Rumors of the church’s demise are highly exaggerated! Contrary to popular opinion, the local church is not dead! As a matter of fact, at this year’s conference we will argue the antithesis – the local church is very much alive and necessary in today’s collapsing culture!

We’ve heard it all: How in light of social media and online accessibility to your favorite preacher and ministry anywhere in the world – who needs a local church? How Christianity in America, particularly among Millennials is decreasing daily in its popularity. In spite of all the aforementioned realities and differing opinions, one thing remains unchanged – that precious Palestinian Jew named Jesus, the progenitor of the church said, and I quote “…upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.”

This year’s conference will be special on many levels! First, the year 2020 marks the 20th year of our church’s existence and the 10th year of our Senior Pastor and Leading Lady covering pastors and their spouses from across the globe. Speaking of Senior Pastors and spouses, we’ve got great news for our first timers! This year, Dr. and Lady Vernon are having a ‘First Timers’ session where they will break down the basics of church growth and what Dr. Vernon calls ‘GROWTH KILLERS!’ If that’s not enough we’ve got another wrinkle for you; we’re investing in travel buses to escort all Senior Pastors to tour and be taught at both our Downtown and Akron campuses.

This year, in addition to Dr. and Lady Vernon, we are expanding our coast by inviting international speaker and author, Dr. Samuel Chand, who’s known for his exceptional pedagogy and powerful principles on leadership in both the sacred and secular communities. But that’s not all! While you’re here, we thought we’d model our Matthew25Alive theme of outreach by having a citywide FREE concert featuring two of Gospel Music’s best: JJ Hairston and James Fortune!  You will witness firsthand the power of blessing thousands of people of many of whom could not afford to enjoy an event of this magnitude and talent.

It is our belief that every church can and should do outreach (Matthew 25 Alive Ministry) at whatever level you’re able. Jesus said in Matthew 25:35-36 (NLT) 35 “For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36  I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.”

This year we’re so excited to walk you through what we do to help our city from our Pantry to our Prison and Reentry Ministry, our free concerts, citywide giveaways and all that we do to show by word and deed – Mathew25Alive. THE CHURCH IS NOT DEAD!



R.A. Vernon, D.Min. is the founder and senior pastor of The Word Church, one of the fastest- growing churches in the history of Cleveland with campuses and daughter churches throughout Northeast Ohio. In his twentieth year of pastoring and tenth year of leading and fathering pastors and churches across the nation, he has committed his life unequivocally to honoring God and helping people. He has a Diploma of Theology, a Masters of Practical Theology, and a Doctor of Ministry with a concentration in church growth all from Ashland Theological Seminary. Dr. Vernon is hopelessly in love with his wife of over 20 years; Lady Victory Rose Vernon and they have five awesome children.


Victory Rose Vernon has been the loving Leading Lady of The Word Church for two decades. She handsomely handles the tall task of being the faithful wife of one, the committed mother of five, mentor to hundreds and First Lady to thousands who stand in line weekly at three campuses in hopes of spending just a few intimate moments with her. Coupled with that, she has passionately pursued formal pedagogy, obtaining a Bachelor of Social Work from Capitol University, a Masters of Practical Theology from Ashland Theological Seminary, and has officially completed her course work and dissertation in pursuit of her Doctorate degree. If all goes well during her Defense, she will receive her Doctor of Ministry from Ashland Theological Seminary in the Spring of 2020.



Leadership architect and consultant, author, change strategist, speaker – also known as a dream releaser. “My life’s vision is helping others succeed” – Samuel Chand.


National Recording Artist James Fortune’s power when it comes to spreading the Gospel thru song is his ability to be transparent and feature life scenarios as the centerpiece of his songwriting. The single “I Trust You” went on to become number one in the country for 29 consecutive weeks – a streak that hadn’t been experienced for a gospel song.


National Recording Artist J.J. Hairston continues to make waves in the Gospel Music Industry while garnering national and international recognition with 6 Stellar Gospel Music Awards, a Billboard Music Award, and an ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Award.


