The 2022 Vision Conference™, in conjunction with the 116th annual session of the National Baptist Congress, will take place June 16–18, at the Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown Hotel.
R.H. Boyd, in partnership with Northern Theological Seminary, is excited to offer an enhanced benefit with registration. All 2022 registrants receive immediate access to six video courses at Seminary Now™, a streaming video platform with short courses in Bible, theology, ministry, and contemporary issues.
The Nashville Voice had the opportunity to sit down with R.H. Boyd President/CEO Dr. LaDonna Boyd to learn more about all the things in store at this year’s conference and the importance of Nashville being this year’s host city.
Nashville Voice – Hello Dr. Boyd, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to sit down with us today. I have been doing a lot of reading on the Vision Conference™, so I’m excited to ask some of the questions I know our readers have been asking themselves. I know last year you guys did a virtual conference, what made you feel confident in doing it in person this year?
Dr. Boyd – Well, of course, we want to make sure that we focus on safety. So we wanted to make sure it was safe and allowed for us to do that first if you will. It seems like certainly in Nashville, everything is up and running, so I wanted to give our constituency an opportunity to fellowship and come together in person as well. But we are a hybrid conference and have a virtual option for those that are not ready to travel or to mingle in person just yet.
NV – So you do have the hybrid version. Is the price the same for hybrid as opposed to in-person?
Dr. Boyd – No, it is a lower cost, In-person begins at $150 and it’s a $50 fee for the virtual admission. And they are pretty comparable amount of access to the conference. Both our in-person and our virtual attendees have access to the online platform called Seminary Now, from Northern Seminary out of Chicago. This gives them an additional six curated courses that they can take through their seminary as well. So lots to offer for in-person and virtual attendees.
NV – I’m glad you actually brought it up because one of the questions I was going to ask you was about the seminar. How did that partnership come about?
Dr. Boyd – One of our longtime partners, Dr. Gerald Dew, who’s been part of our conference and the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America for many years and is a customer of R.H. Boyd, is on senior faculty at Northern Seminaries. So a few years ago, I think the end of 2019 before the Pandemic hit, we had talked about providing some accredited courses for our conference. So it just made sense for us to do that partnership. So of course, 2020 and 2021, it was all virtual, but we still did give access to Seminary Now.
So this time to be able to come together in person and have that hybrid option is something that we’re really excited about. To be able to provide that extra education is something that’s very important to our organization.
NV – I also was wondering how would you personally describe the Vision Conference™?
Dr. Boyd – Well, for us, while it’s something that is new, and it’s a fresh take on something that we’ve done for many years. The National Baptist Congress®, founded in 1906 is a consortium of churches and organizations focused on Christian education and leadership has historically held an annual training conference. At the end of 2019, after our last in-person session in Charlotte, which of course we didn’t realize was going to be our last in-person session for a couple of years, we decided we really wanted to assess the needs of modern-day believers, not just in the context of the Church only, but how do believers exist in every day? Where they take their faith, whether it’s the boardroom, classroom, art studio, recording studio, whatever it may be, how do you really represent your faith in your everyday life and especially for those in leadership positions? So I came up with Vision Conference™ to really hone in on visionary leadership skills and what that looks like for intergenerational settings.
NV – That makes a lot of sense and I can even see that by the events that you’re hosting around it. I found the events interesting, like the comedy show, for example, I was like, wow, this is really cool. I can see how you’re bringing the importance of faith, but you’re also looking at people like, we realize you’re all real people and you have lives, so it’s all intertwined.
Dr. Boyd – And being family-friendly is so important to us, too.
NV – Oh, definitely. Out of those events, which ones are you the most excited about?
Dr. Boyd – I’m excited for all of them, of course. That’s the correct answer (laughs)
NV – Right (laughs)
Dr. Boyd – Well, certainly our kind of ad hoc events is what I call them. So in addition to our courses, we are doing the Faith Leaders Luncheon, and we’re doing that partnership with the Barna Group, which we’re excited about. It’s a panel discussion centered on the state of the Black Church and what that looks like for future leadership. That’s on Thursday, our panelists are myself, Bishop Joseph Walker III, Dr. Forrest Harris, Pastor Breonus Mitchell, and Doctor Judy D. Cummings. And we also have representatives from Barna that are coming, too. So definitely excited about that event. Again, that is Thursday at noon.
Friday is our Legacy Ball. So I love a good black tie, very formal, fancy affair. So we’re doing that to celebrate the 125th anniversary of R.H. Boyd as well. Just taking an opportunity to celebrate black excellence, and that’s going to be a lot of fun.
Then Saturday there is the Praise and Laugh comedy show, which has kind of been like my baby of the conference this year. I am really excited to look at the intersections of faith and comedy. Like, how do you have fun in the context of your faith? So something that’s clean, no profanity, and you can bring the whole family.
NV – The lunch, the ball, and the comedy show are those included in the conference ticket, or are those things you have to pay separately.
Dr. Boyd – Those are additional. If you buy the VIP, then you get access to everything. If you’re just doing the conference registration you do get a complimentary Praise and Laugh ticket. But the Legacy Ball and the luncheon are separate.
NV – When you think about the type of person, what type of person do you envision as the attendee for the vision conference?
Dr. Boyd – Everybody! As I like to say, all are welcome. So it’s really very broad. We wanted to make sure that we gave offerings in different disciplinary areas. So whether you’re an entrepreneur, if you’re a teacher, if you’re a pastor, if you’re a student, there’s something for you. We have a robust kid’s Ministry as well, so ideally, it’s really for the entire family, so every generation has something to receive from this conference.
NV – With that said, I noticed there are different courses and sessions. How does one decide which course is the best for them?
Dr. Boyd – Well, certainly whatever speaks to them, certainly all the descriptions are very thorough, and we’ve broken them down into different genres, like lifestyle, faith, leadership, and so on. So all of the courses are broken down. You can see the instructors as well on our website visionconference.org, and its workshop style, so whatever your schedule allows. People are welcome to go and take as many classes as they’d like. We tried to make sure that we didn’t overlap too many, So I think there are only two running simultaneously. People can take full advantage of courses all day Thursday, all day Friday.
We have some youth courses also on Saturday, and then we also are running some pre-recorded virtual sessions and some live-stream virtual sessions. There is also the additional seminary now classes.
NV – That’s great. I was looking at the schedule. I was like, wow, that’s a lot of really cool stuff on here, but that’s a great answer. And finally, my last question. Why is it important that the Vision Conference™ is hosted right here in Nashville?
Dr. Boyd – Yeah, so we’re excited to be right here in our own backyard. The last time, our conference was in Nashville it was 2006 for our 100th anniversary, so we definitely wanted to bring it back. And Ironically, like, Nashville has become an expensive city, So we don’t take for granted that we already live and exist here for those visiting.
As we know there are a lot of things going on in Nashville, which is why we’re excited to bring in our constituency, to allow them to see what has happened and what’s changed in Nashville since they last been with us. There are a lot of changes, a lot of transition.
We’re happy to be right downtown, within walking distance Of The the National Museum of African American music And Broadway. People can go see the State Capitol, The Tennessee State Museum, and so much more. So everything is right there.
NV – That is really great. Well, I’m glad that you guys are here in Nashville. Of course, we love Nashville, so it’s really good and exciting,
I really appreciate your time, and I hope you have a great time at the conference. Much love.
Dr. Boyd – Thank you. I hope to see you there.
Tickets are still available to register for this year’s Vision Conference™. To register please visit visionconference.org. Follow on Instagram @visionconference_official and @rhboydco for additional details.