The Falls Event Center Littleton, CO

Thriving Churches, Thriving Cities

Tuesday, Nov. 13 8:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.



“There is a palpable loneliness…that is intrinsically related to the profession and the stratospheric demands we place on pastors as evangelical Americans.”
– Local ministry leader

“The job descriptions…are generally ‘be like Jesus.’ In the past few months alone, I have been expected to be the best therapist people know, the best preacher people know, the best leader people know, the most productive employee people know.”
– Area church planter

Thriving ministry leaders work from the inside out: they draw on the life of Christ from within, pursue excellence in their craft, and build churches that vibrantly engage their communities. Yet many struggle with increasing complexity in their ministerial roles.

They feel relationally isolated.

They wrestle with an ever-growing list of professional demands.

They struggle to speak to changing cultural norms.

How can we address these challenges and equip ministry leaders to thrive for the sake of their cities, churches, and themselves?

Denver Institute for Faith & Work invites you to “Thriving Churches, Thriving Cities,” an annual event helping church leaders and staff build personal and spiritual health, professional and pastoral excellence, and effective community engagement. Join leaders from across the Front Range for a day of growth, relational connection, and encouragement.

Hear from keynote speaker, author/pastor/counselor Chuck DeGroat and breakout sessions tailored to the needs of both senior leaders and church staff.


Rob Brendle

Denver United Church

Rob sensed God’s call to pioneer Denver United after serving for eight years at New Life Church in Colorado Springs. A civil engineer by training, Rob graduated from Duke University, served as an officer in the U.S. Army, and pursued theological studies at The King’s Seminary. He is the author of In The Meantime: The Practice of Proactive Waiting. Rob and his wife, Mauri, love skiing and mountain biking with their three kids.

Haroun  Cowans

Church in the City / The Fly Fisher Group

Haroun is Chief Real Estate Officer for the Firefly Group and Associate Pastor at Church in the City - Beth Abraham. He has almost 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, commercial banker, and financial professional. His work with NAI Shames Makovsky Real Estate has been instrumental in a number of key redevelopment projects in the Five Points neighborhood, including the revitalization of The Rossonian Hotel, Denver's historic jazz club. He has served on the boards of organizations as diverse as Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Denver African American Philanthropist, and the East Denver YMCA.

Chuck DeGroat

Western Seminary

Chuck is Professor of Counseling and Christian Spirituality at Western Theological Seminary (Holland, MI) and Co-Founder and Senior Fellow at Newbigin House of Studies, San Francisco. He is passionate about spiritual formation for mission. He’s spent 20+ years in a fluid combination of pastoral ministry, seminary teaching, and clinical counseling. He writes about the intersections of psychology, theology, and Christian spirituality…with a focus on our lived experience of oneness and worthiness in Jesus. Chuck was also a teaching pastor at City Church San Francisco, where he co-founded Newbigin House of Studies, an urban and missional training center with M.Div. and M.A. offerings.  He started two church counseling centers, a Lay Counseling Program, and a Fellows program. He is the author of Wholeheartedness: Busyness, Exhaustion, and Healing the Divided Self, Toughest People to Love: How to Understand, Lead, and Love the Difficult People in Your Life—Even Yourself, and Leaving Egypt: Finding God in Wilderness Places. He is currently writing a book about narcissism’s effect on the local church.

Nathan Hoag

Sacred Grace Englewood

Nathan has called Colorado home for most of his life and values the outdoors as he climbs, skis, and mountain bikes whenever time allows. Nathan is a graduate of Denver Seminary and ordained in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Nathan has worked part-time for Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey since 2013.  He was on staff at Cherry Hills Community Church from 2011 - 2015 and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Denver Rescue Mission. Nathan and his wife Julie are foster, biological, and adoptive parents. They believe in making a deep and lasting impact in their neighborhood and seeing lives change at the ground level. Nathan is a big fan of the craft-everything movement in Denver and cares way too much about how his coffee is roasted.

Jason Janz


Jason and his wife Jen have four boys and live in the Whittier neighborhood. Jason has a Masters degree in Theology and has worked as a pastor since 1996. He enjoys the mountains, leadership, reading, and being with his family. His burdens include helping the poor, developing leadership, and world missions. He has lived in Denver long enough to remember when Elitch’s was on 38th Avenue, the Nuggets played at McNichols, and the cash register building was brand new. He serves as the Chairman of the Board of CrossPurpose.

Marcy McGovern

Edward Jones

As a native of Denver, Marcy McGovern encompasses a deep seeded heart for the city of Denver and its people. Following two decades serving in nonprofit organizations in the Denver area, she now hangs her hat as a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones. Participating in events and gatherings with Denver Institute for Faith and Work for nearly 10 years, her passion for nonprofit organizations, faith in Jesus Christ and the intersection of faith and work fuels her energy and skills on the Board of Directors. Marcy has a BS from Colorado State University and a Master's in Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver. In her free time you will find Marcy skiing, biking, serving at Redeemer Community Church and spending time with her nieces and nephew.

Linda Olson

City of Englewood

Linda has served as a City Council member for the city of Englewood since 2009 and assumed the role of mayor earlier this year. She is known for her collaborative leadership style and the relationships she has forged with the nonprofit and faith communities. In addition to her work as a civil servant, she serves as Executive Director of Learning Communities and Civic Engagement at the University of Denver and as Faculty Director of the school’s Pioneer Leadership Program. She has a PhD from the University of Denver, and an MEd and BA from the University of Minnesota.

