2017 Advance Global Leadership Week

2017 Advance Global Leadership Week

Monday, June 12, 2017 - Friday, June 16, 2017

Location: Covenant Life Church, 7501 Muncaster Mill Rd., Gaithersburg, MD US 20877

Join us!

You are warmly invited to our 2017 Advance Global Leadership Week (June 12th - 16th), where hundreds of church leaders from five continents will enjoy God’s presence, and continue to be equipped and motivated for Christ's mission in our generationJoin PJ Smyth and the Advance team, and guest speaker Andrew Wilson for what promises to be a great week!

Lead Couples and International guests are invited to our Lead Couples Gathering Monday, June 12th - Tuesday 13th, with the rest of our Advance friends from around North America joining us at our All-Leaders Conference June 14-16th.


Registration costs cover all meals, conference amenities and refreshments throughout the event. Lodging is not included in registration, but for a list of local lodging options, please scroll down to the Lodging section on this page.

Lead Couples Gathering | June 12 - 13

Lead Couples of partner churches (including site leaders), and those exploring partnership, are warmly invited to gather from 3pm Monday 12th June through to 9pm Tuesday 13th June. You are encouraged to bring along up to three couples (total of six individuals) who are key elders/leaders in your church. Please select the registration option that covers both the Lead Couples Gathering (Mon-Tues) as well as our All Leaders Conference (Wed-Fri).

All Leaders Conference | June 14 - 16

All elders, staff, and leaders at any level are warmly invited to join us at our All Leaders Conference 9am June 14th to 1pm June 16th, 2017.

Early - Bird Pricing

Early-Bird pricing ends April 1, with registration for all tickets closing May 1, 2017.



Lodging | Lead Couples Gathering

For our International Guests and Lead Couples who will be here for the entire week, please book here: 


Lodging | All Leaders Conference

Below is a list of accommodation options in the area that have been suggested by the host church:

SpringHill Suites Gaithersburg
9715 Washingtonian Blvd.
Gaithersburg MD 20878
Current Room Rate: $139.00 night
6.2 miles from Covenant Life Church

Hampton Inn & Suites
960 N. Frederick Avenue
Gaithersburg, MD 
Current room rate: $134.00 night
4.6 miles from Covenant Life Church; a 12-minute drive
Holiday Inn Gaithersburg
2 Montgomery Village Avenue
Gaithersburg, MD 
Current room rate: $138.00 night
3.9 miles from Covenant Life Church; a 9-minute drive
Hyatt House, Gaithersburg
200 Skidmore Blvd.
Gaithersburg, MD 
Current room rate: $144.00
3.5 miles from Covenant Life Church; an 11-minute drive


  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport: 29 miles from Gaithersburg
  • Washington Dulles International Airport: 32 miles from Gaithersburg
  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport: 40 Miles from Gaithersburg 

Vehicle Rental

As this is primarily a “non residential” conference, we would like to ask that you take full responsibility for your own transportation plans over the time of the conference, unless your registration package states otherwise (Lead Couples and International Guests, this will be handled when you purchase your tickets and fill out your registration).

If you are looking to rent a vehicle, we recommend you confirm vehicle availability at the airport where you are landing before you purchase your ticket.


We will not be offering a children's program for this event. An Infant Care Room will be available for those mothers bringing nursing infants. The live video feed from our main sessions will be available so that mother's can stay connected while in the Infant Care Room.

2017 Theme | Through the Church...

...So that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places (Eph 3:10).

What a claim. What dignity God affords the church. And what a responsibility we have to join in God’s purpose through the church in our generation. Through The Church is the theme of our 2017 Advance Global Leadership Week. You are warmly invited to join with hundreds of church leaders from five continents to enjoy God’s presence in the church (Eph 2:22) and to get better equipped for his mission... Through. The. Church. 

Main Session Speakers


PJ Smyth

Twenty-two years of marriage and three sons later, PJ and Ash give lead to the Advance Movement of churches. You can contact PJ at  .

Andrew Wilson

Andrew is a pastor and writer, with theology degrees from Cambridge (MA), London School of Theology (MTh), and King’s College London (PhD). He is a columnist for Christianity Today, and has written several books, most recently The Life We Never Expected and Unbreakable. Andrew is married to Rachel and they have three children: Zeke, Anna and Samuel.

Alan Frow

Alan moved to the United States from South Africa in 2007 and is currently the lead pastor of Southlands Church in Orange County, California. Alan and his wife Rynelle have spent time investing in churches, leaders and musicians for the past 20 years. Alan has pastored churches around the world and his passion for both worship and theology make him a great gift to the church!

Donnie Griggs

Donnie is the founding pastor of One Harbor Church in Morehead City, NC and the author of Small Town Jesus. Donnie is married to Jill, and is the proud father of two boys, Jedidiah Owen and Wyatt Jude.  Donnie’s passion, among other things, is to see churches in small towns and rural areas equipped and empowered to radically engage culture and make disciples. Additionally, Donnie grew up in and around salt water and continues to pray that God would give him gills. Connect with Donnie on Twitter or at www.smalltownjesus.com.

