Memorial Church hosts Global Impact Confab
By Barbara Shoun
March 22, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY — God had a larger plan in the works when Niki Hughes moved from West Monroe, La., to Jefferson City in July 2003 so that her husband, Jay, could take a position as controller for the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC).
They specifically asked the Lord to lead them to a church with a heart for missions. He not only complied; He used them to carry out the plan He already had in progress. Memorial hosted its first Global Impact Conference March 9-13 with “Carry the Light” as its theme and Niki Hughes as its chair.
The hope for the conference, says Pastor Ken Lumley, was that the time with missionaries would “move us from being a church that does mission trips to a church that is on mission.”
The church was influenced by Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Church and identified itself as a church with a heart for missions. A Global Impact Conference was in the planning for last year, but the church didn’t feel it was ready to move ahead at that time. The church was able to pay off its debt last fall, which gave it some freedom to move to new ground.
The choice of Hughes to chair the conference was no accident. Her dad has been a pastor and missionary, and Hughes had gone to Central America when she was in college. “It started with me long before this,” she said.
She and her husband had helped with two Global Impact Conferences in their church in Louisiana. In preparation for the one they were planning to host, they and others from Memorial visited and observed at other conferences. They also purchased a notebook from Global Focus (http://globalfocus.info/home.htm) which spells out detailed instructions for any size church to host a conference.
Hughes and the other members of the mission leadership team, Tammy Eitel and Nancy Manford, began contacting missionaries who would be stateside this March. Accepting the invitation were Southern Baptist Convention missionaries Mark and Debby Fricke of Guatemala, Monty and Janis Thompson and Dr. Edward Farris of Brazil, Phil and Retha Brewster of the Philippines, Sara Grim of Taiwan, Christina Miller of Asia, Vivian McCaughan of the MBC and the North American Mission Board, Randy Pierce of XMA Extreme Mission Adventures, and Tricia Alberts of Sports Crusaders.
The program was set up to appeal to many different people in the church and involve them in relationship-building experiences. Two events involved eating together in host homes – one for the leadership of the church and another for small groups and Sunday School classes.
Lunches were held for the ladies of the church and for senior citizens.
Children were “flown” on a trip around the world in the church sanctuary, equipped with passports and peanuts. Organizers were also able to place guest missionaries into six area elementary schools to explain the cultures of the countries in which they serve.
Established church teams contributed to the conference and others were organized for the occasion. The hospitality team provided guests with baskets of gifts and information. The food team catered a banquet with entrees from different lands. The praise band and choirs provided appropriate music.
Brad Marchman, now of Macon, Ga., who served as missions pastor in the Hughes’ former church and mentored them in preparation for the conference, spoke at the kickoff banquet, which also featured music and a parade of 125 international flags.
The culmination of the conference was the Sunday morning commitment service. Evangelist Sujo John, whose call to service resulted from his being in one of the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001, was the speaker.
Church members were asked to commit to: pray for one of the missionaries for the next year; give toward a two-year offering (with a two-year goal of $150,000); and/or go on a short-term mission trip or, if called, respond to a full-time commitment.