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Counting the Cost of Missions Together

Missio Nexus is a US-based group that connects over 53,000 people from missions organizations, churches, and businesses engaged in the Great Commission. The theme for this year’s national conference was “Counting the Cost,” and it was hosted in Orlando this past September—the same time that hurricane Ian was slicing its way through central Florida!

As the conference organizers and speakers arrived, they realized that the hurricane might bring a different meaning to the phrase “counting the cost.” 

A number of missions pastors, Encompass workers, and Charis Fellowship leaders had planned to attend in-person, but made a last-minute decision to join virtually instead. The conference continued despite the hurricane because it was to be held at the Rosen Centre Hotel, an official community storm center. Because of the storm and airport closures, only 300 of 1,100 participants were physically present in Orlando. Everyone else attended the sessions and debrief virtually. 

Pastor Joe Caruso of Grace Church in Greater Akron, Ohio attended virtually, but made the most of the situation by renting a local venue so that a large group from his church could join. Their group enjoyed sharing large communal meals together while they debriefed the sessions.

Remembering how powerful the messages were, Joe said,

“The plenary session on Thursday night led by Dick Brogden (director of the group Live/Dead) was especially challenging and convicting. On one hand, It was disturbing to hear stories from parts of the world where Christians have to live out a level of sacrifice and cost for their faith. But then to hear how so many are staying strong in the face of persecution, torture, and sometimes martyrdom — laying out the commonality of Jesus’ call to self-sacrifice and suffering — was oddly encouraging. As Dick spoke and led us through the pattern of the scriptures, I felt overwhelmingly challenged not only personally, but also in how I pastor our church, send missionaries, and engage to send to the least reached.”

The conference reminded us that advancing the kingdom cannot be separated from the cross. Jesus calls us to share in his suffering as we take the gospel to the nations. The main sessions and various breakout sessions emphasized that personal loss and sacrifice are often necessary to share Christ’s love with those who haven’t yet heard it.

Encompass benefited greatly from the fellowship, networking opportunities, and encouragement experienced during this year’s Missio Nexus conference. If you weren’t able to attend in-person, you can find conference videos, interviews, and other resources on missionexus.org. And if you plan to attend next year, you can give feedback on the topics you want to hear about. To learn more, visit missionexus.org.