2024 Keynotes


All Times are Eastern (ET)


Wednesday, 7:00 pm 
Cry Mercy

Michael Gantt

Pastor, Author, Speaker

Michael has served in pastoral ministry for fifty-three years. Forty-three of those years were served in one pulpit – Agape Christian Fellowship, Brattleboro, Vermont. In 2017, he retired from his position as Lead Pastor, turning the reins of the church over to his oldest son, Michael Bryan. Michael now serves as Pastor Emeritus and is still very active in the life of the church. He is married to Barbara, his wife of fifty-four years, and they have five children and seventeen grandchildren.

In addition to his continued work with Agape Fellowship, Michael travels extensively speaking at mission conferences, writers’ conferences, and local churches. He acts as a mentor/advisor to several pastors up and down the east coast from Maine to Florida. He is the author of seven books including such titles as Makutano, Over and Above, and Old Paths and Ancient Markers. 

Pastor Michael and his son Bryan are currently working to build a coalition of like-minded churches covering the states of Vermont and New Hampshire to train evangelists to reach men for the Kingdom of God. The stated goal is to get the ministry center out of the pulpit and into the pews, releasing men into the harvest fields for a new wave of evangelism in the least “churched” states in the union. 

The fall of American is at hand. Michael’s keynote is based on Cry Mercy, his must-read book for everyone concerned about the path our nation is on. Just as God spoke through the Old Testament prophets to warn His people to return to Him, I believe He has given Michael an urgent message for us today. 

Thursday, 9:45 am

What is the Role of Christian Writers in Our Culture

Kara Bettis Carvalho
Ideas Editor, Christianity Today
Freelance Writer, Journalist, Storyteller

Kara is the Ideas Editor at Christianity Today and a freelance writer on topics of religion and culture. She has a bachelor’s in media studies and a master of arts in theology. A religion journalist by training, Kara especially focuses on profile features and has won several awards and fellowship grants.

Kara is also a storyteller. She believes everyone has a story worth telling. “The art of telling our stories is a skill: from social media to personal branding to writing a book or essay. And it’s a skill we can learn.”

Kara lives in coastal Rhode Island with her husband, Shane. In our free time, we enjoy CrossFit, serving in our local church, hanging out with college students, and reading.

Christians believe that we have a God-given role to shape the world around us. And as writers, we have a direct way to be salt and light in a broken world through our words. From being a witness to our watching world, to offering practical examples of how to better love our neighbor, Christian writers can engage difficult topics with truth and grace.


Thursday, 7:00 pm

The Truth, the Whole Truth, Nothing But the Truth

Tim Riter

Author, Pastor, Speaker, Teacher

Tim has served as a preaching pastor for over 20 years. He has a MA in Ministry and MA in Communication. He taught high school English for eleven years including five years teaching AP English Language (focus on style and persuasion). He also has sixteen years experience as an adjunct professor teaching Composition and Commnication on both the graduate and undergraduate level. Tim has ten royalty published books in Christian nonfiction with total sales of 115,000 that have been translated into eight languages. His blog, Unconventional, has an audience of 15,000.

In our lives, in our writing, we need to speak truth regardless of the cost.


Friday, 9:45 am

Mermaids, Unicorns, and Christian Writers

Jim Watkins

Editor, Family & Friends Micro-Publishing

Jim is the author of twenty traditionally published books and over 3,000 articles. He has served as an editor, university instructor of writing and conference speaker. Most of all, he is a beloved child of God, husband, dad and “Papaw” to eight grandchildren.


We will take an honest look at the differences between “Christian Writers” and “Christians Who Write.” The latter have different goals, motivations and definitions of success.

Friday, 7:00 pm

Courage for Dry Bones 

Terry Brennan
Author, terrybrennanauthor.com

A Pulitzer Prize is one of the many awards Terry Brennan accumulated during his twenty-two-year newspaper career. The Pottstown (PA) Mercury won a Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for a two-year series of editorials published while Brennan was the newspaper’s editor.

In 1996 Brennan transitioned into the nonprofit sector, spending twelve years as VP Operations for The Bowery Mission and six years as Chief Administrative Officer for Care for the Homeless, NYC nonprofits that serve homeless people.

Terry began writing fiction in 2005. His first novel, The Sacred Cipher, was released by Kregel Publications in July, 2009. Responding to many reader requests, Brennan wrote a sequel, The Brotherhood Conspiracy, which was released by Kregel in June, 2013, and what became the Jerusalem Prophecies series was concluded with The Aleppo Code in October, 2015. The Aleppo Code won ACFW’s 2016 Carol Award as the best mystery/suspense novel of the year.

Brennan’s second fiction series, the Empires of Armageddon, was released in its entirety by Kregel Publications in 2020: Ishmael Covenant on February 18, Persian Betrayal on July 28 and the concluding novel, Ottoman Dominion, on November 17.

Terry and his wife, Andrea, live in western Connecticut.

Writing is often a long, lonely journey with fear, doubt, and anxiety as our only companions. But God calls us to “be strong and courageous.” A Carol-award winning author of suspense thrillers, Terry takes us on a quest to find God’s blueprint for courage, regardless of our destination.

Saturday, 9:45 am 


Amy Marie Bartlett







Saturday, 4:45 pm

The Glory of Story

Linda Evans Shepherd

Author, Speaker, www.LindaEvansShepherd.com
Publisher, Leading Hearts magazine  
CEO, Advanced Writers & Speakers Assc. (AWSA)
Founder, Arise Esther Movement
Blog, GotToPray.com 

Linda is an award-winning author of thirty-eight books, including her latest,"Praying Through Hard Times.from Baker Revell. A former TV host, her profound insights and compelling stories make her a sought-after speaker, engaging audiences worldwide. She also hosts “The Prayer Investigator” on YouTube, exploring prayer stories. As publisher of Leading Hearts magazine, Linda earned top 2023 Evangelical Press Awards for her prayer column and feature article, “The Flashlight Revival.” and the Leading Hearts magazine won the Award of Excellence for the Christian Digital Ministry Magazine and the 2024 for Christian Ministry Magazine in print. Founder of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Linda mentors 1,000 Christian authors and speakers, fostering a vibrant community with top training and conferences, including events at both NRB and CPE.


Linda shares “gold” as she leads her audience on a journey of storytelling excellence. Discover the art of crafting powerful personal narratives without succumbing to the temptation of seeking self-pity. Linda’s vibrant presentation weaves not only the story and storytelling of Jesus, but her personal anecdotes with practical guidance, empowering writers to shed grief and bitterness, and unlocking their ability to deliver life-changing messages. She helps writers to dig for their storytelling gold so that they can captivate their readers with stories that will resonate and change lives.