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For much of our nation’s history, the local church’s role in building and maintaining flourishing communities was well understood, accepted, and acted upon. Recent confusion about this role, within the Church and outside of it, has contributed to a breakdown of community as well as in an increase of social alienation. Regaining a robust appreciation for the institutions of civil society, the local church being the most important one, will be key in the redemption and renewal of these people and places. 

This conference will touch a variety of topics, including the defining characteristics of the human person, economic wisdom, the concept of sphere sovereignty, the nature of the local church, as well as the immense importance of civil society. Lastly, conference attendees will learn ways in which local churches can promote the flourishing of their communities.

Note: Only current members of the Made to Flourish Network are eligible for participation at this event. If you are interested in attending this event but are not a member of Made To Flourish, please look at our events page for other great opportunities.

Attendance is by application only. Conference fees, meals, and lodging will be covered for accepted applicants. Travel scholarships are available.

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Bruce Riley Ashford
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Provost and Professor of Theology & Culture

Bruce Riley Ashford is Provost and Professor of Theology & Culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author or co-author of six books, including Letters to an American Christian (B&H, 2018), One Nation Under God: A Christian Hope for American Politics (B&H, 2015), and Every Square Inch: An Introduction to Cultural Engagement for Christians (Lexham, 2015). His most recent book is called The Gospel of Our King: Bible, Worldview, and the Mission of Every Christian. He is married to Lauren, with whom he has two daughters and a son.

He has been featured in Fox News Opinion, First Things Magazine, USA Today, The Daily Signal, The Daily Caller, The Gospel Coalition, and other national outlets. He has appeared on National Public Radio (NPR), Fox Radio, and many other nationally syndicated shows.

He is a Senior Fellow in Public Theology at the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics (Cambridge, UK), and a participant in the Dulles Colloquium of the Institute on Religion & Public Life (New York, NY), and a Research Fellow at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (Nashville, TN).

He has spoken at universities, seminaries, and churches across Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, including those associated with the Baptist, Presbyterian, Anglican, Methodist, and Assemblies of God denominations.

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Anne Rathbone Bradley, Ph.D.
Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

Vice President of Economic Initiatives

Anne Rathbone Bradley, Ph.D. is the Vice President of Economic Initiatives at the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics, where she develops and commissions research toward a systematic biblical theology of economic freedom. She is a professor of economics at The Institute for World Politics and Grove City College. She is a visiting professor at Georgetown University and George Mason University and has taught at Charles University, Prague. She is currently an Acton Affiliate scholar and a visiting scholar at the Bernard Center for Women, Politics, and Public Policy. She is a lecturer for the Institute for Humane Studies and the Foundation for Economic Education.

Rathbone Bradley is the co-editor and author of “Counting the Cost: Christian Perspectives on Capitalism,” “For the Least of These: A Biblical Answer to Poverty” and “Be Fruitful and Multiply: Why Economics is Necessary for Making God-Pleasing Decisions”. She served as the Associate Director for the Program in Economics, Politics, and the Law at the James M. Buchanan Center at George Mason University.

Rathbone Bradley's academic work ranges on the question of income inequality and economic freedom as well as the political economy of terrorism with specific emphasis on the industrial organization of al-Qaeda. Her academic research has been published in scholarly journals and edited volumes. She is currently working on a book that analyzes the political economy of al-Qaeda post 9/11. Based on her academic research she also worked as an Economic Analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency's Office of Terrorism Analysis.

Rathbone Bradley received her Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University in 2006 during which time she was a James M. Buchanan Scholar.

