Humanitarian Disaster Institute to Host 4th Annual Disaster Ministry Conference

May 13, 2016

The Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) will host the 4th annual Disaster Ministry Conference at the Meyer Science Center on the campus of Wheaton College on June 7-10, 2016. 

“The purpose of our conference is to equip church and lay leaders to lead their congregations in preparing for disasters and in serving those affected, as well as to foster collaboration between churches and other organizations,” says Dr. Jamie Aten, HDI’s founder and co-director.

The event will feature global leaders in the fields of disaster ministry, emergency management, humanitarian aid, public health, and mental health. “Caring for the Vulnerable” is this year’s theme. In alignment with the theme, topics to be addressed will include discussions on refugee care, meeting the unique needs of people with disabilities and of children during and following disasters and more. 

“Disasters are unrelenting in this fallen world—whether it’s tsunamis, hurricanes or active shooters, there always seems to be something that calls for a response from the people of God. HDI has become a global leader in helping the church respond to humanitarian disasters of all kinds,” says Dr. Philip Ryken, president of Wheaton College. 

Bishop Efraim Tendero, secretary general/CEO of the World Evangelical Alliance, will be the keynote speaker this year. “This conference is vital to help the church understand how it can better be the hands and feet of Jesus in a disaster,” he says. “I look forward to sharing my heart with attendees and know that God is going to use the vital information that both I and my fellow conference speakers have to share in order to help ministries wrap their heads around what it takes to minister to their communities after a disaster."

With a special focus on the current refugee crisis as a result of the atrocities taking place in the Middle East, the conference will also offer several breakout sessions, a workshop, and a special event/panel on the church and the refugee crisis led by Ed Stetzer, who was recently appointed to the Billy Graham Distinguished Endowed Chair for Church, Mission, and Evangelism and was named Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College (BGCE). 

Featured speakers also include the following experts: Sheryl Haw, international director for Micah Global; Kent Annan, author of Slow Kingdom Coming and co-director and co-founder of Haiti Partners; Dr. Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, health psychologist and owner/editor-in-chief of Praeclarus Press; Hugh Heinrichsen, pastor of Spiritual Formation at Redeemer's Fellowship who will be talking about his church's response to the Umpqua Community College mass shooting and Rev. David Myers, director of the Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. 

“With expertise from speakers on topics critical to providing care for the vulnerable, participants will gain new knowledge, skills and networks for effectively leading their congregations in developing disaster ministries and becoming more resilient,” says Dr. Aten. 

For a full list of speakers and the conference schedule visit Continuing education credits are available for mental health professionals. 

HDI is the first social science research center in the country devoted to the study of faith and disasters. More information about the Humanitarian Disaster Institute is available at