Keynote Speakers
We are excited to announce conference speakers that are bringing timely messages to encourage us and empower us to Forge our Future




Pastor David serves on the Executive Leadership Team at Church of the King, Mandeville, Louisiana, overseeing the multisite campus development. He also presently serves as the Campus Pastor of Church of the King’s South Shore Campus, in Metairie, Louisiana.  He advises churches on topics such as Organizational Leadership, Ministry Development, and Multisite and Church Planting Strategies. Throughout his nearly 30 years of ministry, Pastor David served in church leadership, pastoral ministry, student ministry, worship, and church planting.

He enjoys speaking and writing when he isn’t building or fixing something. He is a veteran of the United States Army and an avid outdoorsman. Pastor David has been married to his wife, Christine, for 29 years.  They live with their four children and two dogs in Metairie, Louisiana. You can reach him at and on Instagram and twitter @daviddegarmo.




Jeff Ables has been in ministry for over thirty-five years. He has served in student ministry, traveled internationally as an evangelist and led discipleship and leadership initiatives that have trained hundreds for ministry.  For the past twenty years he has served as the lead pastor of Crossroads Church in Lafayette, LA. He and his wife Donna have two grown children and one grandson. Jeff’s favorite pastimes are horseback riding, snow skiing and golf.




Wendy Buttacy is the Chief Learning Officer for Adult & Teen Challenge USA and oversees our leadership development and student curriculum initiatives.  She is an Evangel University (B.S. Biblical Studies & Psychology) & AGTS (M.A. Counseling) graduate.  Prior to joining us at the national office, Wendy spent years coaching and working in collegiate student development, leadership training, and crisis management.  Wendy also served as the Development Director at Ozarks Teen Challenge (Juvenile Boy’s Center), working in donor development, event management, staff training, and student/family curriculum.  Wendy is a contributor and author of our newest curriculum, “Intimacy with Purpose.”  Wendy’s husband, Michael, is the CEO of Ozarks Teen Challenge in Branson West, MO.   They have two adorable, energetic, and talkative children Aiden (8) and Sophia (5).




Gary Blackard is currently the President and CEO for Adult & Teen Challenge USA, a faith-based, Christ centered addiction recovery organization. Prior to this role, Gary was Vice President, Strategy & Innovation and Chief Information Officer for Evangel University. He is also an Adjunct Professor for the graduate program in Healthcare Administration at USC, a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt leader, and executive consultant. Gary has extensive global experience as Vice President for Client Operations and Strategic Services Delivery for Xerox Corporation where he led organizations as large as 700+ people and managed annual revenues of $540M.

Gary earned his B.A. in Business Administration with emphasis in Organizational Management from Vanguard University in Southern California and his Master’s in Health Administration from the University of Southern California. He also served as the chair of the board of directors for Teen Challenge USA. He has served in a variety of ministry roles including interim youth pastor, lifegroup leader, men’s ministries director, worship team member and church board trustee.

Gary and his wife Debra have been married for over twenty-eight years and have four grown children (including spouses), and two grandchildren. They currently reside in Ozark, Missouri.




Conference Schedule

May 29
Registration starts at 3pm
Dinner 6pm-6:45pm
General Session 7pm-7:50pm
10minute break
General Session 2 8pm-8:50
May 30
Breakfast 7:30-8:00
General Session 3 8:30-9:20
Breakouts 9:30-10:30
Breakout 10:45-12:15
Lunch 12:30-2:00
Break Outs 3:30-4:30
Free Evening

May 31
Breakfast 7:30-8:00
General Session 8:15-9:15
Break Outs 9:30-10:30
General Session 10:45-11:45




Breakout Sessions Announced
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Addiction In The Brain
  • Working With Adolescents
  • Adult and Teen Challenge in the Prison
  • Financial, Budgeting, How to understand where your money is going, How to grow your money
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Intimacy with Purpose: New Curriculum Training 
  • Running A Re Entry Program
  • Sexual And Moral Margins
And More to be announced!




Town Hall
One of our general sessions will be an exciting town hall with Adult and Teen Challenge Veterans
  • Greg Dill
  • Jerry Nance
  • Kathie Lowans
  • Gary Blackard
  • Darren Reynolds
We will be sending out a form shortly for you guys to submit questions for the town hall.



Register Here

Stay tuned for some tips on sights to see and restaurants to enjoy while your in The Big Easy



Click Here For Special Hotel Rate $139.00 Deadline For This Rate May 8

For more information call Sandy at 318-648-2426 extension 601