top of page

Looking Forward to what God has in store for YOU at this year's Leadership retreat!


2024 Great Lakes Leadership retreat
April 23-25, 2024
Cedar Lake Ministries
Cedar Lake, IN

Registration Deadline 
April 3, 2024


Leading worship

Great Lakes Leadership Proudly Presents:
Screenshot 2023-03-06 at 9.11.09 AM.png
ABCMI Logo.jpg


The Great Lakes Leadership Retreat consists of the American Baptist Regions of Indiana/Kentucky, Great Rivers, Michigan, and Ohio are coming together for a Multi-Regional Summit from April 23-25, 2024 to provide an opportunity for church leaders to be equipped in the foundational skills necessary to develop mission-centric congregations today.




Fresh Expressions is an international movement cultivating new kinds of church alongside existing congregations to engage with post-Christian society more effectively. Begun in 2004 in the UK, the movement has resulted in scores of new communities of faith and has brought renewal to established churches. Fresh Expressions has spread to nearly a dozen countries around the world.  In 2012, the movement began taking shape in the US.  Today, we work with nearly 70 denominational partners across the church in both the US and Canada.






                                   Tuesday, April 23


                                                2:00-4:30pm  Arrival

                                                5:00pm  Dinner

                                                6:30pm.  Session 1:“From Steeple to Street: Coming Together to Be Sent On Mission”

                                                8:30pm  Free Time


                             Wednesday, April 24


                                               8:00am  Breakfast

                                               9:00am.  Session 2: “Releasing the Whole People of God: 

                                                                                 Restoring the Apostolicity of the Church for an Era of Mission”

                                              11:00am  Free Time

                                              12:00pm  Lunch

                                              1:00pm  Session 3:“Growing New Followers of Jesus in a Post-Church Age: 

                                                                              How to Make Disciples When the Wind is Against Us”

                                              3:00pm  Free Time

                                              5:00pm  Dinner

                                              6:30pm  Breakout Session

                                              8:00pm  Free Time


                            Thursday April 25


                                             8:00am  Breakfast

                                             9:00am  Session 4: “Renewing Church from the Outside In:  

                                                                              Paths of Vitality for Rural and Urban Churches (and everyone in between)”

                                            11:00am.  Free Time

                                            12:00pm  Lunch

                                            1:00pm  Departure

Coaching Cohort Opportunities Following the Summit:


Coaching is a way of partnering with people or teams to help them get from where they are to where they want to be and in the current ministry context, this gap is often quite wide. Coaching:

  • is present and future-focused

  • is action-oriented

  • leverages gifts and strengths

  • helps productively negotiate weaknesses and obstacles

  • maximizes personal and professional potential

  • creates a space that is safe for risk-taking and transformation


Specifically, Fresh Expressions will be conducting a series of 6-month coaching cohorts as a follow-up to the Summit.  Each coaching cohort will involve 4-5 participants in a 90-minute session on a monthly basis.  

Screenshot 2023-06-07 at 10.04.38 AM.png
Core Pillars of Fresh Expressions


Screenshot 2023-03-06 at 9.12.20 AM.png


Chris Backert.jpg

Chris Backert

Working with church leaders to develop new expressions of Christian community is the passion of Chris’s life. In addition to his role as National Director of Fresh Expressions US, he serves with the Baptist General Association of Virginia in the area of growth and venture development. He also serves as National Director for both Ecclesia, a US network of missional churches, as well as Missio Alliance. Previously, he served as pastor of New Life Christian Fellowship, a large university congregation in Blacksburg, Virginia and has been involved in the planting of three new congregations. Chris holds a D.Min. in Missional Church Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary. He lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with wife Rachel, daughter Elliana and son Jase.

Shannon Kiser.jpg

Shannon Kiser

Shannon serves as Director of Training for Fresh Expressions North America, leading our team of mission strategists and trainers in the development and implementation of the Mission Shaped Ministry course through Pioneer Learning Cohorts. She is also a pastor on staff with Riverside Church in Sterling, VA, a Church that worships in two languages and engages in several Fresh Expressions of Church. In the last several years, Shannon has been involved with the Presbyterian Church’s New Worshiping Communities initiative and has directed the coaching network that supports pioneer leaders.


Shannon lives in Springfield, VA with her husband Patrick and daughters Catherine and Suzanne.

Wayne Faison.png

Wayne Faison

Dr. Wayne Faison serves as the Executive Director of the Ascent Movement as well as the Executive Director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia.  In addition to these roles, Wayne also serves as pastor of East End Baptist Church in Suffolk, Virginia. He holds a Doctor of Ministry in Black Church Leadership, as well as a Masters of Divinity in Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth.  The father of two daughters, he lives and serves with his wife Carmen in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Matt Lake.jpg

Matt Lake

Matt serves as the Lead Pastor of the First Church of Williamsport, PA—a county seat congregation in the vast northlands of Pennsylvania - that consists of a mix of traditional and contemporary worship experiences.  First Church also currently hosts a network of fresh expressions called the Acts Network in which people meet in places such as homes, gyms, and coffee shops.  Matt is a graduate of Messiah College and has recently completed a Doctorate of Ministry focusing on Semiotics and Future Studies through Portland Seminary.  Matt has worked with a variety of churches in a consultant role and has a passion to see God’s Kingdom impacted through lives transformed in the love of Jesus Christ.  Matt is deeply in love with his beautiful wife Jennifer and is doing his best to keep up with his three amazing teenagers—Alexandra, Joshua, and Zach.

Lodging Options

There are a few different pricing options for lodging, some include bedding and some require you to bring your own.

  The price for lodging includes food and the retreat costs. 


* Men and women will be housed separately to accommodate the maximum number of participants.


If you are a couple and would like to lodge together, please register for the $35 lodging for each person and then you can find a hotel in town to stay at.  If you have questions, call 517-332-3594. 

Upcoming Events

Apr 23, 2024, 2:00 PM – Apr 25, 2024, 1:00 PM
Cedar Lake,
13701 Lauerman St, Cedar Lake, IN 46303, USA
bottom of page