Keynote Speakers | Music


Charlie Dates
Opening Keynote
Sunday, April 9, 4:30 p.m.

In 2011, at age 30, Dr. Charlie E. Dates became the youngest senior pastor in the rich 98-year history of Chicago’s Progressive Baptist Church. 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.”


Julie Roys
Luncheon Speaker
Monday, April 10, 12:30 p.m.

Julie Roys is a speaker, writer and host of Up for Debate, a nationally-syndicated talk show on the Moody Radio Network. Her articles have appeared in WORLD Magazine, The Christian Post, and Christianity Today – and her first book, “Redeeming the Feminine Soul: God’s Surprising Vision for Womanhood,” will publish in 2017.  A graduate of both Wheaton College and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Julie is respected for her ability to tackle difficult conversations with both courage and fairness.  A wife, mother of three and daughter of God, Julie’s rare mix of faith, family and investigative journalism make her a unique Christian voice.


Steve Green
Closing Keynote
Tuesday, April 11, 5:00 p.m.

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.



Sunday, April 9, 4:30 p.m.

With nearly two decades and an impressive list of accolades in their career, Selah has become one of the most beloved groups in Christian  music, well known for transforming old Christian hymns into a more modern style with their powerful voices and strong harmonies.  They have won seven GMA Dove Awards and sold more than 4 million album and single units combined. For Todd Smith, Allan Hall and Amy Perry, it’s both humbling and exciting to be part of a force that inspires, entertains and encourages. Selah appeared at the EPA 2001 convention in San Diego.

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Charles Billingsley
Tuesday, April 11, 5:00 p.m.

It’s no secret Charles Billingsley is one of Christian music’s most captivating Inspirational voices, but for this singer, worship leader, husband, father and teacher—to name but a few of his leading roles—it’s what’s behind the music that has truly made the man. Launching his career more than two decades ago fronting GRAMMY®- nominated genre giants NewSong, Charles has since headlined more than 3,000 concerts and released 24 recordings as a solo artist. Also a sought-after worship leader who oversees the music ministry at Lynchburg, Virginia’s 24,000- member Thomas Road Baptist Church, he is an artist-in-residence and instructor at the nation’s largest Christian college, Liberty University, and he regularly appears at such popular events as Women of Joy, Gridiron Men and Celebrators, among numerous others.

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Video introduction