TGC Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference


About the ConferenceOur Speakers & Worship LeadersAbout the Gospel CoalitionGetting to the Conference

So many themes dear to The Gospel Coalition come together in Ephesians 2:8-9: grace, faith, Christ, and God’s glory. In fact, so grand are Paul’s words there that verse 10 can be easily overlooked. It, too, is gospel: a call for believers, having understood the gospel, to do the works that God has prepared in advance for them to do--regardless of cultural moment. Luther’s own story is the supreme case in point. He got the gospel, he related its truths to his cultural times, and he accomplished much for the kingdom. As with him, so with us: get the gospel, see the times through it, and accomplish for the kingdom.

These great truths will be the teaching focus of our four plenary sessions. A variety of breakouts will complement the plenaries, providing practical direction in a variety of spheres in which the church can and should bring the glory of God to bear on culture:

  • Redefining work with faith as its foundation;
  • Living the gospel strategically in the suburbs;
  • Developing plans and practices for social media, the Internet, and other communications that advance the gospel well;
  • Establishing a ministry of mercy in your local church;
  • Enabling God’s people to worship with authenticity.


Download printable conference brochure (.pdf)

congregation singing during morning worship


Ephesians 2:8-10 reveal core gospel themes of grace, faith, Christ, and God’s glory. But they go further. They issue a clarion call for believers to do the works that God has prepared in advance for them to do regardless of the cultural moment. As was the case with Martin Luther and the Reformation 500 years ago, it is the case today – by faith we understand the gospel, we relate its truths to the cultural times we live in, and we devote ourselves with gospel wisdom and power to kingdom advance.

Come join us in Princeton, NJ, for the second annual Mid-Atlantic Gospel Coalition Conference. Together we will explore both the biblical truths surrounding these verses and practical ways to embark on God’s plan for us in our present cultural moment.  The conference has been structured over a Friday night and Saturday to maximize both biblical study and rich fellowship. Our agenda is packed with speakers and tracks to encourage entire ministry teams, pastors, church volunteers and staff members, administrators, worship leaders, and students. Our plenary speakers, Russell Moore and Mark Dever, have extensive experience in leading God’s people well during difficult cultural times, as does the nationally recognized worship team of Matthew Smith & Indelible Grace.

Our full agenda will be announced soon.  We  are in the final stages of finalzing eight workshops on issues like: the Gospel in the Marketplace, the Gospel in the Suburbs, Pursuing Authentic Worship, and Impacting Your Community.

Join us Friday night, October 13 and Saturday, October 14, 2017, at Stone Hill Church of Princeton. 

We can’t wait to meet you, growing closer in Christ, and together advancing the gospel!

Matthew P. Ristuccia, Chair
Senior Pastor, Stone Hill Church of Princeton

Bob Doll, Associate Chair
Chief Equity Strategist, Nuveen Asset Management

David Rowe, Associate Chair
Senior Pastor, Hope Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville

Friday, October 13, 2017

6:00pm                  Registration
7:30- 9:00pm       Worship* and Plenary Session 1 ("Here We Stand: The need for doctrinal purity")

Saturday, October 14, 2017

8:00am             Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:45am             Worship* and Plenary Session 2
9:50am             Break
10:00am           Breakout Sessions 
11:00am           Break
11:10am           Plenary Session 3  ("You Can't Earn Salvation: Justification by faith alone")
12:00pm           Lunch
1:00pm             Panel Discussion
1:50pm             Worship*
2:05pm             Break
2:20pm             Breakout Sessions 
3:20pm             Break
3:30pm             Plenary Session 4
4:30pm             Closing Remarks

* All worship led by Matthew Smith and Indelible Grace

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Russell MooreDr. Russell Moore, plenary speaker

Russell Moore serves as the eighth president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the moral and public policy agency of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.
A widely-sought cultural commentator, Dr. Moore has been recognized by a number of influential organizations. The Wall Street Journal has called him “vigorous, cheerful, and fiercely articulate” while The Gospel Coalition has referred to him “one of the most astute ethicists in contemporary evangelicalism.”
An ethicist and theologian by background, Dr. Moore is also an ordained Southern Baptist minister and the author of several books including Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel. He blogs frequently at his website,, and hosts a program called Signposts.
A native Mississippian, he and his wife Maria are the parents of five sons.


