An Important Update for the River Conference


The River Conference at Prestonwood Baptist Church November 6 & 7 has been officially POSTPONED

Dear River Conference Attendee,

Due to the continued spread of COVID-19 and by recommendation of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we will postpone the River Conference until March 19-20, 2021. The safety and health of all of our attendees, speakers, staff, vendors and community are our top priority. This event will now be an in-person AND virtual conference! 

Your current registration will be honored for the new conference date! Our mission still stands to offer an event filled with help, hope, encouragement and equipping, all around the theme of Mental Health and the Mission of the Church. There is no question that Mental Health will be one of, if not the most, challenging issues facing the Church over the next few years.

Thank you for your patience, understanding and grace during this time. We can’t wait to see what God will do in and through our time together in November! We will keep you updated every step of the way.

Let’s stay united in prayer for those affected by COVID-19.

Thank you,


Kyle Sutton

Director of Member Services

American Association of Christian Counselors

Learning to Help those who are Hurting

Prestonwood Baptist Church


6801 W. Park Blvd.
Plano, Texas 75093

Pastor: Dr. Jack Graham

Workshop Categories Including:
  • Marriage and Family
  • Wellness, the Brain, and Disorders
  • Love, Sex, and Relationships
  • Grief, Crisis, and Loss
  • Addictions, Life Recovery, and Substance Abuse
  • Mental Health, Suicide, and the Mission of the Church
  • Painful Past, Abuse, and Trauma
You Are Invited!

Dear Friend:

Everyone wants a more victorious, balanced, and fulfilled life. The good news is, your life can be just that!

Join us for an extraordinary weekend of Hope, Help, Encouragement, and Healing at “The River Conference” at Prestonwood Baptist Church on Friday night, March 27th and Saturday, March 28th.

Write the life story you have always wanted. This one-of-a-kind, transformative event is designed to equip you to lead yourself, and others, not just to survive, but thrive, especially through the most difficult seasons in life.

Featuring some of the nation’s leading experts on mental health, family and relationships, grief, trauma, and addiction, you will hear encouraging and challenging insights from Shelia Walsh, Daniel Amen, Caroline Leaf, Michael Lyles, and more. You will also enjoy dynamic praise and worship with Michael Neale, along with award-winning Big Daddy Weave in concert.

Why “The River Conference?”

The River represents God moving, working, healing, and bringing life. Without water, everything dies. Throughout Scripture, water represents the Spirit of God and His redemptive work among us. In the words of Jesus, “‘Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:38, ESV).

You are not alone! Join us for life-changing keynote sessions, powerful and experiential worship, and transformative pre-conference and conference workshops.

Everything is designed to do one thing… pour into your life and help you make a difference in the lives and relationships around you.

Be sure to register early. Click here or call 800-526-8673 to register. Groups of 10 or more receive an additional savings!

Don’t miss this one. We cannot wait to see what God is going to do in and through you!


Jack Graham, Pastor

Prestonwood Baptist Church


Tim Clinton, President

American Association of Christian Counselors

Great News! Super Early Bird Savings Deadline Extended:

June 30

Event Tickets

Hurry up and get the Fall Kick Off tickets while they are available

Great News! Super Early Bird Savings Extended! Register Today and Save $80!
  • Savings Deadline: June 30th
  • Regular Registration
  • Save $80!
At the Door
  • Early Registration Savings
  • Workshop Availability
Prestonwood Church Member Super Early Bird Savings Extended
  • Savings Deadline: June 30th
  • Save $92
  • Regular Registration





Keynote Speakers

Meet our valued speakers

Tim Clinton

American Association of Christian Counselors

Tim Clinton is the president of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC).

Jack Graham

Prestonwood Baptist Church

Dr. Jack Graham is the pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, one of the nation’s largest, most dynamic congregations.

Daniel Amen

Amen Clinics

Dr. Amen believes that brain health is central to all health and success.

Sheila Walsh

The Braveheart Sisterhood

Scottish-born Sheila Walsh is first a wife and mom, and in her spare time, she is an author, Bible teacher and television hos

Michael Lyles

Lyles and Crawford Clinical Consulting

Dr. Michael Lyles is board certified in adult psychiatry by The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Chonda Pierce

The Country Comic

Emmy® -nominated and best-selling comedian Chonda Pierce has been making audiences laugh for more than two decades.

Ted Cunningham

Woodland Hills Family Church

Ted Cunningham is the founding pastor of Woodland Hills Family Church in Branson, Missouri.

Michael Neale

Prestonwood Baptist Church

Michael Neale is a Dove Award-winning songwriter, national best-selling author and veteran worship leader and speaker.

Speakers are subject to change based on availability. Check the website for future updates.


The River Conference is packed full of amazing speakers and content.

8:30 - 11:45AM
Morning Pre-Conference Workshops
12:00 - 7:00PM
Exhibit Hall Open
1:45 - 5:00PM
Afternoon Pre-Conference Workshops
6:30 – 9:00PM
Opening Keynote Session
8:30 – 9:45AM
10:00 AM – 12:00PM
Keynote Session 2
12:15 – 1:15PM
Lunch Break
1:30 – 2:45PM
Workshops Round 2
3:00 – 5:00PM
Closing Keynote


5410 Lyndon B Johnson Fwy, Dallas, TX 75240


Rate: $139

Book Your Reservation

Candlewood Suites Frisco

9484 Frisco St, Frisco, TX 75033


Rate: $89

Book Your Reservation

Hyatt Place Dallas/Plano

3100 Dallas Pkwy, Plano, TX 75093


Rate: $109

Book Your Reservation

Event Sponsors

The River is proud to partner with these great organizations


Workshop Track Titles

Ron Hawkins, D.Min., Ed.D., and Ted Cunningham, M.A.C.E.