Brian Barr

Brian is married to Rachel and they have four children. Brian helped start OneLife Church in 2008 and has been serving as the lead pastor since then. Brian’s primary responsibilities include oversight of preaching, leadership development,  and vision.

Day 1 Breakouts

Politics and Religion: Matt Hosier

In a world increasingly cynical about both politics and religion how should Christians think and act? Is there a 'Christian' approach to politics at all? This session will provide a framework for thinking about politics from a Christian perspective and look at how we can avoid some pitfalls.

Discipleship and Millenials: Brett & Kira McCracken

What are the unique challenges and opportunities that come with discipling Millennials today? How can churches engage, empower and motivate this passionate but sometimes restless demographic, helping them see the beauty of commitment, faithfulness, holiness and a long obedience in the same direction? In this breakout, Brett and Kira McCracken of Southlands (Brea, Calif.) share from their experiences of discipling and seeing growth among Millennials in their sphere.

Recruiting and Retaining Volunteers: Stephen Jack

Bill Hybels states that the potential of your church lies not in the X factor of the paid pastors and staff but in the effective mobilisation of your Y factor, the volunteer force.    How do you have over 80% of your church is actively involved in areas of serving?   How do you recruit them and then having recruited them how do you retain them?   This seminar will look at effective tools to create a culture of willing, joyful serving that will seek to equip leaders in every area of church life.  

Song Writing: Sam & Becki Cox

We see throughout the scripture all the evidence that our faith has been a 'sung faith' through the ages and in eternity to come. It’s clearly a big topic! But how do we feel about singing when situated in this post modern, post-Christendom culture of 2017? How do we faithfully write songs that serve our communities and the advance of God’s kingdom? With lots of practical thoughts on songwriting and the 'hows and whys', Sam and Becki draw on their experience to answer some of these questions and more.

Non Staff Elders: Alan Frow

With our vision for ongoing church multiplication and market place impact, the need for elders and wives with a market place call is vital. While we have a compelling Biblical example in Priscilla and Aquila, how should sustainability, health, and development look for church leaders who also carry a market place call in the 21st century? Join us to explore this complex and valuable call.

Life on Life Discipleship: Doug Fell

Discipleship is the most costly, glorious, messy, rewarding, frustrating, stretching, enthralling, time-consuming, disappointing, miraculous journey of walking with people as they become more devoted followers of Jesus. There are few things more essential than having a biblical and effective strategy for making disciples. Come and join in the discussion as we learn from Jesus and each other.

Thrills and Spills of Church Planting: Pete & Nicky Cornford and Sheshi & Trudie Kaniki

An honest, inspiring session on the highs and lows of church planting. Biblical teaching and practicals tips on the most effective way to reach people with the gospel. Armchair Christians stay away!

Day Two Breakouts

Controversy Through a Wide Lens: Andrew Wilson

When issues are pastorally and theologically difficult we go to one or two texts to settle the matter; in the long run it may be more helpful to paint a big picture of why the biblical view is the most helpful for human flourishing. Taking sexuality as a case study this session will involve plenty of interaction and Q & A.

Administrating the Church: Ryan TerMorshuizen and Louise Gibbon

In this breakout we’ll be looking at the key elements of the behind-the-scenes systems, strategies and structures that help to make every church more effective in its ministry and mission pursuits. This session will be brilliant for either key volunteers or paid staff who have a heart for making things work.

Communications and Media: Ryan Marshall & Erik Santiago

Announcements are usually the time when people get up to go to the bathroom between worship and the sermon. What a shame. Look, you probably have your strengths...social media, website, your bulletin or maybe it is announcements...or maybe they all stink. You're not alone.  But are you satisfied? Don't be! Join us as we provide every answer to every question you've ever had about church communication. You will be liberated, empowered and it's quite likely that your life will be changed forever. If we've captured you with this description, then we seem to know what we're doing. If not, go to Alan's workshop on leading a Sunday meeting. His description is boring, but it will probably be pretty good. 

Leading a Sunday Meeting: Alan Frow

While much attention has been given to  training  preachers and worship leaders, the vital skill of leading a Sunday gathering is generally an under-trained role. Especially with our values of being doctrinally sound, Spirit-led and seeker sensible, the host of a Sunday gathering needs to be a clear communicator, a warm host, a good delegator and quick thinking risk-taker. This session looks to explore these skills.

Every Member a Missionary: Lex Loizides

Sharing our faith shouldn’t feel like a duty or a burden. We’ve found the greatest news that was ever told! This seminar will examine creative ideas and strategies to share the gospel as an individual and as local congregations. Warning: this breakout will increase your faith and widen your horizons.

Faith at Work - Mbonisi Malaba

Prophetic Ministry: Sam & Marlene Poe

We will discuss the value of prophecy in helping the church discover the direction we should go and where we should invest our energy. We will consider how we can develop biblical attitudes toward prophecy in our churches today.

Growing Churches Numerically: Stephen Jack

This seminar looks at the how and why of growing churches numerically and the different approaches to growth in relation to the churches current age and size. Practical steps to growing both a church plant to the first 100 people through to growing churches from 150 - 300 and then beyond. Led by Stephen Jack, he will share from his own experiences of church leading and planting in Johannesburg.

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