Editor’s Note: Information about 2019’s Marriage, Family, Life Conference on June 20 – 22, 2019 can be found here. This was published in the AFA Journal in June 2019 and online here with the title “Marriage, family, life – worth saving” and contains information about last year’s conference plus 2019’s conference.
“I think we have a tendency to gravitate toward people who sound like us,” Wil Addison, director of Urban Family Talk, told AFA Journal. His burden for reaching urban communities led to the development of Urban Family Communications, a division of the American Family Association.
The radio arm, Urban Family Talk, began airing in 2013 and has reached into markets in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia. It seeks to be a fresh, relatable voice of biblical truth to communities of Americans who had often traded deep, spiritual heritage for an illusion of progress perpetrated by today’s “progressives.” The network has also served as a refuge for many who were unaware of others within the black community who view culture through a biblical lens.
Addison believes that when urban families turn back to biblical truth, communities will be transformed, and the nation will then be transformed. While the network was designed to provide the basis for a unified movement, Addison has been surprised by the listener base established over the last several years.
“We started seeing it’s not just black people – it’s black, white, whoever is listening,” he explained. “We are really just speaking truth and relating it to cultural issues bombarding us as Christians. People are wrestling with these things, and they’re asking, ‘How should we live as Christians in a world that is hostile to God?’”
Diversity and unity
“I think Urban Family Talk has served as a bridge to bring more hosts to the table,” said Addison. “We can all speak about the same issues with a different voice and perspective. And we all learn from that.”
That differing perspective has carried over. A number of hosts that began on UFT are now aired across the wide expanse of AFR networks. Examples are Abraham Hamilton III, host of The Hamilton Corner, and Stacy Washington, host of Stacy on the Right.
Last year, AFA’s first Marriage, Family, and Life Conference was attended by about 300 adults and children. Addison was particularly encouraged by the ethnic and denominational diversity of those in attendance.
“I think most racial divisions are perceived because of the narrative pushed by the media,” said Addison. “The conference was an amazing picture of the body of Christ coming together. It really had a family feel to it, and we hope this year’s conference does as well.”
Bigger and better
With an even more diverse line up of speakers, the 2019 MFL Conference, sponsored by AFA, UFC, and Hope Church in Tupelo, Mississippi, will be held June 20-22.
AFA is excited to welcome J. Warner Wallace, author of Cold Case Christianity and a long list of other titles. (See review of his most recent publication on here.) In addition to his address in the plenary session, Wallace and his wife Susie will lead the youth apologetics track for children ages 4-13.
“We’re doing it again this year bigger and better with our conference-within-a-conference for the children,” said Addison. “So families don’t have to leave their kids with babysitters or back home alone. You can bring the whole family.”
Questions and answers
The familiar voices of Abraham Hamilton III; Meeke Addison, co-host of UFT’s Airing the Addisons; and Ed Vitagliano, AFA executive VP and co-host of Today’s Issues; and others will address pressing questions of the day:
- Marriage: Is it still relevant? Does the church have a vested interest in it? How do we restore those that are broken?
- Family: How can we defend it if we don’t properly define it? What makes the biblical standard of family the only standard?
- Life: What must the church do to glorify God in the midst of a culture of death? How do we navigate new norms regarding not only sexual ethics, but sexual identity?
This year’s conference will include an insightful panel discussion with former transgender Laura Perry and Stephen Black, ex-homosexual and now director of First Stone Ministries. (See AFAJ, 12/18.) The session will provide an opportunity for attendees to ask questions of panel participants.
Faith and action
Break-out sessions will feature speakers from AFA’s Engage ministry, an outreach to millennials on cultural issues and the church, and Students for Life on pro-life activism. (See AFAJournal, 4/19.)
“The issues of abortion and homosexuality are really waging war against the church because that spirit desires to silence Christians,” explained Addison. “I’m hoping pastors come, because I think leaders have a hard time dealing with some of these things.”
The MFL Conference will challenge and equip adults and children alike. Attendees will be encouraged and strengthened to contend for the faith in a manner consistent with the text from Hebrews 10:23-25 (ESV):
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Editor’s Note: The section below was a sidebar in the AFA Journal print edition.
2018 debut was a five-star event
What attendees said:
“Last year, the speakers were amazing, and I think the panel discussion was one of my favorite moments, when Ryan Bomberger and Abraham Hamilton’s answers really challenged me to be more and do more.” — Brian Thrasher, Starkville, Mississippi
“I was so thankful and excited after the conference that I wrote a ‘Top 10-ish’ list of my favorite things at the conference. (Ten simply wasn’t a big enough number to capture all the good stuff!) I am looking forward to bringing my wife and others to this year’s conference and continuing to grow in God’s wonderful grace with this newly found part of God’s family! While social justice works to divide us by our appearance, God is working through Urban Family Talk to unite us in Christ!!!” — Jerry Rainer, Memphis, Tennessee
“My wife, four kids, and I had a wonderful time at the [Marriage, Family, and Life] conference last year. It’s so important for believers to have a Bible-centric perspective on issues facing our culture, and this conference does this type of equipping.” — Dr. Ken Sartor, Madison, Alabama
From the youth track:
“I thought it was great, and I liked our teacher. She was patient toward the other kids.” — Moriah (12)
“I enjoyed it and recommend it! My favorite part was when we played and learned from the videos. It’s fun!” — JD (9)
“Last year at the conference, the crafts were my favorite. We made a tin foil ark, and we made a bridge out of straw. Gym time made it even more fun!” — Reid (13)
“I liked the coloring.” — Audrey (7)
2019: fellowship, apologetics, concert
In addition to Friday and Saturday worship sessions led by Cam and Adam and Tara Lowrey, the conference will kick off Thursday night with a Flame concert. Also performing will be POR, C-Micah, JWill Music. Concert tickets can be purchased separately, and youth groups are encouraged to attend.
Learn more at 662-844-5036 x476 and register at urbanfamilytalk.com. Click on “Urban Family Talk Marriage, Family, and Life Conference.”