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Three Letters Changed Presentations Forever

Joshua Parrish

by Joshua Parrish

Host, PEP Talks

The year was 1984. No, this is not a reference to George Orwell's novel—that year marked the genesis of a unique communication medium that would shape the way new generations begin to process original ideas. It was in 1984 that the brainchild of Richard Saul Wurman and Harry Marks first began as TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design). The first TED conference proved, in retrospect, to be an unprecedented look at future technologies, including the introduction of the compact disc, the e-book, and Lucasfilm 3D graphics to eager audiences. In the years since we have lovingly embraced some of these technologies and have discarded others as obsolete.

The advent of the internet has subsequently taken the power of the TED Talk, with its distinct style of delivery, power, and brevity, to new heights, with the first six talks uploaded online on June 27, 2006, and thousands to follow since. TED has rewritten the rulebook for presentations and public speaking. As we as a culture have grown accustomed to being inundated with media creations, TED Talks have helped streamline the flow by presenting concise (18 minutes or less), transformative ideas delivered without the benefit of notes or script, instead necessitating the speaker to master the content and delivery of their talk over months of work and preparation.

Two years ago, the Pepperdine Bible Lectures began embracing this unique mode of presentation with the emergence of PEP Talks. Dr. N.T. Wright's memorable opening night keynote was followed by four fantastic presentations in Elkins Auditorium from people within our tribe doing unconventional ministry. Coleman Yoakum asked us to consider the messiness of living in the heart of the communities we're trying to reach. Jana Ogg encouraged church leaders to rethink the way we fund and support foreign missions. Katie Pedigo challenged the church's response to sex-trafficking. And Mark Moore beckoned us to the table, encouraging us to recognize and utilize the power of a meal to reach a person with the Gospel.

God's Holy Spirit has been doing miraculous work in and among His people for thousands of years. We are excited this year to again harness the unique PEP Talk platform to hear from three amazing people from different walks of life who rely on God's Spirit in their work. 

Bethany Jones

Bethany Jones is producer of true crime TV in Hollywood for networks like Oxygen, CNN, Discovery, A&E, and others. As someone who speaks directly with many of the most infamous killers and criminals in America, and who has intimate access to the images and fallout of their crimes, Bethany leans heavily on her upbringing in the Spirit as the daughter of a Church of Christ preacher in the UK to guide her work.

Craig Gross

Pastor Craig Gross is an author of 13 books, leads an outreach at porn conventions, spearheaded the development of the internet accountability system X3Watch, and has been featured on Good Morning America, CNN, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, GQ, Time, Newsweek, and more.


Marcus Brecheen

Pastor Marcus Brecheen grew up in the Church of Christ as the son of an ACU professor, and currently serves as the Associate Senior Pastor of Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas with an average weekly attendance of over 30,000 people. Marcus has a heart for seeing the Church of Christ of his youth embrace the gift and discernment of the Holy Spirit.


Make sure to mark your calendars for Wednesday, May 2 at 9 PM in Smothers Theater for an unforgettable night.

And check out the PEP Talks channel on YouTube for an archive of all the talks from previous years. You will be encouraged and challenged by the work that God is doing among us. We look forward to seeing you there.