Disaster Ministry Conference

In the past, the Humanitarian Disaster Institute has hosted a Disaster Ministry Conference that builds networks with and among church and lay leaders, disaster researchers, professionals in emergency management, disaster relief, and humanitarian aid, and more.

NOTE: HDI is not planning on hosting another Disaster Ministry Conference at this time. 

Disaster Ministry Conference | Wheaton Bible Church | June 21-23, 2019 with theme: Do Justice Love Mercy Walk Humbly, tagline: Lead your church and community to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly alongside those who are in the midst of or recovering from disasters.


The Disaster Ministry Conference equips church and lay leaders to serve amid disasters (e.g., natural disasters, refugee crises, mass shootings, acts of terrorism) domestically and internationally. The event features global leaders in disaster ministry, emergency management, humanitarian aid, public health, and mental health fields. Participants gain new knowledge, skills, and networks for effectively engaging and responding to disasters and the justice issues that surround them.

Who Should Attend?

Anyone interested in helping their church or community become more resilient in a disaster-ridden world should join us. Many leaders from organizations that work alongside churches and communities facing disasters attend. The conference is also a great place to network with those involved in disaster ministry, humanitarian aid, and emergency management.


Past keynote speakers include:

9 DMC Speakers

Eugene Cho, founder and visionary of One Day's Wages, as well as founder and senior pastor of Quest Church in Seattle
Jo Anne Lyon, vice president of Wesley Seminary in Marion, Indiana
Richard Stearns, president of World Vision United States
Marcus Coleman, acting deputy director, DHS Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships
Miriam Burnett, pastor of New Bethel A.M.E. Church in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, as well as president of Resource And Promotion of Health Alliance, Inc. 
Emily Gray, senior vice president of US ministries, World Relief
Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College  
Kent Annan, cofounder of Haiti Partners and HDI Senior Fellow
Dr. Jamie Aten, founder and executive director of Humanitarian Disaster Institute

Last year, we offered DisasterRefugeeAnti-Human Trafficking, and Development Ministry Tracks led by experts in each field. Breakout speakers included:

Shayne Moore, author, "Refuse to Do Nothing: Finding Your Power to Abolish Modern-Day Slavery"
Simone Halpin, executive director, Naomi's House
Beth Luthye, anti-human trafficking coordinator and grants manager, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries
Raleigh Sadler, founder and executive director, Let My People Go Network
Matthew Soerens, US director of church mobilization, World Relief
Jean Pierre Gatera, pastor and missionary, International Association for Refugees
Christine MacMillan, associate secretary general for public engagement, World Evangelical Alliance
Bob Laarman, director of Disaster Response Services, World Renew
Julie Yurko, president and CEO, Northern Illinois Food Bank
Kevin King, executive director, Mennonite Disaster Service
David Maack, emergency management coordinator, Racine County, WI
Gabriel Garriga, community preparedness officer for FEMA Region 5 
Kevin Schaller, adjunct faculty in the Emergency Management-Homeland Security program, Truckee Meadows College
Jenny Dyer, executive director, Hope Through Healing Hands
Elizabeth Frank, associate director of planning, monitoring, evaluation and humanitarian programs, Church World Service

Pricing & Registration

Stay tuned...


5 pm - 6 pm: Registration & Social Networking/Refreshments

6 pm - 6:30 pm: Welcome & Worship

6:30 pm - 8 pm: Main Stage Session 1

  • Keynote: Eugene Cho
  • Spotlight on Refugee Ministry: Interview with Pastor Jean Pierre Gatera, International Association for Refugees

8:30 - 9 am: Breakfast snacks, coffee, & networking

9 am - 11:05 am: Main Stage Session 2

  • Devotional: Dr. Margaret Diddams, provost, Wheaton College
  • Keynote: Kent Annan
  • Spotlight on Disaster Relief in Puerto Rico: David Melber, president, Send Relief
  • Keynote: Emily Gray
  • Panel Discussion on Development Ministry with Renee Pollino (My Half of the Sky), Sandra Helm (Dignity4Girls) & Dana Doll (Treetops Collective)

11:05 - 11:15 am: Refreshment Break

11:15 am - 12:15 pm: Breakout Session 1

  • "Faith in Action: Faith-Based Disaster Relief from Your Backyard to Around the World," David Maack, Kevin Schaller, Gabriel Garriga
  • "The Mother & Child Project: Advocacy and Health," Dr. Jenny Dyer
  • "How Your Church Can Fight Human Trafficking," Raleigh Sadler
  • "When Justice is the Measure," Christine MacMillan

12:15 pm - 2 pm: Boxed Lunch (included in registration price) & Exhibitors

2 pm - 3 pm: Main Stage Session 3

  • Keynote: Dr. Jamie Aten
  • Spotlight on Disaster Ministry: Interview with Sharon Davis, executive director of Oakdale Community Development Corporation (OCDC) at Oakdale Covenant Church in Chicago, IL