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J. Daryl Charles, Ph.D.
Acton Institute

Affiliate Scholar

J. Daryl Charles, Ph.D. is the Acton Institute Affiliated Scholar in Theology & Ethics. He also is a contributing editor of Providence: A Journal of Christianity and American Foreign Policy and the journal Touchstone and is an affiliated scholar of the John Jay Institute. Charles is author, co-author, or editor of eighteen books, including Natural Law and Religious Freedom (Routledge, 2018), (with David D. Corey) The Just War Tradition: An Introduction (ISI Books, 2012), (with David B. Capes) Thriving in Babylon (Pickwick, 2011), Retrieving the Natural Law: A Return to Moral First Things (Eerdmans, 2008), and most recently, (with Mark David Hall) America’s Wars and the Just War Tradition: A History of U.S. Conflicts (University of Notre Dame Press, 2019) and Wisdom’s Work: Essays on Ethics, Vocation, and Cultural Engagement (Acton Institute Press, 2019).

Charles has taught at Taylor University and Union University, served as director of the Bryan Institute for Critical Thought & Practice, was a 2013/14 visiting professor in the honors program at Berry College, and served as a 2007/8 William B. Simon visiting fellow in religion and public life at the James Madison Program, Princeton University, as well as the 2003/4 visiting fellow of the Institute for Faith and Learning, Baylor University. The focus of Charles’ research and writing is religion and society, Christian social ethics, the just war tradition, and the natural law. Prior to entering the university classroom, Charles did public policy work in criminal justice in Washington, DC.

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Wes Hamilton
Hulen Street Church

Lead Pastor

Wes Hamilton is the husband to Lesley, father to Jake and Elle, lead pastor of Hulen Street Church, and a lover of Texas and of good food. According to various assessments Wes is a lion/otter, maximizing communicator who is strategic and adaptable, but with a strong vein of belief. After graduating from Ouachita Baptist University Wes and Lesley moved to Fort Worth to attend Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. It was during their time at Southwestern they both began to fall in love with the city of Fort Worth. It was also during this time that Wes began traveling and speaking to students across the state of Texas and eventually the United States. After graduating from Southwestern he founded Shoeless Ministries and continued to travel and speak full time.

In 2005 Wes joined the staff of Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, Texas as Teaching Pastor. It was during this time God began to renew his passion for the local church. As much as they loved the church and the people of Lake Pointe, Wes and Lesley both saw that God was leading him to take on the role of lead Pastor. It was during this season that Hulen Street Church reached out and gave Wes and Lesley the chance to come home to a city they loved. In the spring of 2017 Wes joined the Acton Institute as an Affiliate Pastor.

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Ismael Hernandez
Freedom & Virtue Institute


Ismael Hernandez is the founder and executive director of the Freedom & Virtue Institute. Ismael grew up in a communist household and joined the Socialist Party of Puerto Rico. Eventually, he surrendered Marxism and embraced free markets. He has a master’s Degree in Political Science and served for 15 years as in inner-city Catholic ministry in SW Florida. In 2016, Ismael wrote his first book, Not Tragically Colored: Freedom, Personhood, and the Renewal of Black America—published by the Acton Institute. Ismael Hernandez currently lives in Fort Myers with his wife and three children.

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Ronjour Locke
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Instructor of Preaching and Urban Ministry

Ronjour Locke serves as Instructor of Preaching and Urban Ministry at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also serves as an affiliate pastor for the Acton Institute. Previously, he served in Baltimore as pastor of First Baptist Church of Brooklyn and as a member of the Christian Life and Public Affairs Committee of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware. He holds degrees from Lancaster Bible College and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Prof. Locke is happily married to Anne, and they have four children.

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Oye Waddell
Hustle PHX

Executive Director

Oye Waddell is the executive director of Hustle PHX. Waddell grew up in inner city Los Angeles and has a long track record in urban education and entrepreneurship. He attended the University of Washington on a full athletic scholarship to play football. He later earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California, and a Master of Education from Arizona State University. He is the founder of Gameplan International and serves as a pastor at New City Church in downtown Phoenix.

Event Details

Start Date

End Date


Westin Minneapolis
88 South 6th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55402
United States


Note: Only current members of the Made to Flourish Network are eligible for participation at this event.

Attendance is by application only. Conference fees, meals, and lodging will be covered for accepted applicants. Travel scholarships are available.

Applications close at 11:59 PM on July 8, 2019. 

Dress for this conference is business casual. 

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