At this year’s conference, Dr. Vernon will discuss enriching topics where you can expect transforming information and instruction that will propel your ministry to the next level. Because of Dr. Vernon’s 20 plus years of pastoring, he will provide instruction that will steer you clear of some pitfalls, deflate myths that’s killing your ministry. You should also come expecting to learn how we’ve become ‘Intentionally Intergenerational’ in our 20th year – fighting to meet the needs of every age group in our ministry, how we are committed to the Matthew 25 Alive ministry. There’s more; if you’ve joined us before for GOTS, or you may have traveled on your own to see our different campuses, this year we have invested in travel buses to escort ALL Senior Pastors to tour and be taught at both our Downtown and Akron campuses. What an awakening experience you will have receive!

Senior pastors will also be trained by Dr. Samuel Chand. The world-renowned leadership architect, author and speaker. Dr. Chand personally consults, mentors and coaches the pastors of some of the country’s largest churches. He speaks regularly at leadership conferences, churches and corporations, and at this year’s conference he’ll provide tactics that are sure to leave you prepared for the world ahead!

Leading Ladies Victory Sessions – Today’s issues and challenges that come with working, being a wife, mother, mentor – while at the same time filling the role of Leading Lady in ministry, can sometimes make you feel as though you’re losing!  These sessions with Lady Victory Vernon will be permeated with a scholarly womanist perspective – mixed with real, raw and relevant practical principles that will help you not only survive but thrive as a Leading Lady.  You will be reminded that losing is not an option!

During this conference, leaders will encounter an interactive, up-close learning experience with – Dr. Samuel Chand a world-renowned leadership architect, change strategist also known as a dream releaser. “My life’s vision is helping others succeed” – Samuel Chand.

Also training the leaders this year will be Dr. Vernon! Yes! This year you will have the opportunity to hear directly from Dr. Vernon. He will train, guide and equip leaders with tangible tools to help you and your Pastor with the wear and tear that comes with ministry. “Help! My Pastor’s Under Pressure” will be unpacked where you’re ready to offer hope and help to your Pastor and ministry!

The youth will have an awesome experience at this year’s 2020 GOTS conference. Knowing firsthand the pressures and demands of being PKs, our very own First Family Children have planned and prepared sessions that will provide a retreat from the norm as well as equip and empower youth in their walk during this conference.

Music & Media Session – during this bonus session you will see the ‘What and How of Music and Media’ on a larger scale of ministry. We will share with you how we operate three campuses in three cities simultaneously each week. What it takes to enhance your praise & worship experience, in-service videos, TV Broadcast and much more. You name it, we’ve got you covered!

First Timer’s Session –Dr. and Lady Vernon will kick off this year’s conference with the ‘First Timers’ session with Senior Pastors and their spouses, where they will break down the basics of church growth and what Dr. Vernon calls ‘GROWTH KILLERS!’ An exclusive session to bring our first-time guests up to speed!

Outreach Opportunity – We’ll be modeling ‘Matthew 25 Alive’ – hosting a FREE citywide concert, featuring two of gospel music’s best – JJ Hairston and James Fortune! Yes! You read that right! We’ll be blessing our city like we’ve done for nearly 20 years with two nationally known, chart-topping artists together, on our main stage! You will get to experience a wonderful night of praise and worship! All because of the power of tithes and offerings! Amazing!


Check in + Tours3 PMCheck in + Tours
Opening Session with Dr Vernon7 PMOpening Session with Dr Vernon
*Youth After Party - Following Opening Session*Youth After Party – Following Opening Session
Bonus Session: 1st Timers with Dr. Vernon7 AM - 8 AMBonus Session: 1st Timers with Dr. Vernon
Intercessory Prayer7 AM - 7:50 AMIntercessory Prayer
General Session II- State of the Conference8 AM - 9:15 AMGeneral Session II- State of the Conference
Seniors Pastors travel to offsite campus9:15 AMSeniors Pastors travel to offsite campus
Breakout Session I9:30 AM - 11:30 AMBreakout Session I
General Session III11:45- 12:30 PMGeneral Session III
Lunch & Vending Expo12:30- 2 PMLunch & Vending Expo
Seniors Pastors travel to offsite campus2 PMSeniors Pastors travel to offsite campus
Breakout Session II2:30 PM- 3:15 PMBreakout Session II
Vending Expo3:15 PMVending Expo
Citywide FREE Concert7 PMCitywide FREE Concert
Bonus Session: Music & Media7:45 AM - 8:55 AMBonus Session: Music & Media
Intercessory Prayer8 AM - 8:55 AMIntercessory Prayer
Breakout Session III9 AM - 10:30 AMBreakout Session III
Vendor Expo10:30 AM -11 AMVendor Expo
Closing Session11 AMClosing Session


