Missions Conference offers many opportunities for involvement
Updated: March 14, 11:50 p.m.
Biola students gathered at the university’s 83rd Missions Conference.
“I love [Missions Conference]. I love how all the speakers have just been encouraging us to be consumed with the Holy Spirit, and I think that in college we lose a lot of our focus. [Missions Conference is] a good reminder and refresher,” said Tiffany Castro, a junior film major.
Missions Conference is intended as a time for students to explore what God is doing in the world and find out ways that they can help further the gospel.
“We aren’t trying to shove foreign missions down people’s throats. … We don’t want this to be known as an ICS [intercultural studies] conference either. … This is about students being so consumed with passion and the holiness of God, that they cannot help it,” said senior ICS major Kyle Donn, co-director of Missions Conference.
Double meaning of conference theme
The theme this year is “Consume,” which is different from last year’s theme, “Set Us Ablaze,” in that “rather than setting a spark, we want students to be consumed with passion for the Lord's name. It's a recognition of God's holiness and grace. And as a result, this encounter will fuel followers of Jesus Christ to share the gospel not only to the nations, but to our families and surrounding communities,” Flores-Lacangan said.
The Missions Conference theme is twofold, according to Donn. The first theme verse, Isaiah 6:1-8, is about the revelation of God’s holiness, while Hebrews 12:28-29 is about the revelation of God’s grace.
“Holiness consumes our sin. Grace consumes our lives,” Donn explained.
Pastors as speakers
Oscar Muriu, Nolan Clark and David Guzik are the speakers SMU has scheduled for the sessions. Muriu, pastor of Nairobi Chapel and church planter, who spoke during the first and third sessions, will also speak at the last conference session. The second speaker was Clark, a church planter in Canada. He will also speak at the sixth session. Guzik, pastor of Cavalry Chapel Santa Barbara, will be speaking during the fourth and fifth sessions. The band, United Pursuit, will be leading worship for the sessions.
Yesterday, Murui spoke about sin in light of Isaiah 6:1-9 during the first session, and how if students have sin in their lives, they have no “light in [their] lamp” to shine the light of Christ. At the third session, he emphasized to students that they need to lay down their lives before God and surrender to his plan for their lives with regards to 2 Corinthians 5:14-21. Clark taught on Isaiah 6, as well, at the second session. “
God is a God of fire and Jesus came to set fire to the world,” Clark said.
Check the Chimes’ Missions Conference blog for more session recaps and reflections.
Seminars, funding from tuition
Along with the sessions, there are 61 seminars ranging from topics of “Mindset of an Athlete” to “Why is Haiti Still Broken?” These seminars are from 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on both Wednesday and Thursday.
Missions Conference is being funded by student fees — a fee charged to students as a part of their tuition. Missionary organizations who want to be represented must pay anywhere from $100 to $250 depending on how many people they will have and how many days they will be at the conference. The budget is around $50,000, according to Student Missionary Union vice president Jeff Poon.
Assortment of campus activities
There is also Global Awareness, which is an “interactive walk-through display where students are able to put faces with suffering,” according to the Global Awareness web page. Rooms will represent phenomenons such as poverty in America and India, as well as poverty and civil war in Somalia. Students will also have designated spaces for prayer and worship, including a 24-hour prayer room in the Student Union Building. The times of the interactions and Global Awareness campus activities vary, but they can be found on SMU’s website.
“If I were to attend one campus activity, it would be the CSP outreach,” Donn said. “They are sending out a team at 2 p.m. at the end of the week. People can either let [all they have learned] sit stagnant, but unless you ‘put your hands to the plow,’ you won’t get anywhere.”
There will be more than 104 missionary organizations represented [on Metzger Lawn], and they provide opportunities for students to get plugged into a ministry and learn how they could use their major for missions, according to Flores-Lacangan.