Forming Future Leaders for the Church Conference

How can seminaries and undergraduate programs partner to shape leaders for the church?

April 17-18, 2024 | Nashotah House

Seminaries and undergraduate programs play important roles in the formation of future pastors and lay leaders. Although these institutions teach students at different stages in their education, they share many of the same aspirations for their graduates. How can seminaries and undergraduate institutions rally around these common goals and work together to shape leaders for the church?

Hosted on the beautiful and historic campus of Nashotah House Theological Seminary, the Forming Future Leaders for the Church Conference will explore this question. The conference will gather leaders from undergraduate programs and seminaries to help identify shared goals and opportunities for collaboration. 

Participants will include faculty and leaders from undergraduate programs, undergraduate ministries, and seminaries. 

Table Groups

At conferences, more time is typically spent listening to presenters than talking with colleagues. The Forming Future Leaders for the Church Conference will flip the script. Participants will spend most of their time in table groups talking and learning from each other. Through those discussions, participants will develop relationships and explore ways to partner for the sake of the future leaders of the church. 

Table group discussions will be guided by a backward design methodology. Backward design envisions formation by first identifying our shared goals and second how we can achieve those goals together. For those working in institutions that form leaders for ministry, it’s an encouragement to consider the purpose behind all that we do for our students.


Registration details

A $90 registration fee covers the two-day conference and meals.




Want to stay on the Nashotah House campus during the conference? Please submit a request for campus housing. On-campus housing is limited. Please consider booking a room at a local hotel. If you would prefer on-campus housing you will be notified two weeks before the event of availability.

Nashotah House also has relationships with several local hotels that allow our guests to book rooms at discounted rates. Let the hotel know you are with Nashotah House when booking your room.


Meet Our Presenters

The conference will feature leaders in ministry and higher education.

  • The Rt. Rev. Dr. Justin Holcomb

    The Rt. Rev. Dr. Justin S. Holcomb was ordained and consecrated as the fifth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida on June 10, 2023. He was elected at a special diocesan convention Jan. 14, 2023.

    Prior to serving as bishop, Holcomb served as Canon for Vocations for the Diocese of Central Florida since 2013. He was ordained deacon and priest in 2006 in the Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, formerly known as Episcopal Church of Sudan.

    Bishop Holcomb has taught theology and apologetics at numerous seminaries since 2000 and has written or edited more than 20 books on abuse, theology, and biblical studies. Prior to serving in the Diocese of Central Florida, he was a professor at the University of Virginia, served as a priest at a parish in the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, was an executive director of an interdenominational ministry, served as the Director of Graduate Ministries at the Center for Christian Study (Charlottesville, VA), and held various other ministry positions.

  • The Rev. Dr. Amy Peeler

    The Rev. Amy Peeler, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College, Illinois, and an Associate Rector at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Geneva, Illinois. Author of Women and Gender of God (Eerdmans, 2022), “You Are My Son”: The Family of God in the Epistle to the Hebrews (T&T Clark, 2014), and co-author with Patrick Gray of Hebrews: An Introduction and Study Guide (T&T Clark, 2020), she continues to research, write, and speak on Hebrews and familial language in the New Testament.

    She received her BA in Biblical Languages from Oklahoma Baptist University, M. Div. and Ph. D. in New Testament from Princeton Theological Seminary, and served as a Senior Research Fellow with the Logos Institute at the University of St. Andrews. She is an active member of the Institute for Biblical Research, Society of Biblical Literature, and a Fellow with the Center for Pastor Theologians. Her current research includes a commentary on Hebrews with Eerdmans. In addition to teaching, preaching, and writing, Rev. Dr. Peeler enjoys running, CrossFit, and time with her husband Lance, a church organist and liturgical scholar, and their three children.

  • Dr. Ed Smither

    Dr. Ed Smither is Dean of the College of Intercultural Studies and Professor of Intercultural Studies and History of Global Christianity at Columbia International University.

    Smither joined the CIU faculty in 2012. Previously, he taught church history and intercultural studies at Liberty University (2006-2012) and spent fourteen years in intercultural ministry in North Africa, France, and the USA. Smither enjoys studying and teaching theology and history of Christian mission. He serves as Vice President of the Evangelical Missiological Society and editor of the Journal of EMS.

    Since 1999, Smither has been married to Shawn and together they parent three wonderful children—Brennan, Emma, and Eve. He enjoys road biking (the kind you pedal) the back roads of northwest Columbia, listening to really old hymns and modern rock, and suffering as a Washington football fan.

  • The Rev. Dr. Wesley Hill

    The Rev. Dr. Wesley Hill is associate professor of New Testament at Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan, and an assisting priest at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His PhD in New Testament is from Durham University in the UK.

