Why Have Missions Conferences?
Why does Christ Church have a missions conference every (or nearly every) year? Doesn’t the leadership of the church know that everyone is busy, tired, overcommitted, and holding out for spring break so we can vacation or just have a break from the grind of life? Most of us find ourselves unable to keep up and needing rest. And if any of us do have downtime, there is always that streaming TV service that can help us escape with its many shows and the promise that “the next episode will begin in 5…4…3…”
The quick answer is that yes, your leadership knows that life is relentless in its pace and demands. However, let me offer a few good reasons why we have a mission conference, and (let me be bold) why you should attend.
First, you are what you celebrate, or perhaps it is better stated, “What you celebrate, you become.” As people of God, as those who have been redeemed from a life of sin and misery, we need to reflect upon the grace that is ours in Christ and what we would be without it. Then, the natural thought that should follow that is there are untold millions that are still as we were, badly needing to hear this good news that we have. I hope and pray that the people of Christ Church really do want to be a people who are passionate about the gospel! Maybe you are busy, maybe you are timid, maybe you think you don’t know how to share your faith, but you do care about the lost and know that Christians have what the world needs! When we celebrate the mission of the gospel, it helps us to become better evangelists and gospel ambassadors of the King. We desire to be an evangelistic, mission sending, mission supporting church, so we celebrate missions this weekend.
We need to establish better connections with our missionaries. The funding structure and philosophy of our church is such that we seek fewer missionaries and try to invest more substantially in each one. The session feels that this allows us to have stronger ties with the missionaries that we support. The Global Missions Team at Christ Church corresponds regularly with the missionaries, but many in the church do not know our missionaries well. Our missions conference allows us to hear from them and hopefully catch a bit of the vision that God has laid upon them.
Closely related to this is the reality that we need to know how to pray particularly for our missionaries. Life on the field can be exhausting and at times discouraging for missionaries, so they need our prayer. Paul urges his readers and us to pray for those in ministry and shows us that prayer is a way that we join in their struggles (Rom. 15:30-33). Missionaries are on the front lines of heralding the gospel to ones who have not yet heard. They need to know that their partners in ministry are struggling with them in prayer in places like Katy, TX and across their homeland.
Pausing for a missions conference helps to reorder our priorities, including our time, our prayer, and our money. Most of us would admit that we are too busy, and most of us are busy doing the things that we feel called to do-work a job, spend time with our family and friends, help our kids with homework, maybe find time for personal ministry, etc. However, we often fall into a routine and fail to adequately reflect upon our calling to “Go and make disciples…” (Mt. 28:19-20). A missions conference helps us to pause, reflect upon this, and see how God might be calling us to change how we spend our time, how we pray, and even how we spend our money in relation to missions.
Fellowship opportunities. The missions conference gives us a variety of ways and places that we can fellowship with our brothers and sisters at Christ Church. We are a family, and families experience things together when they can. When we experience an event like this, we can reflect upon it together and learn from one another. Plus, we get to share at least three meals together over the course of the weekend, including a BBQ dinner on Friday evening!
Finally, some need to go! The leadership of Christ Church is praying that God will call and lead some in our congregation to minister cross-culturally, taking the glorious good news of the gospel to those of another culture who have not yet heard. As was stated previously, we desire to be a mission sending church. That means sending others, but how wonderful would it be to send some of our own and be able to have that strong connection to the front lines of gospel ministry. Will you join me in praying for that?
I hope these reasons give you a chance to think about why we have a missions conference and how you and your family can benefit from attending.