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“Any church that is not seriously involved in helping fulfill the Great Commission has forfeited its biblical right to exist.” —Oswald J Smith (1889–1986)
Oswald J. Smith, who served as minister of missions at the People’s Church of Toronto, was a great proponent of missions. At the height of the church’s missionary zeal, they had a large budget funded by enthusiastic donors and held an annual missions conference with four weeks of daily meetings!
While most churches can only dream of having a missions program that large, many in the Charis Fellowship still host annual missions conferences. One such church is Calvert Grace Community Church in Owings, Maryland. Their 2023 missions conference, titled “You Are Sent,” took place in February. It started at 9:00 a.m. with rousing worship and a message focused on God’s glory and ended at 2:00 p.m. with a call to participate in the Great Commission. The next morning during their regular Sunday services, they followed-up with a message on missions delivered by Lead Pastor, Dario Agnolutto.
The entire event was designed to inspire, challenge, and equip the church to take the gospel to the least-reached throughout the nations. They accomplished this goal through engaging workshops led by partner missionaries who shared stories from the field, taught new skills, and spoke about making disciples.
As the church’s Outreach Pastor, Trevin Hoekzema said, “This is the first time in many years that we’ve offered a missions conference. It’s been a great opportunity to help the church learn from some of the missionaries we support while finding opportunities to get involved through praying, giving, or going. During the conference we gave each participant a custom prayer guide for our missionary partners, as well as Encompass’s annual Prayer Guide. We also encouraged attendees to give to our church’s outreach budget. Currently, we give 16% of our annual budget to outreach. We pray God continues to use us as He grows his kingdom here on earth.”
In the main sessions, conference attendees heard from Encompass missionaries Tom Barlow and Jason Carmean, and then they participated in six rotating workshops on topics such as “How can I support our missionaries?” and “What if I feel called to missions?” The church provided lunch and plenty of opportunities to talk with representatives from Encompass and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Attendees of all ages came from multiple churches to actively participate in the conference.
Trevin added, “We also used the conference to introduce our congregation to the short-term missions opportunities that we are offering this year. We promoted Share100, our campaign to see 100 people in our church share the gospel with at least one person this year. Ultimately, everything we do is about bringing God glory, and our prayer is to steward the resources God has entrusted to us to do just that.”
What benefits could your congregation experience if your church held an annual missions conference?
For more information email Trevin.