional Ministry Specialist, GO Center

Sharon, Pennsylvania


Tuesday, June 22
Time: 1:30–5:00 p.m. (Central)
Location: E2111—Youth Lounge (Campus Map, Section E)

In the missional outreach of the church to the Muslim world, one of many challenging issues is the state of Israel and its longstanding territorial dispute with Palestinians. The political conflict involves a complex history that is far from resolution, even more than 70 years following the establishment of the state of Israel. The evangelical Church is committed to Israel—sensing a spiritual kinship that has led to financial and political support—which further complicates the Church’s missional outreach in and to the Muslim world. The purpose of this seminar is to revisit the identity of Israel in the biblical narrative (apart from contemporary political considerations). We will examine God’s purposes for His covenant people as revealed in Scripture, and seek wisdom as to how Christ’s church should respond with compassion and justice to both Israelis and Arabs.

Mike Kuhn serves as Missional Theology Specialist for EPC World Outreach’s International Theological Education Network (ITEN). For more than 28 years, he lived in three different Arab countries: Morocco, Egypt, and Lebanon, where he served as Professor of Biblical Theology and Discipleship at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Beirut from 2012-2018. He also served in France.

He holds a B.A. from Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi; an M.A. from the American University in Cairo, Egypt; an M.Div. from Reformed Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in Muslim-Christian Relations from the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies in Oxford, U.K. Kuhn is the author of Fresh Vision for the Muslim World, designed to help American Christians understand on-the-ground realities in the Muslim and Arab world in the post 9/11 environment.

He and his wife, Stephanie, have three daughters, two sons-in-law, and seven grandchildren.

Mike Kuhn

Missional Theology Specialist
International Theological Education Network (EPC World Outreach)
Orlando, Florida

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