Where curious people engaged in faith formation go to connect, learn, worship & discover
Sponsored by Christians Engaged in Faith Formation (CEF)  


"What are you looking for?"

Inspiration? Ideas? Hope? A new direction? Whatever you're searching for in your ministry, others are too. Let's be curious together.


"Why are you looking for the living amongst the dead?"

Drained? Need new life in your programs or yourself? Life-giving opportunities for answers await you.


"Who is my neighbor?"

Got something to share? What can you offer others? Share your experience and ideas to shine a light on how we can meet the needs around us. 


"Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?"

Are you ready to be bold and energize your ministry? Leave for home renewed and ready to tackle the big questions.


Brian McLaren

Best-selling author, speaker, activist and public theologian

John Roberto

Intergenerational faith formation expert, writer, speaker & trainer

Mary Scifres

Worship and leadership author, speaker, teacher & coach

Bishop Laurie Haller

Bishop, Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church; author

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey

Bishop, Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church

Bishop Tracy Smith Malone

Bishop, East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church

Also Featuring Sessions by...

Rosanna Anderson ● B.J. Beu  Barbara Bruce ● Sherry Bryant-Johnson ● Mark Burrows ● EvaMarie Campbell ● Paula Gradney-Garner ● Jane Cheema ● Linda Duback ● Christine Hides ● Karen Covey Moore ● Brenda Buckwell ● Emily Delikat ● Eric Drew ● Beth Fender ● Angelina Goldwell ● Mary Alice Gran ● Lyle Griener Scott Hughes ● Angela Johnson ● Kristin Johnson ● Carol Krau Randy Litchfield ● R. Ben Marshall ● Robert Martin ● Sharon McCart ● Patty Meyers and Pfeiffer University students (Andy Asbury ● Emily James ● Tony Kindred) ● Melissa Miller ● Kathryn Pittenger ● Lee Roorda Schott Jack Seymour ● Hanna Schock ● Joellyn Tuttle ● Erin Patrick ● Lynne Westfield ● Chris Wilterdink ● And…well, stay curious!

Closing Concert

Carrie Newcomer


Schedule (Tues., Oct. 9 - Fri., Oct. 12, 2018)

With times for learning, prayer, reflection, worship and self-care (and of course food!) you'll have plenty of opportunities for making connections and renewing friendships.

  • Registration Opens: opens on Oct. 9 @ 10 AM
  • Pre-event activities: begin Oct. 9 @ 1 PM
  • Opening banquet: Oct. 9 @ 6 PM
  • Conference ends: Oct. 12 @ 9:30ish PM
  • Full schedule: Click here

Breakouts ("Curiosity Classes")

45 options to choose from in ministry specializations such as children's ministry, social media and technology, music, sports ministry, and many others.

Check out the breakout sessions here.

No preregistration for these sessions is required, so that you can feel free to go to the ones you're most interested. We do recommend that you come with a plan for those that interest you most, as some rooms do have limited seating space.


Featuring creative and engaging services, led by strong national ministry leaders and planned by Mary Scifres and an outstanding team. If your usual Sunday responsibilities make it hard to enjoy worship, you'll have several opportunities to refresh your spirit and connect with God.

Special Events

Daily activities will offer you chances to experience Des Moines, engage in deeper learning, take a break from everything, and awaken your curiosity. In addition, we'll celebrate the 50th anniversary of CEF (Christians Engaged in Faith Formation) at a special banquet.


Accommodations & Event

Marriott Des Moines Downtown Hotel  
Des Moines, Iowa

  • Rate: $154 per night (approx. $172 with taxes/fees)
  • Rooms sleep up to 4 persons at this price.
  • King rooms are now sold out, but you will still see that option when you book. Please choose the Double option.
  • To register, call reservations at 1-800-228-9290 and reference "Christians Engaged in Faith Formation." To register online, book your room here.
  • Want to find a roommate? Email Nicole, nicole@fumcames.org.

Des Moines? Really? #NotToBrag, but both it and Iowa are pretty darn awesome. Catch Des Moines...it’s entirely unexpected.

5 Great Reasons to Stay at the Conference Hotel

  • Roll out of bed, and Starbucks is one button away on the elevator.

  • When you decide you should have put on your comfy shoes, they'll be close by.
  • Need a nap? Don't waste time and money taking an Uber somewhere else.
  • Late night conversations at the lobby bar - or one of the many nearby restaurants - make your conference more memorable.
  • But seriously, your design team has worked hard to keep the conference hotel rates low. Workshop, plenary and worship spaces are allocated based on rooms booked by overnight guests. That's why we strongly urge you to reserve your room at the conference hotel to ensure that we have meeting space at no cost. The guest rooms have just undergone a major multi-million dollar remodel, and it's a beautiful facility. Don't listen to Captain Kirk (an Iowan, by the way) and search elsewhere. By staying at the Marriott with us, you help make this an even better event for you!

That red building? We'll be there.

Transportation & Getting Around

The Des Moines International Airport is easy to get to, with non-stop flights from many of the nation's largest cities. Fly Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, or United airlines. The airport is a short drive, free shuttle ride, or taxi cab/Uber/Lyft ride to downtown.