3 pm - 3:15 pm: Refreshment Break

3:15 pm - 4:15 pm: Breakout Session 2

  • "Disaster Recovery: Why Does It Take So Long?" Bob Laarman
  • "Fragility, Floods, Dignity: Development & Action," Beth Frank
  • "Mobilizing Communities Against Human Trafficking," Shayne Moore
  • "Thinking Biblically about Refugees & Immigration," Matthew Soerens

4:15 pm - 4:30 pm: Refreshment Break

4:30 pm - 6 pm: Main Stage Session 3

  • Keynote: Richard Stearns
  • Interview with Richard Stearns

8:30 - 9 am: Breakfast snacks, coffee, & networking

9 am - 11 am: Main Stage Session 4

  • Devotional: Dr. Philip Ryken, president, Wheaton College
  • Keynote: Dr. Jo Anne Lyon
  • Spotlight on Church Disaster Ministry
  • Keynote: Ed Stetzer
  • Spotlight on Post-Deployment Debriefing: Dr. Cheryl Novas

11 am - 11:15 am: Refreshment Break

11:15 am - 12:15 pm: Breakout Session 3

  • "Leveraging Volunteers to Act, Love and Walk," Kevin King
  • "If Your Well Runs Dry: Burnout in Development Work," Marsha Vaughn
  • "Ethical Advocacy: Are You Doing Right as You Fight?," Beth Luthye
  • "Understanding the Role of the Church in the Refugee Crisis of the 21st Century," Pastor Jean Pierre Gatera

12:15 pm - 2 pm: Boxed Lunch (included in registration price) & Exhibitors

2 pm - 3 pm: Main Stage Session 5

  • Keynote: Marcus Coleman
  • Spotlight on Human Trafficking: Simone Halpin, executive director, Naomi's House

3 pm - 3:30 pm: Refreshment Break & Networking

3:30 pm - 4:30 pm: Breakout Session 4

  • "Life After Sex Trafficking: What Is Needed to Heal," Simone Halpin
  • "Disaster Relief and Food Insecurity," Julie Yurko & Patrick Crawford
  • "Partnering with the Refugee Church in Africa," Jacob Tornga
  • "Reframing! Lessons from Immigrant/Refugee Families," Dr. Martha Strickland

4:30 pm - 5:30 pm: Main Stage Session 6

  • Keynote: Miriam Burnett


Disaster Ministry Conference organizers will not assume responsibility for providing or paying for any transportation needs for participants.

Wheaton is accessible from either O'Hare International Airport (ORD) or Midway (MDW). 

We do not suggest taking public transportation from either airport, as it takes twice as long and involves multiple steps. If you are not able to drive from the airport, we encourage you to contact a ground transportation company for a more direct route instead.

When contacting the companies below, mention that you are a guest of Wheaton College to qualify for any applicable discounts. Wheaton College does not endorse any specific company.

Airport Express: 800.284.3826
American Taxi: 630.790.8294
West Suburban: 630.668.9600


Disaster Ministry Conference organizers will not assume responsibility for securing or paying for any housing/lodging needs for participants. We have reserved blocks of rooms at several nearby hotels at special discounted rates. 

Holiday Inn & Suites Chicago - Carol Stream (2.4 miles away)
150 S. Gary Ave. Carol Stream, IL 60188
Call (preferred) or book online with the code DMW or refer to the Wheaton College rate of $94.95/night + tax (rate available until 6/1)
Shuttle service will be available from the hotel to the church.

Hampton Inn Carol Stream (2 miles away)
205 W. North Ave. Carol Stream, IL 60188
Call (preferred) or book online with the code WCC or refer to the Wheaton College rate of $99/night + tax (rate available until 5/24)
Please note that this hotel does not offer a shuttle; you will need a car or Uber/taxi to get to the church from this hotel.

Visa Information

Disaster Ministry Conference organizers will not assume responsibility for securing any Visa for any international participants interested in attending. It is your responsibility to secure the Visa. We will provide a letter stating that you have paid the registration fee and include information on conference dates, so you can work toward that end. We are not able to issue an invitation letter.

If, after registering, you are not granted a Visa to travel, Disaster Ministry Conference organizers will reimburse you for your registration following our reimbursement policy procedure, which is full amount up until 30 days prior to the event. After that, we are unable to reimburse your registration fee.


World Renew Disaster Response Services Banner Purple Green   Hope Through Healing Hands logoSend Relief logoPresbyterian Disaster Assistance logo

World Hope InternationalChurch Mutual Insurance | Creating Greater Good

The Evangelical Covenant Church | Love Mercy Do JusticeCrown College logo

AM 1160 | Hope For Your Life

InterVarsity Press logo

Accord network logo

FEMA logo and seal

Samaritan's Purse International Relief logo

Lutheran Social Services of Illinois LogoNazarene Compassionate Ministries logo

Mennonite Disaster Service Logo Blue White    Thrivent Be Wise With Money Logo Humanitarian Disaster Institute Page

If you would like to find out more about being one of our conference sponsors, please send an email to hdi@wheaton.edu or call 630.752.7659.
As a matter of College policy, all potential sponsorships are reviewed by the College’s administration to ensure that they are consistent with the College’s mission and vision. Because the College is a Christian organization, we are unable to partner with organizations that represent other faiths.