Our main campus includes two buildings; the main building and an annex called the Dr. R. A. Vernon Building. The main building is 160,000 square feet with a theater-style sanctuary, administrative offices, and multipurpose space, café area with restaurant-style seating area, Fireside Hall, which is used to host various events and fellowships. This building also includes an expansive athletics division housed in our sports multi-plex; complete with two turf-covered fields, a billiards hall, and a gym that has three full basketball courts – providing a venue for all sorts of sports activities including football, boxing, and soccer. The Dr. R. A. Vernon Building is home to our teens and young adults with their very own Jr. Sanctuary, and the children’s wing. With multiple levels of classrooms, The Dr. R. A. Vernon Building is a versatile space accommodating a variety of ministry activities, services, and events. Feel free to tour each building while you’re here to see the newly renovated space.


18909 South Miles Road
Warrensville Heights, OH 44128


Dr. R.A. Vernon, Lady Victory Vernon, Dr. Samuel Chand, JJ Hairston, James Fortune.

Date & Time

June 24th - 26th, 2020


Here is a list of answers to frequently asked questions about the conference.

When is the event?

Wednesday, June 24th at 6pm through Friday, June 26th

Where is the event located?

The Word Church (Main Campus – 18909 S Miles Rd Warrensville Heights, OH 44128)

When can attendees arrive?

Onsite conference check-in begins Wednesday, June 24 @ 3 pm

Who can attend?

This conference is for Pastors & Spouse, Leaders, and Youth

What is the registration fee for the conference?

Please click here for the Conference cost

How can attendees register for the event?

    • Attendees are to register online HERE
    • Registrants can also access this site through www.wordcity.org.
    • All registrations must be completed online.

Will there be onsite registration?

We recommend you register now because space is limited.

Can registration be transferred to another party?

No. Registrations are nontransferable, and will only be honored for the original registrants.

Is there a refund policy?

*Refund Policy: To provide continued value, we will not offer refunds or exchanges. All registrations are final.

How can members of The Shepherds Connection get their discount?

Please contact the GOTS team via GOTS@wordcity.org

Will childcare be provided?

Childcare is for active SC Pastors and Spouses only.

Is there a conference hotel or block of rooms available?

Please see our “Hotels” section

Will airport transportation be provided?

No. Attendees must arrange their own round trip airport transportation.

What is the dress code?

Casual and/or business casual

Will breakfast and lunch be provided?

Although Breakfast will not be provided at the conference coffee stations will be provided and Food Vendors will be on-site for participants to purchase lunch

Are there any vendor opportunities?

Please contact the GOTS Team via vendor@wordcity.org

Are campus tours of The Word Church available during the conference?


Will there be an opportunity to purchase DVD’s and Dr. Vernon’s book?

    • Yes. Attendees may visit our onsite bookstore, Word Everything, to make purchases.
    • Attendees may also make online purchases at www.wordcity.org.

Is Wi-Fi available?

Complimentary Wifi will be limited depending on location

Great speakers with great topics. Join with us!

starting price 199$

Early Bird Pricing

Senior Pastor & Spouse $299

Senior Pastor or First Spouse only – $199

Individual Leaders- $50

Youth (13-18 yrs. old) $25



We recommend the following hotels.

**Top Recommendation Cle-Marriott East**26300 Harvard Road Warrensville Heights, OH 44122 216-378-9191
Embassy Suites Cle-Beachwood3775 Park East Drive Beachwood Ohio 44122 216-765-8066 includes breakfast, Onsite conference check in. (Click hotel name for direct booking)
Ritz Carlton1515 West Third street Cleveland OH 44113 216-623-1300 Located in the Downtown Cleveland Area
Residence Inn Beachwood3628 Park East Drive Beachwood Ohio 44122 216-831-3030 includes continental breakfast Onsite conference check in

Contact Us

E: gots@wordcity.org
P: +(216) 332-9673

Give us a call, we endeavor to answer all inquiries.

We are open from 9.00 AM — 4.00 PM Tuesday to Thursday EST.

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