Students worship during the Rev. 7:9 missions conference held Oct. 14 at Second Baptist Church in Conway. (IMB photo)
CONWAY, Ark. – Young adults from across Arkansas and out-of-state gathered at Second Baptist Church in Conway on Saturday, Oct. 14, for Rev. 7:9.
The missions conference, geared toward 18-25-year-olds and sponsored by the International Mission Board, aims to create a community of people who are committed to seeing to fruition the vision that God laid out in Revelation 7:9 – “After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands.” (CSB)
The event started Saturday morning with a general session. Worship was led by Skye Reedy, a seasoned worship leader and songwriter based in Nashville. The speaker was Jay Sanders, Baptist Campus Ministry director at the University of South Florida.
“One day we want to see the many of you in this room deployed all over the nation, all over the world, making Jesus’ name known,” Sanders said during his sermon, which focused on Romans 15:20-21.
Sanders said the Joshua Project, a research initiative seeking to identify the ethnic people groups of the world with the fewest followers of Jesus, states there are 17,341 people groups in the world. Of them, there are 7,399 that are still considered significantly or completely unreached.
“That’s over 41.8% of the world’s population,” Sanders said. “About 900 people groups are unengaged. Meaning that they don’t even have a Christian or missionary or pastor in their country that they are aware of to tell them about Jesus.”
He said God has “given each one of us, each one of you, when you were born positive gifts and talents” and “God wants you to use those gifts and talents to make Him known.”
Additionally, the session featured a student panel questioned by Janna Smith, an IMB student strategist in the Americas. The students shared how the Lord has used them to make Him known through sharing the gospel with nonbelievers while on missions.
“This morning we have heard that the world’s greatest problem is lostness. We’ve also heard this incredible vision in Rev. 7:9. … How do we get from one place to the other? How do we get from devastating lostness to the ultimate worship service in Heaven? It’s you. You are who God uses to get from one point to the other. Lostness is the problem. The gospel is the answer. And you are who God chooses to take that good news to people who have never heard it before,” IMB NextGen Mobilization Strategist Marie Edwards told those in attendance in closing at the general session.
After lunch, participants had the opportunity to participate in a variety of breakout sessions. The sessions ranged from learning how to discern what a call to missions might entail to taking a closer look at key Bible passages to help understand why missions exists and how people are called to participate.
Breakout leaders included Edwards; Steve Ellis, executive pastor for Church Planting and Missions at First Baptist Church in Rogers; Jamie Naramore, Arkansas Baptist State Convention cross-cultural strategist; Jacob Hicks, IMB recruiter; Bit Stephens, ABSC international student consultant; Smith; Andy Pettigrew, IMB NextGen mobilization team manager; Mike Lazenby, IMB church mobilization strategist; and Steve Lasiter, children and outreach pastor at Woodland Heights Baptist Church in Conway.
Smith said she hopes students walk away from Saturday’s event knowing their purpose and about the IMB.
“I want them to know the purpose and plan that the Lord has for them in the great commission, and I want them to know how the IMB can help,” she said.
The next Rev. 7:9 conference for young adults is Nov. 11 at Foothills Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona.
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