Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in the annual ADF academy. The academy is a week long training conference for pastors, media personalities, culture influencers, politicians, and folks in the legal world. ADF’s academy focuses the training on life, marriage, and religious liberty, the three “public square” issues near and dear to NEHBC’s heart. It is an “invitation only,” all expenses paid experience for conference attendees and their spouses.
ADF is a formidable bunch; they argue before the US Supreme Court and current clients include the florist, the baker, the pharmacist, the Atlanta Fire Chief, and others regularly in the national news. Our pastor cohort was led by none other than Erik Stanley, the ADF attorney who represented the “Houston 5” against Mayor Parker’s sermon subpoenas in 2014 and defeated her. There were roughly fifteen pastors in the cohort and we received extensive training on best practices for churches engaging culture.
On an interesting note, there were roughly 300 conference attendees from all walks of life. From my spot in the plenary sessions I saw an NFL quarterback, a central figure on ESPN’s College Game Day, state attorney generals, national tv and radio personalities, well known victims of our culture’s attack on religious liberty, and senior partners in some of our nation’s leading law firms.
I’m really grateful for the opportunity Nicole and I had to attend the academy. It is a huge blessing not only to us, but to NEHBC, as we seek to be salt and light for years to come in this tumultuous culture.