Southwestern Seminary professor Madison Grace was chosen to discuss his paper on the topic of the church and human flourishing during the annual Acton University Conference in Grand Rapids, Mich., June 20-23. The Acton Institute, a think-tank centered on faith, work and economics, hosts the annual event and invites international Christian leaders including business executives, university professors and academic researchers.

Acton University attracts attendees from more than 75 countries and diverse Christian backgrounds. This year included seven Southwestern faculty and Southern Baptist leaders. More than 100 lectures were presented on topics including philosophy, theology, public policy, business and economics.

Grace, associate professor of Baptist history and theology, attended for the first time this year as an Oikonomia Network fellow, a fellowship that provides support for a number of evangelical theological educators to attend the annual conference. In a lecture, June 23, Grace spoke on the church as the place for human flourishing and presented a paper on the topic. “In this paper, I briefly traced the philosophical, theological and biblical ideas of flourishing leading to a working definition of it that then was related to the concept of the church,” Grace says.

Reflecting on the unique nature of the conference, Grace says Acton University distinguishes itself in the way its structure facilitates better discussion and networking opportunities for both participants and speakers. “Acton University was one of the best conferences that I have been to for many reasons, but the one that stands out to me the most is the scheduling of discussion, in sessions and outside of them,” Grace says. “Having plenty of question-and-answer times after the speaker has finished is greatly helpful.”

“Not having to rush off to another session engenders further discussion,” Grace adds. “I also appreciated the ability to network with others around the globe, cross discipline, and in an intentionally multi-vocational atmosphere.”