Thinking of driving? You might be surprised at how much of the U.S. is only a day's drive away. Iowa is beautiful in the fall, with many wonderful places to go! Valet and offsite parking is available at or very near the hotel for an additional cost (approx. $15/day offsite; $24/day come & go at hotel). 

Downtown Des Moines is filled with skywalks that connect the hotel to dozens of restaurants, shopping, entertainment venues and more, allowing you to walk to these locations in comfort.

The Marriott is fully accessible. Click for full details (PDF).

The Curiosity Shop

What would a conference be without vendors? We promise to have a terrific spot for you to see and purchase some of the latest resources available for your ministries - curriculum, books, worship arts, church websites, and more. 

Are you a vendor who would like to reserve a table? Want to be a sponsor or advertiser? Click for full details. 

Contact Stephen Mitchell with questions.

No, our Curiousity Shop won't be outside. But the Des Moines Farmer's Market was recently ranked #2 in the nation for 2 years in a row! If you're thinking of sticking around thru Saturday to enjoy Des Moines' or Iowa's many treasures, the market is about 1.4 miles away.




"More Curious"

Save $100 off the full rate!

Please log in for your CEF member discount, then click the register button.



"More Curious"

Save $100 off the full rate!

Add a membership to your registration to get member pricing + CEF benefits!

Full Registrations Include...

  • All plenaries, worship services, breakouts & special events
  • Wifi (in rooms; save $17+ a day!)
  • Dinner on Tuesday and Friday nights
  • Lunch Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
  • Daily snack breaks
  • Off-site transportation to special events
  • Swag bag
Need CEUs?
2.6 CEUs are available for a small fee during registration. If you are not United Methodist, please check with your denomination for appropriate CEU conversions.

Register now for the best price!

 Registration Date  CEF Member  Non-member
"Most Curious"
(Oct. 9 - Feb. 28)
 $349  $399
"More Curious"
(Mar. 1 – Oct. 1)
 $399  $449
"Really Very Curious"
(Oct. 2 on)
 $499  $549

$50 Discount for the 2nd, 3rd etc. person registering from the same congregation.

Student rate (current college/seminary students): $239

Daily rate: $79 (Tuesday); $129 (Wednesday - Friday)
Daily rate does not include meals or special evening events.

Special Trips & Experiences

Taste of Iowa Trip
(Pre-conference Tour)

Tuesday, Oct. 9th, 10:00 AM - 4:15 PM

Join us as we travel to the nearby town of Winterset. First, you'll go back in time as you tour the John Wayne Birthplace Museum. After lunch, enjoy a bus tour of the beautiful "Bridges of Madison County," (made famous in a well-known book and movie). You'll arrive back to the hotel by 4:15 PM. 

The cost is $50, which includes transportation, museum and tour fees, and lunch. The deadline to register is Oct. 1st. 

Click here to register.

Bidwell-Riverside Center 

(Pre-conference Service Opportunity)

Tuesday, Oct. 9, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Bidwell-Riverside Center is a private non-profit committed to helping families become self-sufficient through two primary programs: a food pantry and childcare center. It is located about 15 minutes from our hotel. Participants will receive a brief tour, then serve in the thrift shop and food pantry. There is no cost to participate, but registration is required by Oct. 1. Sign up here, or for more info, contact Diane Eberhart

Women at the Well Prison Congregation Visit

REGISTER BY AUG. 15! Currently full

Thursday, Oct. 11, 6:00 - 9:30 PM

Visit Women at the Well, a United Methodist congregation within the Iowa Women’s Correctional Facility. Participants will take part in their weekly worship service and will have an opportunity to talk with some of the leaders of the program. This is an amazing and unforgettable experience, but you'll have to act very quickly to go.

The cost is free, but the deadline to sign-up is August 15th, as background checks have to be completed by all participants. Space is limited. Click here to register or for more information, contact Diane Eberhart.

I'm curious...but is this event really for me?

Curious.Church is truly for ANYONE engaged in a faith formation or Christian education ministry in a full-time, part-time, or volunteer capacity! Here are some of the people who will be there... 

  • Leaders engaged in local church faith formation ministries
  • Annual conference staff persons
  • Clergy with a passion for the teaching ministries of the church and the development of faithful Christian disciples
  • College, university, graduate school and seminary professors and students
  • Directors of Discipleship, Christian educators, youth ministers, children and family ministry leaders, etc.
  • Retirees who have spent their career life in local congregations as Christian educators and now want to encourage those working today in this field
  • Ground-breakers, answer-seekers, discoverers, questioners, dreamers, doers, out-of-the-box thinkers, & church changers!

I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity. (Eleanor Roosevelt)

My favourite words are possibilities, opportunities and curiosity. I think if you are curious, you create opportunities, and then if you open the doors, you create possibilities. (Mario Testino)

Without transformation, you can assume you're at a high moral, spiritual level just because you call yourself Lutheran or Methodist or Catholic. I think my great disappointment as a priest has been to see how little actual spiritual curiosity there is in so many people. (Richard Rohr)

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. (Walt Disney)

Never lose a holy curiosity. (Albert Einstein)

Photo credits: "Shattering Silence Downtown Des Moines", "Downtown Des Moines Skywalk", "Downtown Des Moines Skyline" - Courtesy of Catch Des Moines. "Farmers Market" by Phil Roeder, distributed under CC0 2.0. 

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