Keynote Speakers

Engage with two stewardship experts in plenary presentations and question and answer sessions. J. Clif Christopher will offer two presentations Friday on challenging materialism, and Aimee Laramore will give us a roadmap to year-round giving on Saturday. The Rev. Lucille “CeCee” Mills will be our dynamic preacher for Saturday morning worship and will lead a workshop of worship and preaching that support generosity.

Click each presenter’s name to see her or his biography.

God vs. Money

J. Clif Christopher

Dr. J. Clif Christopher, MDiv, CFRE, is the CEO of the Horizons Stewardship Company. He is a certified church growth consultant and has earned the coveted title CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive). Christopher founded the Horizons Stewardship Company in 1992 following a challenging and rewarding career in pastoral ministry. Since founding Horizons, he has led consultations in more than four hundred churches, conferences, synods, and dioceses in all phases of building, finance, and church growth. For the last ten years years, Christopher has secured more than $500 million for his clients. He has worked in more than thirty-two states and is a frequent speaker at stewardship seminars around the country. He is the author of several books including Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate, which was published by Abingdon Press. Christopher has been an ordained minister of The United Methodist Church since 1975. He is a graduate of Hendrix College and Emory University. Christopher and his wife have four children.

Clif will cover the urgent need to combat a militant materialistic society that seeks to capture the soul of America. The church stands as the only opposing force to this aggression. A battle plan of action will be covered on how the church can and should engage in this fight.

Pathways to Generosity: Year-round Giving and Gratitude

Aimee Laramore

Aimee is a passionate teacher, trainer, consultant, and coach with more than two decades of experience.  Mrs. Laramore embraces taboo topics, inclusive of money, finance and budgeting, with a deep commitment to understanding the intersection of faith and giving.  

As the Owner/Lead Consultant for ALlyd Image Solutions, a boutique consulting firm dedicated to building organizational capacity and effective development practices, Aimee has also served successfully in leadership roles throughout a variety of mission driven agencies across the country. She has worked with congregations in rural and urban settings, across denomination and socio-economic structures; and has an astute understanding of the role theology, executive leadership styles and diversity play in philanthropic infrastructure.  Her experience in faith-based institutions offer a series of lessons to be learned including exploring electronic giving, making an ask, learning and planning, 365 development frameworks, evaluation cycles and celebration of generosity and more. 

Visionary faith initiatives offer a new opportunity for donors to invest in a complex world of giving.  Beyond understanding the altered landscape of religious giving, explore a culture of generosity and leadership investments that grow diverse donor audiences for long-term sustainability year-round.  Act, Think and Interact to encourage change in the understanding of the development environment with a commitment to intentional action steps and meaningful expressions of gratitude.

Laramore will also offer a Saturday workshop titled Tactics for how to build a year-round giving strategy

Worship and Preaching Practices that Support Generosity

The Rev. Lucille “CeCee” Mills

“CeCee” grew up in Greensboro, N.C.  She completed her seminary studies at The Lutheran Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Ordained on March 20, 2004, she served her first ten years of ministry in the Virginia Synod. She currently serves as Program Associate Director for African Descent Ministries for the ELCA as deployed staff from its headquarters in Chicago, Illinois while also serving as both Associate Director for Evangelical Mission and interim pastor in the North Carolina Synod.

Pastor Mills will bring her dynamic and powerful preaching style to opening worship on Saturday morning, and she will be share techniques for inspiring generosity through worship and proclamation in an afternoon workshop.