Michelle Warren

Christian Community Development Association

Michelle is the Advocacy and Strategic Engagement Director for the Christian Community Development Association. She has been working in Christian community development for 24 years utilizing her skills as an educator, non-profit manager and public policy specialist. Michelle is an adjunct faculty member at Denver Seminary teaching, Political Advocacy, Doing Justice in the Public Square. Michelle is a part of the Evangelical Immigration Table and helps consult for the National Immigration Forum, a non-partisan, DC-based immigration advocacy organization as the Western Regional Consultant for their Bibles, Badges & Business campaign. She is the author of The Power of Proximity: Moving Beyond Awareness to Action. Michelle received her Master's in Public Administration from the University of Colorado. She is married to David Warren, Executive Director of Open Door Ministries. They live in Denver with their three children, 21, 18 and 15.

Darius Wise

Red Rocks Credit Union

Darius Wise is the executive vice president and COO of Red Rocks Credit Union. Darius works as a visionary leader whose work stretches far into the communities around him. Before working in the business sector, Darius spent more than 17 years in pastoral ministry and leadership. He has previously served as the director of Upstream Impact, a nonprofit that seeks to help families in the Denver area escape poverty and pursue their dreams. He currently serves on the board of directors for Denver Institute For Faith & Work.

Brad Strait

Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church

Brad Strait Dr. Strait is Senior Pastor at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in Englewood. With over 25 years of pastoral experience, he has taught all over the world and currently serves as an Associate Professor at Denver Seminary in Leadership and Spiritual Formation. His energetic faith pushes though the cracks of real-life sidewalks: he was a grief counselor on scene after the Columbine High School and Aurora Theater shootings, in south India after the 2004 Tsunami, and in refugee camps of Central America. Brad has served as Chaplain for several police and fire departments, the Colorado House of Representatives, and the Denver Rescue Mission. His passion is to push people toward a deeper relationship with the incarnational Jesus, especially as this applies to prayer, missional living and world Christianity.


General Admission

Tuesday November 13 8:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

$80 USD/Ticket


Group of 4 ($40 savings)

We will provide a discount code group members can use to RSVP

Tuesday November 13 8:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

$280 USD/Ticket


Table of 8 ($80 Savings)

We will provide a discount code group members can use to RSVP

Tuesday November 13 8:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

$560 USD/Ticket


Student Ticket

For currently enrolled college or graduate students

Tuesday November 13 8:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

$40 USD/Ticket



KEYNOTE: Wholeheartedness in Church Leadership

“I’m being pulled in a thousand different directions.” As a therapist, pastor, and professor of spiritual formation, Chuck DeGroat hears that line all the time. “I hear it from students and software developers,” he says. “I hear it from spiritual leaders and coffee baristas. And I hear it from my own inner self.”

We all feel that nasty pull to and fro, the frantic busyness that exhausts us and threatens to undo us. And we all think we know the solution — more downtime, more relaxation, more rest. And we’re all wrong.

As DeGroat himself has discovered, the real solution to what pulls us apart is wholeheartedness, a way of living and leading that can transform us from the inside out.

Led by Chuck DeGroat

BREAKOUT: Toughest People to Love: How to Understand, Lead, and Love the Difficult People in Your Church

People -- frustrating, confusing, disappointing, complicated -- are the most difficult part of leadership, and they challenge leaders everywhere, from leaders of many to managers of a few. Chuck DeGroat addresses the flawed nature of people and offers wisdom for leaders of all types in dealing with just about anyone who is difficult to lead and to love.

Explore the basics of how people "tick," learn to examine and take care of yourself so you can better understand and care for others. Based on Chuck's experience as a pastor, professor, and therapist, this seminar offers wise, practical counsel you’ll use throughout your life and ministry.

Led by Chuck DeGroat

BREAKOUT: Organizational Leadership through Crisis, Change, & Conflict

A recent DIFW survey of local pastors revealed that interpersonal conflict or the strain of leading a congregation through change weighs heavily on churches leaders. Seasoned leaders Brad Strait (Cherry Creek Presbyterian), Darius Wise (Denver United), and Rob Brendle (Denver United) will share insight gleaned from years of fruitful, but at times tumultuous, ministry. Join us to gain the personal and practical skills you need to navigate the challenges of leading diverse, growing congregations.

Led by Brian Gray, Brad Strait, Darius Wise& Rob Brendle

BREAKOUT: Building Effective Community Partnerships

Every church wants to make a positive impact on its community. But there are also practical challenges to doing so. What are the issues we should care about and focus on? And how can we practically do something with the time and resources we have? In this session, we will hear from Marcy McGovern (Alternatives Pregnancy Center), Michelle Warren (Open Door Ministries, CCDA), and Jason Janz (Cross Purpose) on the key issues facing our city – such as poverty, abortion, and immigration - and the practical ways churches can partner with their organizations to serve the vulnerable and bring about the healing of their communities.

Led by Jeff Haanen, Jason Janz, Marcy McGovern& Michelle Warren

PANEL DISCUSSION: Peace and Prosperity for Our Cities

“Seek the peace and the prosperity of the city.” We’ve all heard this passage from Jeremiah, but what does this practically look like for churches in our city? How can pastors develop meaningful relationships with local leaders, such as city council members, business owners, and other nonprofit organizations? In this lunch panel, we will hear from Nathan Hoag, lead pastor of the Sacred Grace Englewood, and Linda Olson, PhD., a professor at the University of Denver and the newly elected mayor of Englewood. They will share about how they developed a relationship, the history and state of Englewood, the unique role of both pastors and city officials can play in the flourishing of their local economy and culture.

Led by Jeff Haanen, Nathan Hoag& Linda Olson
Thank you to Made to Flourish and Thrivent Financial for sponsoring this event!