Mark Dever

Mark Dever, plenary speaker

Mark serves as the senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. A Duke graduate, Dr. Dever holds a M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a Th.M. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Ecclesiastical History from Cambridge University. He is the president of 9Marks Ministries and has taught at a number of seminaries. Dr. Dever has authored several books and articles, most recently, The Compelling Community and The Church: The Gospel Made Visible.  Earlier books include What is a Healthy Church?The Gospel and Personal EvangelismNine Marks of a Healthy Church, The Deliberate ChurchPromises Kept: The Message of the New Testament, and Promises Made: The Message of the Old Testament. He and his wife Connie live and minister on Capitol Hill, with Connie giving much of her time to creating a childrens’ curriculum (PraiseFactory). They have two adult children.

Mark's plenary sessions are titled "You Can't Earn Salvation: Justification by faith alone" (based on Galations 1) and "Here We Stand: The need for doctrinal purity" (based on Romans 10:5-9). .


Matthew Smith, worship leader

Matthew Smith is a Nashville-based singer-songwriter who writes brand new melodies to centuries-old hymn texts, helping guide people into emotionally honest worship. He is a founding member of the Indelible Grace community, whose work has drawn acclaim across denominational lines and is used in churches around the world. Born out of a college ministry, the reimagined hymns have found wide acceptance both among college students and the church at large, joining people who desire to honor tradition with those who want a modern musical approach.



Gospel in the Suburbs: Vision for Church Growth -- Ryan Boys and Mike Ruel
Ryan Boys serves as the senior pastor of Green Pond Bible Chapel in Newfoundland, New Jersey.  Ryan’s passion in ministry is to see God change lives through the clear explanation of the Bible. His academic passion is understanding the Old and New Testaments in their original languages. His life verse is Ezra 7:10, “For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.” He earned his doctorate of ministry in Preaching the Literary Forms of the Bible from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He has a master’s degree in Biblical Exegesis and Linguistics from Dallas Theological Seminary, focusing on Greek and Hebrew exegesis, discourse analysis, semantics, theories of grammar, and translation. He earned his bachelor of arts in Bible Exposition from the Master’s College. One of the highlights of his time in college was to spend a semester studying in Israel. Ryan is married to Lindsay and the father of four amazing tireless children. He enjoys sports, reading, woodworking, music, and throwing a frisbee for his yellow lab. He blogs on the church and ministry at

Mike Ruel serves as the pastor of Highlands Bible Church in Vernon, New Jersey.  Mike has lived with his wife Melanie and two not-so-little-kids in Vernon for over 10 years, while serving in various roles at the Green Pond campus.  Mike has felt a leading to plant a church in Vernon to reach the community with the gospel for a good while now, and is excited that God is finally bringing it to fruition. Mike has a B.S. in Management from William Paterson University and spent 15 yrs in Corporate America as a project manager in technology and publishing. He also received an M. Div. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, with a concentration in Christian Ministry. When not busy with HBC, you could probably find him at Starbucks, or throwing freshly-chainsawed firewood in his trusty Toyota Tundra or possibly even fishing for bass.


