January 2-4 at the Seagate Convention Center in Toledo, OH

The Encounter Conference is the flagship event for Encounter Ministries where we seek to gather leaders of revival in the Church to encounter God's refreshment, encouragement and impartation of greater anointing for ministry.

Conference participants can expect an atmosphere of spirit-filled worship in the presence of God, Mass, inspiring and transforming keynote speakers, breakout sessions, Eucharistic adoration, a healing service, fellowship and many opportunities for prayer ministry and growth in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

This year we are excited that our conference will be able to minister to the entire family. We are adding an Encounter Kids Track for ages 6-12 and an Encounter Teens Track for ages 13-18. More information on those can be found below.


Fr. Ed Fride

Mass Homilist

Watch Encounter Conference 2018 Talks

Speaker Profiles

Fr. Mathias Thelen

Father Mathias Thelen STL is the senior leader of Encounter Ministries and Pastor of St. Patrick Church in Brighton, MI.  His life is a witness to the power of impartation to receive an increase in the anointing of the Holy Spirit and God’s desire to poor out his Spirit on on those who hunger and thirst for more!  Father Mathias carries an incredible healing anointing and a desire to see every Catholic equipped to do the works of Jesus and help usher in the New Springtime of the Church.

Listen to his testimony from Encounter Radio here:

Jeff Cavins

Jeff Cavins is recognized both nationally and internationally as one of the most effective and engaging speakers In the Church today. Few can communicate their love for Jesus Christ with as much zeal, clarity, and enthusiasm as Jeff Cavins. In addition to his outstanding presentations related to Catholic Bible study, Jeff is available to speak on a variety of other faith-formation topics.

After twelve years as a Protestant pastor, Jeff returned to the Catholic Church under the guidance of Bishop Paul Dudley. His conversion story, one of the best known and inspiring stories of its kind, is chronicled in the best-selling book, My Life on the Rock.

Over the past several decades, Jeff has dedicated his life to developing The Great Adventure: A Journey through the Bible, a practical, interactive program that helps people read the “big picture” of God’s plan in Sacred Scripture and understand its meaning for their lives. The Great Adventure presents the entire sweep of the Bible in a way that is easy to understand and genuinely fun. Its unique Bible Timeline learning system has revolutionized Catholic Bible Study for hundreds of thousands of Catholics since 1995. Jeff received his MA in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Jeff has been a leading figure in Catholic media for over two decades and has appeared as a guest or host on Catholic radio and television hundreds of times.

Peter Herbeck

Peter is the vice president and director of missions for Renewal Ministries. He experienced the grace of baptism of the Holy Spirit while at a conference at Notre Dame and was launched quickly into a life of international ministry. His ability to connect this teaching with the official Catholic theology helps disarm Catholics that lack understanding of the power of the Holy Spirit.

Listen to Peter’s testimony on Encounter Radio here:

Patrick Reis

Patrick Reis is the Director of the Encounter School of Ministry and is one of the leaders of Encounter Ministries.  He was featured in the 2017 documentary “Fearless: A Documentary on the Holy Spirit and Evangelization.”  He carries a strong prophetic anointing and has a heart to see the body of Christ raised up to hear God’s voice and demonstrate the kingdom of God in power and love.

Listen to Patrick’s Testimony on Encounter Radio here:

Aaron Richards

Aaron Richards is the assistant coordinator of Encounter Ministries and the Director of Operations for Catholic Youth Summer Camp.  Aaron was featured in the 2017 FEARLESS documentary and has been noted as a gifted teacher on the gifts and life of the Holy Spirit.

Listen to Aaron’s testimony on Encounter Radio here:

Dan DeMatte

A co-host of Encounter Radio and Director of Evangelization for Catholic Youth Summer Camp, Dan DeMatte is a conference speaker and author of the book “Holiness Revolution” published by Dynamic Catholic. Dan has a passion for evangelizing Catholic teens and calling families to live in Holiness. He regularly travels and leads Holiness Revolution conferences at parishes across the country (http://dynamiccatholic.com/events/holiness-revolution/).

Listen to Dan’s testimony from Encounter Radio here:

Sarah Kaczmarek

Sarah serves are the Associate Director of ALPHA CATHOLIC CONTEXTShe holds a BA in English Literature, a MA in therapeutic counseling, and is currently completing a MA in Pastoral Studies in Evangelization.  Prior to her post at Alpha she was the Director of Youth Ministry & Evangelization for 11 years at a church in Detroit, MI.  Sarah carries a very strong prophetic gifting and confidence in the Holy Spirit to come and fill his children.

Listen to Sarah’s testimony on Encounter Radio here:

Neal Lozano

Neal serves as the Executive Director of Heart of the Father Ministries and the Unbound ministry efforts. Neal Lozano has more that thirty years pastoral experience helping people find freedom in Jesus Christ. He is the author of the best-selling book, Unbound: A Practical Guide to Deliverance. He is an international speaker and has spoken at various global conferences. Neal holds a master’s degree in religious education from Villanova University, where he has also led an evangelistic outreach to students.

Jackie Francois

Jackie is a full-time traveling speaker, singer/songwriter, and worship leader from Orange County, CA. In 2006, she became an artist with OCP/SpiritandSong.com with whom she has released two albums. She has been involved in youth ministry since she graduated high school, and she now travels the globe speaking to young people about God’s love and leading worship for various events and ministries. In 2013, she married the love of her life, Bobby Angel, and they now have two adorable little girls. Check out iTunes or SpiritandSong.com to get Jackie’s albums “Your Kingdom is Glorious” and “Divine Comedy.”

