By Claire Van Der Eems, Contributing Writer
Over these five days, Asbury students were challenged to find their role in missions work as three different speakers spoke in chapel, during talkback lunch sessions and evening gatherings. Each gathering centered on the week’s theme of “until the whole world hears,” taken from the text of Romans 10:14-15.
Great Commission Congress was launched during chapel on Monday. Shawn Casselberry, Asbury alum and Executive Director of Mission Year, returned back to his alma mater to share his heart for urban ministry and issues of justice.
Senior Vice President of EQUIP Leadership, Dr. Doug Carter, shared during Wednesday’s chapel about his experiences working with the underground church. Campus Chaplain, Greg Haselhoff, said that Carter was invited to speak “because of his many decades investing in the training of church leaders around the world.”
Students were also able to hear about many opportunities to live out the great commission both domestically and abroad, during annual Mission Expo Bash.
The week came to a close with the Night of Global Prayer on Thursday and Dr. Jo Anna Lyon’s chapel message Friday morning. Lyon, who is the General Superintendent for the Wesleyan Church, spoke of her many experiences abroad and living out an unconditional faith among the Nations.
In addition to the events of the week, an offering was collected and will be continued to be collected throughout the semester to support Samaritan’s Purse efforts to aid the refugee crisis.
“It is my prayer that students can begin to find their purpose in the work of the Kingdom,” Assistant Chaplain, Jeannie Banter, said. “Each one of us is called to be a part of the Great Commission and I pray that through this week students [began] to see how God can use their unique gifts and talents for His purpose.”
The term missionary just became something more than the traditional connotation we usually give it.
Banter’s prayer for the week manifested in many students’ lives. Sophomore J.D. Smith recounted, “What I’ve gained from the week is that it’s almost like cutting yourself out of the picture and letting his light shine through.”
Bengtson felt that this year’s Great Commission Congress set a different tone for missions than in previous years. “[The speakers] are passionate about the Gospel, wherever that is. I just keep being pulled back to how much behind the scenes work there is to doing missions. The term missionary just became something more than the traditional connotation we usually give it.”
“Though some students view Great Commission Congress as limited to students called to vocational missions, we know that GCC is meant for every Christian,” Haselhoff reflected. “Every one of us who have come to place our trust in the saving grace of Jesus Christ have done so because ‘someone was faithful to the Great Commission.’ Regardless of a student’s vocational direction, every follower of Jesus knows that Jesus’ closing words directed us to ‘go and make disciples of all nations.”