Baylor > Social Work > News

Top News
•  Dr. Jon Singletary Recognized with VCU Making a Difference Alumni Award
•  Dr. Gaynor Yancey Receives Achievement Award
•  Crisis Intervention Team from Baylor Receives State Award for Volunteer Efforts in West
•  Gift from Leader in the Care of Aging Adults Establishes Endowed Chair in Baylor's School of Social Work
•  Special Fall Worship Service to Be Held in September
•  Baylor University to Hold Rethink Mission Conference in September
•  Waco Downtown Farmers Market Accepts SNAP Benefits
•  SSW Seeks to Fill Three Faculty Positions
•  Baylor, the SSW and Waco Create New Waco ISD Position to Aid Community
•  Baylor-hosted Hunger Summit Digs into Roots of Poverty
•  SSW names Kentuckian as Alumna of the Year
•  The Weight of the World: GML Cover Story in Baylor Magazine
•  Hogg Scholars Announced at Baylor's School of Social Work
•  Military Family Coping Project Receive Funding for Phase II of Research
•  GML Initiative moves ahead thanks to generous gift
•  THI kicks off No Kid Hungry statewide campaign
•  Baylor School of Social Work welcomes alumni from Carver School
•  Baylor grad uses art to capture hunger issues
•  Ministry Seeks to Share God's Love with Strangers Among Us
•  Social Work Alum Wins Spirit Award
•  "You Are What You Eat" Photo Exhibit at School Open House
•  A Conversation with Tanya Smith Brice
•  Looking to find your center of creativity? Unplug
•  Fridges Speak Volumes

Next Big Idea Conference At Baylor Hosts National Leaders in Community Transformation Ministries

Feb. 2, 2009

With President Barack Obama's charge to Americans to "pick themselves up, dust themselves off" and get to work still echoing in many minds, the Next Big Idea Conference at Baylor University Feb. 9-11 will show church and community leaders how to lead out in that initiative.

Some of the biggest names in national and global community action and transformation will gather with leading scholars and practitioners for Next Big Idea Conference, which will be held Feb. 9-11 on the Baylor campus. The inaugural event is being jointly sponsored by the Baylor School of Social Work, Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary and the Leadership Network.

Featured guests include:

• Kay Warren, renowned HIV/AIDS activist and author and co-founder with husband, Rick Warren, of Saddleback Church;

• Lynne Hybels, social activist and best-selling author and co-founder with husband, Bill Hybels, of Willow Creek Community Church;

• Eric Swanson and Rick Rusaw, co-authors of The Externally Focused Church and Living a Life on Loan; and

• Rick McKinley, founder of Imago Dei Community Church in Portland, Ore.

Diana Garland, dean of the Baylor School of Social Work and a leading social scientist in the study of faith and its impact on families and communities, says that missions as Americans once understood them is not the approach that works best in today's post-postmodern church.

"Our research shows that what engages families and nurtures their spiritual maturity - for children, youth and the elderly - is opportunities to live their faith through service together in meaningful community ministries. That's where the new focus should be," Garland said.

Swanson, a leader in the Leadership Network and in helping churches move into community engagement, agrees.

"When I read a report on the research that Diana Garland had done of the impact of volunteerism on faith development, I thought I had discovered gold," Swanson said. "I told her, 'We in the church desperately need this information.'"

The conference is being offered to members of churches in McLennan County and to social work practitioners for a discounted price of $15 per person. Up to nine LPC and social work CEU credits are available for an additional $10 process fee.

"Our planning team agreed we really wanted our local churches, with whom Baylor has had such a long-term and meaningful relationship, to benefit from this conference," Garland said. "This is a rare opportunity for those who labor hard in the field to gather and hear some of the biggest and newest ideas in how community ministry can impact individuals, families, churches and communities."

The event will feature more than a dozen workshops on topics such as:

• community renewal,

• care for vulnerable children,

• human trafficking,

• mentoring youth,

• the missional church,

• homelessness,

• environmental concerns,

• economic development, and much more.

Worship celebrations will be held in conjunction with main session speakers. A schedule and full listing of workshops, titles, descriptions, speakers and speaker bios can be found at

Registration deadline is Feb. 4. To register, visit or contact Kimberly Schlesinger at or at (254) 710-3854.

General public cost is $149 (individual) and $99 per person , if there are three or more from same group. In addition to the discount rates for McLennan churches and social work practitioners, there are discounted rates available to Baylor students ($15) and to Baylor faculty and staff ($75 individual and $50 per for three or more).