Dave Nodar

Dave founded ChristLife in 1995. Dave was apprehended by God’s love and made a personal commitment to follow Jesus Christ as Lord as a member of the Catholic Church in 1971. He served as a leader in a renewal movement for 20 years, and after a period of prayer and discernment began ChristLife in 1995. His passion is to help others to know the love of God the Father in Jesus Christ through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

Dave authored one of the first books on the new evangelization, Characteristics of the New Evangelization; co-authored Discover Christ – Developing a Personal Relationship with Jesus with Bert Ghezzi; and is a principal teacher and developer of the ChristLife Series. Dave is a graduate of Towson University with a degree in Religious Studies and a minor in Theology from Loyola College. He continued with graduate studies at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family Studies.

Dave and his wife Ely live in Ellicott City, Maryland. They have seven children and five grandchildren.

Listen to Dave’s testimony on Encounter Radio here:

Kim Zember

Kim is passionate about sharing the love, freedom and restoration found through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Whether in her hometown of San Diego or her ‘home away from home’, Ethiopia, she is sharing the love and redemption of life through Jesus. Kim shares her testimony of living a homosexual lifestyle and the radical transformation of her life through a relentless pursuit of a relationship with her Bridegroom Jesus. Kim is completely fulfilled being ‘single’, with her eyes set on her Lord and focused on the call He has on her life and the continued comfort of the Holy Spirit!

She often is asked to share her life and message at high schools (public and private), colleges, churches, prisons as well as radio and television. Kim is extremely passionate about seeing all people experience the radical love of Jesus.
She believes that turning her life inside out for all to see shows how the Lord has and continues to set the captives free! She feels deeply that authenticity with one another in God’s love and truth is so needed today more than ever.  When Kim is not in the States mentoring youth and young adults, she is most likely found in Ethiopia surrounded by her 80+ children through the non-profit, Unforgotten Faces, she started when she was 23 years old.

Andrew Laubacher

Andrew is from Ventura California and travels leading worship and speaking to people all over the world about the love of God. His mission is clear – to bring the healing power of Jesus Christ to a broken world through music and speaking.

The power of song has been something that has continued to amaze him in his ministry. Humans were made to worship, and it’s a gift to be able to help create an environment for people to encounter God. His hope is that people will realize we were made to live for something more, and not just something, but someone. He feels called to manifest the power of the Holy Spirit in lives through music, speaking, and videos.

Check out Andrew’s testimony of conversion and being a minister of miracles on Encounter Radio:

Steve Dawson

After a powerful conversion to the Catholic faith in 2006, Steve has been active in various Catholic ministries and in leadership positions in the pro-life movement. Steve also spent time discerning religious life, spending 14 months with the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, before discerning his call to work for the Church as a layman. As Founder and President of St. Paul Street Evangelization, he has been featured on EWTN Television and Radio, Catholic Answers Live, Catholic Connection, Kresta in the Afternoon, the Radio Maria Network, Sirius Satellite Radio, Archangel Radio as well as in several Catholic news publications. He resides in Bloomington, IN with his wife Maria and two children.

Listen to Steve’s testimony on Encounter Radio:

Bryan O’Donnell

Bryan O’Donnell is a member of the Encounter Ministries staff and shares a powerful heart for the lost.  He carries a powerful healing anointing and demonstrates fearlessness in evangelization.  Bryan has recently founded Urban Encounter, a branch of Encounter Ministries that seeks to see the transformation of homeless men through the power of the Holy Spirit and job training through general contracting.

Listen to Bryan’s incredible testimony on Encounter Radio:

Balassi Family Worship

The Balassi Family are lovers of Jesus and His Church.  Bob and Kathleen have served the Lord in music ministry in Catholic and Charismatic Churches for over 4 decades. Along with Gary Shelton, the Balassis were worship leaders in the St. Louis Vineyard pastored by Randy Clark.  Following the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the Toronto Blessing, they led worship at the Catch the Fire Conferences in Moscow.  Since 2006, the Balassis and their children have had the honor of leading worship at the Gateway House of Prayer in St. Louis and occasionally traveling to lead at worship conferences and events around the country. 


Can I still come if I can't attend all the sessions?

Yes, you are free to attend whatever parts of the conference you are able.  Your registration will get you access to the entire conference.

Are meals provided in the registration?

Meals are not provided in the registration fee.  There are 2 hours breaks between lunch and dinner for participants to run out and grab food at the many local establishments close by.

What ages are appropriate for this conference?

The adult track is suitable for all persons 18 years or older. 13 to 18 year olds still in high school should attend the Encounter Teen track and children ages 6-12 should attend the Encounter Kids track.  Please see those links above.

Is childcare available?

No childcare services will be provided.  Each family should make their own arrangements for childcare.

What about my young children under 6?

Parents are more than welcome to bring their young children under 6 into the main sessions.  Many parents have been known to either let their young children color, entertain themselves in their seats or even sit toward the back and allow them to play in the lobby.

Can I become a conference vendor?

Yes, you can find that information here: https://encounterministries.us/conference-vendors/


The Park Inn by Raddison

We have blocked rooms with the Park Inn hotel, which is attached to the conference center. To reserve rooms, or for more information, please call the hotel at (419) 241-3000 and ask for the Encounter Conference block of rooms.

Marriott Towneplace Suites

We have blocked rooms through a local Marriott hotel, about 10 minutes from the conference center. To reserve a room, or for more information, please call the hotel at (419) 724-0044 and ask for the Encounter Conference block of rooms.