Possible Topics: From Conflict to Collaboration; How to Build Honesty, Trust, and Understanding; Personality Differences; Family of Origin Issues; Characteristics of Lasting Relationships; Dating/Pre-marital Issues; Infatuation vs. Biblical Love; Gender Differences and Communication; Approval-seeking; Friendships; Importance of Christian Community, How Men and Women Think

Track Leaders:

Ron Hawkins

Liberty University

Ted Cunningham

Woodland Hills Family Church

Tim Jennings, M.D., and Michael Lyles, M.D.

Possible Topics: Applications of Neuroscience, Psychotherapy and Brain Plasticity; Cutting-edge Research; Interpersonal Neurobiology

Track Leaders:

Tim Jennings

Come and Reason Ministries

Michael Lyles

Lyles and Crawford Clinical Consulting

Sharon May, Ph.D., and W. Jesse Gill, Psy.D.

Possible Topics: Differing Sexual Expectations; Lifelong Love; Emotional Closeness and Connection; Developing Sexual Communication Skills; Impact of Past Abuse and Sexual History; Gender and Sexual Responses; Sexual Dysfunction; Pregnancy and Infertility

Track Leaders:

Sharon May

Safe Haven Counseling Center

Jesse Gill

Psychological Health Affiliates

Jennifer Cisney Ellers, M.A., and Rick Amato, M.A.

Possible Topics: Styles of Grieving; Loss of a Child, Spouse or Parent; Sudden Death as Loss; Counseling with Cancer Victims/Terminally Ill; Pathological Grieving; Complicated Bereavement; Suicide; Survivor Guilt and Fostering Resiliency; Crisis and First Responder Training; Acute Stress; Natural Disasters; Domestic and Community Crisis Response

Track Leaders:

Rick Amato

Rick Amato Ministries

Jennifer Cisney-Ellers

Institute for Compassionate Care

Stephen Taylor, M.D., M.P.H., Michael Lyles, M.D., and Michael Perron

Possible Topics: Styles of Addictive Disorders; Disease Model vs. Psychosocial Disorder vs. Moral Responsibility; Relapse Issues; Cutting-edge Detox Treatments; Polydrug Abusers; Ecstasy Abuse; OxyContin and New Drugs of Abuse; Sex Addiction; 12-step Programs and the Church; Role of the Holy Spirit and Accountability in Recovery; Harm-reduction Model

Track Leaders:

Stephen Taylor

Pathway Healthcare

Michael Lyles

Lyles and Crawford Clinical Consulting

Amy Simpson, M.B.A.

Possible Topics: Foundations; Motivations; Core Skills; Treatment Planning; Pitfalls of Caregiving; Pastoral Burnout; Decreasing Stigma; Congregational Counseling; Ministering to Lay Leaders; Pastoral Counseling; Compassion Fatigue in Pastoral and Counseling Ministry; Epigenetics

Track Leaders:

Amy Simpson

Moody Publishing

Leslie Vernick, M.S.W., and Jarrett Stephens, D.Min.

Possible Topics: Physical, Sexual, Verbal, Spousal, and Spiritual Abuse; Abuse by Counselors/Ministers; Hiding and Denying Abuse; Neglect; PTSD; Dissociation; Recovered Memories; Secondary/Vicarious Trauma; Disasters and Accidents; Compassion Fatigue; War/Refugee Trauma; Spiritual vs. Secular Trauma Treatment; Critical Incident Debriefing

Track Leaders:

Leslie Vernick

Relationship Truth Unfiltered

Jarrett Stephens

Prestonwood Church

Pre-Conference Workshops

Morning Pre-Cons (8:30 – 11:45 AM)
Rick Amato, M.A.

001: Dodging the Dragon: Biblical Principles for Addiction Prevention in Children and Adolescents

Sharon May, Ph.D.

002: Safe Haven Relationships: Building Emotional Closeness with Those You Love

Jennifer Cisney Ellers, M.A.

003: Spiritual First Aid: The First 48 Hours after a Crisis

Ron Hawkins, D.Min., Ed.D.

004: God and Soul Care: The Power of Spirituality in the Healing Process

Timothy Jennings, M.D.

005: Our Brains and Our Relationships with God

Afternoon Pre-Cons (1:45 – 5:00 PM)
Amy Simpson, M.B.A.

010: Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission

W. Jesse Gill, Psy.D.

011: Face to Face: 7 Keys to a Secure Love and Relationships

Ted Cunningham, M.A.C.E.

012: A Life of Love and Laughter: Strong and Joyful Marriages

Jim Cress, M.A.

013: Integrity Redeemed: Setting Captives Free from Porn and Sexual Addictions

Leslie Vernick, M.S.W.

014: The Road Map: Counseling Strategies that Work to Repair an Emotionally Destructive Marriage

Contact Us

Need Help?

Call 800.526.8673 to speak to a Member Services’ representative or E-Mail our helpful customer service representatives at:


Monday – Friday
8:30 AM – 6:30 PM ET