JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Baptist Convention’s (MBC) upcoming Great Commission Conference anticipates a broader appeal, more diverse audience, and greater impact in 2017 and beyond. Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Springfield is hosting the conference Feb. 23-25.
A key priority for this event (formerly the “state evangelism conference”) remains an emphasis on biblical evangelism and disciple making. “Instead of understanding evangelism and disciple-making as two separate things, I would submit that when we make disciples, we inevitably engage in evangelism,” contends Matt Kearns, MBC catalyst for making disciples.
“Encouraging and leading people to follow Jesus and be baptized is central to the task of making disciples. I don’t believe you de-emphasize one to emphasize the other. They are both essential and two sides of the same Great Commission coin.”
The effort to broaden the appeal can readily be seen in a few new additions to the conference offerings. The GCC now provides childcare in partnership with the MBC Disaster Relief childcare team.
“I am grateful to Dwain Carter and the DR team for providing this option for families,” says Kearns. “Our hope is that this makes the GCC more accessible to people/families with young children.”
Attendees are encouraged to pre-register for childcare so adequate preparation can be made.
Friday evening (Feb. 24) features an inter-generational prayer and worship gathering with an emphasis on generations praying for and with each other. Keynote speaker John Avant shares from his Brownwood revival experience, and Chris White leads in a time of musical worship while several Missouri pastors lead in prayer. The conference welcomes university student leaders, MBC collegiate campus missionaries, and youth ministries from across the state for this special gathering.
Saturday (Feb. 25) highlights include a keynote from Greg Stier, evangelist and president of Dare2Share Ministries, and additional breakouts focused on evangelism, disciple-making, church multiplication, and leadership development.
Specifically, Stier leads an afternoon youth ministry training event that includes resources, networking, and in-depth evangelism training. Saturday evening and Sunday morning the GCC moves off-site to the Hilton Garden Inn ballroom for two additional sessions designed specifically for collegiate students and leaders.
Additional special guests include Dr. David Garrison on Friday morning and afternoon, as well as U.S. Senator James Lankford on Saturday morning. Garrison is chairman of the board for Global Gates, a ministry which seeks “to reproduce disciples and churches among unreached and least reached peoples.”
Lankford formerly served the Oklahoma Baptist Convention and directed Falls Creek camp, the world’s largest youth encampment ministering to more than 50,000 students every year. Recently elected to his first full term in the Senate, Lankford offers a unique perspective on living a transformational life in the public square.
“We recognize that this is a departure from the ‘traditional’ evangelism conference of the past,” Kearns observes. “However, our intent and desire is to continue to encourage and challenge Missouri pastors and staff leaders through biblical and inspirational preaching and musical worship.
“Simultaneously, we are praying a wider scope to both audience and content will engage a greater number of Missouri Baptists and encourage people from all walks of life in our mission to transform lives and communities with the gospel.”
The Great Commission Conference is funded through the faithful giving of Missouri Baptists through the Cooperative Program. To learn more about the conference or to register now, go online to mobaptist.org/gcc.