Job Creation Panel -- Chip Roper, Moderator

  • Tom Wilson, panelist, is Senior Vice President, Head of Talent Acquisition for OppenheimerFunds, Inc. where he is responsible for planning and executing all recruiting activities for the firm.Tom joined OppenheimerFunds in 2012 from Relationship Capital Partners, Inc. where he consulted with leading financial services firms. Previously, Tom had a long career at Merrill Lynch as both as an institutional salesman and as a senior manager. From 2005 to 2009, he was Merrill’s Global Head of Talent Sourcing and Recruiting. For the last several years, Tom has been a leader of Career Direction Workshops which are designed to help participants sharpen their job search skills and better manage their career. Tom currently chairs the Board of Directors of Lime Connect, a non-profit organization whose mission is to broaden career opportunities for students with disabilities. He also serves on the advisory boards for MIT Sloan’s Finance Group and the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. Tom graduated from UVa in 1981.
  • Nena Ugwuomo, panelist, is a dynamic, big thinking strategist committed to creating wealth in communities of color through entrepreneurship.  She is the Founder and President of Student Dream, an accelerator that trains collegiate students of color to start companies.  With support from The White House – Obama Administration, TechStars, Google and Black Enterprise, Student Dream's coaching, mentorship and web platform has trained over 500 students to start 20 companies and raise $250,000 in business funding. She has spent her career working with innovative corporations, startups, and governments to bring new ideas to the market through Business Model Design, Business Development, and Strategy. Her expertise has enabled both large and small firms to establish and execute strategies to launch new products and companies from the ground up.  One of her most notable achievements came in 2015 when the White House tasked her to oversee the first Lab To Market initiative, managing 15 minority college students in the commercialization of 9 patented Department of Energy technologies.  When not playing basketball or serving at church, she is committed to helping students reach their startup dreams and build successful companies in the innovation economy.  Nena is a proud alum of the illustrious Howard University.
  • Chris TroyChris Troy, panelist, is an innovative leader and connector who is committed to creating impact in the lives of individuals and communities that society often ignores. With over 30 years of urban ministry experience in Boston and New York, he began with Young Life Boston Urban before founding the Boston Urban Youth Foundation. The Foundation was featured by Edvesters, highlighted by College Pathways and later recognized as Social Innovator for Reducing Youth Violence by the Social Innovation Forum. Chris is committed to connecting high-risk youth to God, self, and a positive future. His greatest joy are the Foundation alumni who are living an abundant life. Chris formed Praxis Connections, LLC four years ago to serve and strengthen community and collaborative efforts that reduce poverty and increase opportunity in our least-served communities. Armed with years of knowledge and expertise in developing a theory of change, program development, community development, strategy, management and fundraising, he felt Praxis Connections was the best way to create and accelerate kingdom impact. Nearly three years ago the Luis Palau Association hired Chris and Praxis Connections, LLC to provide start-up leadership and implementation to what is now known as NY CityServe. Working with other leaders they established 23 neighborhood-focused collaborations involving over 300 churches. These church-connected neighborhood collaborations are thriving in multiple collaborations to love and serve their neighbors in the areas of justice, mercy, and education! 2016 was a busy year for Mr. Troy and Praxis Connections. A graduate of Bethel University, Chris Troy lives in his birthplace of Harlem. He loves jazz and learning.
  • RiveraRev. Dr. Orlando Rivera, panelist, has a Ph.D. from Regent University, a M.Div. from RTS Orlando and a MBA from Rollins College, Winter Park, FL. He provides educational and consulting services in the integration of faith and work to for profit (Theopreneur, LLC) and non- profit (Center for Transformative Work) organizations. Rev. Rivera has been an ordained minister since January of 1992 serving three congregations in Orlando, FL and Mount Vernon, NY (1992-2016). Orlando has taught pastoral leadership and ethics since the 1990’s on the undergraduate and graduate level, and owned a healthy fast-food business in Orlando, FL. He is a trainer and independent contractor with DeVos Leadership Initiative and an adjunct instructor in Organizational leadership at Marist College. Dr. Rivera is also in the development phase of providing accredited, affordable, church based theological education to inner city communities targeting a fall 2017 roll out. Orlando has been married for twenty-seven years and has ten children and three grandchildren.

Communicating Your Church's Story in a Noisy World, Part 1 -- Sharon Sampson  (Limited space, requires advance registration)
Sharon Sampson is passionate about telling stories that matter. A native of the Twin Cities, Sharon graduated from Princeton University in 1999. She spent 12 years on the East Coast working across non-profit, for-profit, and government sectors. This included doing political communications in D.C. and serving as a Vice President at a public relations firm in New York City. After relocating to the Twin Cities, she directed internal and external communications for a 5,000 member church, launching a department from idea stage to a five-member team that oversaw all messaging, branding, and design. Sharon has always been passionate about using communications to move people to meaningful action—and that became the heartbeat of Open Book Communications, the company she founded in 2013. Sharon saw the need for a business focused on helping mission-driven organizations engage more people in their mission. She chose the name Open Book to reinforce her own mission: to help organizations invite people into their storyOpen Book has worked with missions of all sizes: community-based nonprofits to city-wide movements, national retail brands to church capital campaigns, start-up businesses to major events with 500,000+ in attendance. In every project, Open Book’s commitment is the same: to provide hands-on leadership, breakthrough creativity, and strategic solutions that advance missions that matter. 


Activism on the Rise: How Should the Church Respond? -- Kori Porter
Kary PorterKori Porter is from Oxford, Ms and graduated from the University of Mississippi (public policy and sociology). Currently, she serves as a campus minister to the students at Princeton University. Her joy is found in discipling college-aged women, evangelizing, and teaching women the bible. She is pursuing an M.A.(TS) at Princeton Theology Seminary.



