EPA Chicago 2017 Keynote Speakers Announced

Dates, Stetzer, Green to headline annual convention

Dr. Charlie E. Dates, senior pastor of Chicago’s Progressive Baptist Church, will kick off EPA’s annual convention on Sunday evening, April 9, 2017. The opening session will begin at 4:30 p.m. and will be followed by a buffet dinner. Other keynote speakers for the convention include Ed Stetzer and Steve Green.

In 2011, at age 30, Dates became the youngest senior pastor in Progressive’s rich 98-year history.

Dates earned a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication and Rhetoric at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and both a Master of Divinity Degree and Ph.D at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.

In 2002, Dates served as an apprentice to Pastor K. Edward Copeland and started his formal, practical training at the New Zion Baptist Church of Rockford, Illinois. In 2006, he began serving as the primary preaching assistant to the Rev. James Meeks, Director of Church Operations and Pastor of Adult Ministries at the Salem Baptist Church of Chicago.

He successfully defended his dissertation for the Ph.D in Historical Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. His original research focuses on the burden of black preaching in late 20th Century Chicago.

In addition to his pastoral duties, Pastor Charlie is an affiliate professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and serves as an Adjunct Professor at the Moody Bible Institute. Dr. Dates also serves on the Community Advisory Board for the Chicago Fire Department. He is a contributor to the 2014 book “Letters To A Birmingham Jail.”


Ed Stetzer, Ph.D, holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair for Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College. Stetzer also serves as the Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton and as chair of the Evangelism and Leadership Program in the Graduate School.

A prolific author, Stetzer is a well-known conference speaker. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written a dozen books and hundreds of articles.

Stetzer is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USA Today and CNN. He is also the Executive Editor of The Gospel Project, which is used by over 1 million individuals each week.

Since 2015, Stetzer has co-hosted BreakPoint This Week, a radio broadcast that airs on over 400 media outlets.


Steve Green is the president of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., a chain of more than 700 arts and crafts stores spanning 47 states with 32,000 employees. Green began working for the family business, which was founded in 1972 by his father David, upon graduation from high school and ascended to the role of president in 2004.

Hobby Lobby is well known for operating under Christian principles, including being closed on Sunday so its employees can attend church. Profits from its business enterprises are invested in Christian ministries, making the Green family—according to Forbes magazine—the largest evangelical benefactor in the world.

In a case that captured front page headlines nationwide in 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby’s challenge of the requirement that family-owned for-profit corporations pay for insurance coverage for contraception (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby).

Green has authored two books. His first, “Faith in America,” was published in 2011 by Looking Glass Books and tells the history of the advertisements that Hobby Lobby places in newspapers across the United States each year to share the real meaning of Christmas, Easter and Independence Day. His second book, “The Bible in America,” was published in 2013.

In 2009, the Green family purchased its first biblical artifact and has since acquired tens of thousands of items which now comprise the Green Collection and is among the world’s newest and largest private collections of rare biblical texts and artifacts. The collection is set to become the core of the 430,000 square foot Museum of the Bible currently under construction in Washington D.C. and scheduled to open this fall.


The EPA Chicago 2017 convention will be held April 9 to 11 at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center in Lombard, IL. Visit evangelicalpress.com/convention for more information or to register.