    He is the author of Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality (Zondervan, second edition 2016), Paul and the Trinity: Persons, Relations, and the Pauline Letters (Eerdmans, 2015), Spiritual Friendship: Finding Love in the Church as a Celibate Gay Christian (Brazos, 2015), and The Lord’s Prayer: A Guide to Praying to Our Father (Lexham, 2019). A contributing editor for Comment magazine, he writes regularly for Christianity Today, The Living Church, and other publications.

  • Ms. Theresa Wilson

    Theresa Wilson is the director of St. Francis’s Louisville Fellows Program, a leadership development program for recent college graduates forming them as marketplace and ministry leaders committed to enriching the culture of our city. Before moving to Louisville, Theresa served as the Executive Director of The Nashville Fellows Program for almost five years.

    Her passion for young adult leadership development began when she worked for a college in Birmingham, AL, in the student life department. It was during this time she realized she wanted to pursue a graduate degree that would enable her to engage in leadership development of college students and young adults long-term. Thus, she ended up pursuing an M.A. in Leadership from Denver Seminary with a focus in Student Affair in Higher Education through Colorado State University. The marrying of these two educational experiences has prepared her well to lead a Fellows program, as well as the experiences she had working in higher education at Colorado Heights University and the University of North Texas. Theresa is married to Fr. Clint Wilson, and they have a rambunctious 4-year-old son, James, and a tolerant 11-year-old dog, Denver.

  • The Rev. Dr. Paul Wheatley

    The Rev. Dr. Paul Wheatley is the Assistant Professor of New Testament and Greek at Nashotah House. Wheatley joined Nashotah House in 2020 and teaches courses in New Testament, early Christianity, and Greek.

    His research and teaching interests center on the overlap of liturgy, preaching, and scriptural exegesis in early Judaism and Christianity. This research is currently focused on the Gospels, especially Mark, as well as projects on ritual and liturgy in the New Testament, Biblical interpretation in early Judaism and Christianity, Ancient Apocryphal Acts, and the organization of knowledge in Biblical manuscripts. In his teaching, he wants students to learn to encounter and preach the New Testament as a development of the inherited tradition of the Jewish Scriptures and the earliest Christian proclamation. In 2022, he completed his dissertation at the University of Notre Dame on the role of baptismal imagery in the Gospel of Mark. He has given lectures and papers at international conferences on Biblical Studies and early Christianity in Boston, Denver, San Diego, Oxford, Rome, and Helsinki, and he is preparing several articles for publication in peer-reviewed journals. He is a regular contributor to the Covenant blog of The Living Church.

  • Dr. Garwood Anderson

    Dr. Garwood Anderson has been a member of the Nashotah House faculty since 2007 and has served as Dean since 2017.

    Before coming to Nashotah House, Anderson was on the faculty of Asbury Theological Seminary (Orlando, Florida, campus) from 2002 to 2007. He has also taught as a visiting professor at Bethel Theological Seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Reformed Theological Seminary, and the West African Theological Seminary in Lagos, Nigeria. Prior to his academic career, he served for seventeen years on the campus staff of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (1984-2001), where he ministered on numerous college campuses, including as the Divisional Director for Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, for eleven years.

    A committed teacher and frequent retreat speaker, Anderson was recognized with Asbury Theological Seminary’s 2006-2007 Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award. Anderson’s research interests center especially on narrative approaches to reading the gospels, the parables of Jesus, Pauline soteriology, and the theological appropriation of the New Testament.

Conference Schedule

Wednesday, April 17

  • 12:30-1:30 P.M.
    Lunch and Registration

  • 1:45-2:45 P.M.
    Dr. Ed Smither, “Connecting to Calling and the Place of the Church"

  • 2:45-3:30 P.M.
    Table Group Session 1

  • 3:30-4:15 P.M.
    Ms. Theresa Wilson, “Transforming Young Adults and Strengthening the Local Church"

  • 4:30-5:15 P.M.

  • 5:30-6:30 P.M.

  • 6:30-7:15 P.M.
    The Rt. Rev. Dr. Justin Holcomb

  • 7:15-8:00 P.M.
    Table Group Session 2

Thursday, April 18

  • 7:45-8:30 A.M.
    Morning Prayer/Eucharist

  • 8:30-9:30 A.M.

  • 9:30-10:15 A.M.
    Table Group Session 3

  • 10:15-11:00 A.M.
    Panel Discussion: “The Role of Scripture in the Formation of Leaders"

  • 11:00-11:45 A.M.
    Table Group Session 4

  • 11:45 A.M.-12:30 P.M.
    Dr. Garwood Anderson

  • 12:30-1:30 P.M.

  • 1:30-2:15 P.M.
    Table Group Session 5

  • 2:15-3:00 P.M.
    Open Mic Q&A

Questions about the conference?

Contact our Hospitality and Events Coordinator, Joy Wint, at or 262-646-6530 with questions about the event.

The Forming Future Leaders for the Church Conference is made possible by funding from the Association of Theological Schools’ Moving Forward in Mission grant program.