Communicating Your Church's Story in a Noisy World, Part 2 -- Sharon Sampson  (Limited space, requires advance registration)

Equipping Christians for the Marketplace: 4 Conversations Your Church Needs to Have -- Dr. Chip Roper
Chip Roper, the Director of Marketplace Engagement for The New York City Leadership Center, builds a bridge. The bridge is across the vocational divide, the disconnect many people live between their Sunday faith and their Monday reality. This compartmentalization is experienced at the individual level and is reinforced at the institutional level. Chip serves as a coach, teacher, and writer for people of faith in the workplace, and he serves as a coach and advocate to pastors who seek to understand and prepare their people for their lives at work. Chip is convinced that God’s plan for every community includes the work people do there every day. In his first year at the Leadership Center (2015), over 1,300 individuals benefited from his work. Chip has experienced this integrated vision as a small businessman, a pastor, and a career coach/consultant. In addition to his Director work, Chip writes the blog Marketplace Faith for, is the principal of Next Chapter Consulting, and serves as a lay pastor at Lower Manhattan Community Church. Chip and his wife Audrey have been married for 28 years. They have 3 daughters, Brianne 20, Abbie 18 and Devan 16. They live along the East River in the Hunters Point Queens neighborhood of New York City.


Authentic Worship -- Matthew Smith

Matthew Smith is a Nashville-based singer-songwriter who writes brand new melodies to centuries-old hymn texts, helping guide people into emotionally honest worship. He is a founding member of the Indelible Grace community, whose work has drawn acclaim across denominational lines and is used in churches around the world. Born out of a college ministry, the reimagined hymns have found wide acceptance both among college students and the church at large, joining people who desire to honor tradition with those who want a modern musical approach. His latest album is Hiding Place.


Gospel in the Suburbs: Mercy Ministries -- Tracy Troxel

Tracy TroxelTracy Troxel has served at Stone Hill Chuch Princeton for 17 of the past 28 years.  He is currently the Pastor of Congregational Care at Stone Hill Church.  Previously, Tracy has served as Sr. Pastor in Maryland and has served overseas in North Africa.  Tracy and his wife Denise have been married for 31 years and have 3 adult children. For the past three years Tracy and a team of folks from Stone Hill  have been building relationships with a combination of government agencies and other non-profits to provide better care for the 200  families that live under the poverty level in Princeton.  We have been providing Job  Coaching, Financial Coaching and financial help to hurting families.  These partnerships have been crucial in helping us be 'good neighbors' to the community of Princeton.  We continue to learn lessons and make adjustments in this work.  Yet, we have found that working together with others in our community has produced more tangible care for our community and deepened personal relationships within the community that have led to more fruitful and expanded service to our community. Tracy also leads Stone Hill's Koinonia Team.  The Koinonia team attempts to provide a context for honest and safe discussions about race within our multi-ethnic church fellowship but also in the larger community of Princeton.  These initiatives have also helped us serve our community more effectively. Outside of work Tracy and Denise love to attend the theater in NYC.  If you need tips on how to do that cheaply, call us.  Tracy also plays trumpet with the Stone Hill Brass.  Tracy's newest venture is rowing.  He attended the Learn to Row program with the Carnegie Lake Rowing Association in Princeton this past September.  He hasn't really learned to row but still goes out 3 times a week because it provides a whole new avenue for sermon illustrations.




We have extended our Early Registration Discount through October 3rd!  We anticipate a full house for the conference and encourage early registration. The price of registration will increase to $75. after October 3rd, and we will close registrations whenever we have reached full capacity. Also, we have especially structured the event to encourage attendance by leadership teams – senior pastor, worship leaders, outreach/missions leaders, strategic thinkers, elders, deacons, and more. Be sure to join us early to maximize your fellowship time and enjoy complimentary evening coffee, morning bagels, and a leisurely lunch.



open bibles


As a broadly Reformed network of churches, The Gospel Coalition encourages and educates current and next-generation Christian leaders by advocating gospel-centered principles and practices that glorify the Savior and do good to those for whom he shed his life's blood.  A biblically grounded and united mission is the only enduring future for the church.  TGC desires to champion the gospel of Jesus Christ with clarity, compassion, courage, and joy -- gladly linking hearts with fellow believers across denominational, ethnic, and class lines.  TGC invites all Christians to join them in an effort to renew the contemporary church in the ancient gospel of Christ so that we truly speak and live for him in a way that clearly communicates to our age.


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Nothing could be easier than to reach Princeton from anywhere in New Jersey, New York City or Philadelphia and its suburbs. Within 2 hours by train or car, it’s easy to travel with your team.

Driving directions to Stone Hill Church

NJ Transit schedule – Princeton Junction station on the main Northeast Corridor line, with transfer to “The Dinky” into downtown Princeton, and a short 4 mile taxi ride to Stone Hill Church.

​Need information about hotels or other car services?  Take a look at the Princeton Visitor Bureau website, or call 609.924.3816 and ask for Mary Ann.

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Download printable conference brochure (.pdf)