Global Reach Conference & Minneapolis Missions Trip Recap
November 9, 2023
By Rebecca Franklin, Student Writer
Due to calendar changes and a full Thanksgiving week break, Global Reach Conference started differently as students had to attend class on Tuesday, but the different pace was appreciated. Though rarely less busy, missions conference facilitated one’s beholding of God’s glory through exposition of the Word, fellowship with missionaries, opportunities to serve, emphasis on prayer, President Tillotson’s recommended social media fast, and witnessing God’s transforming grace throughout the world. To those eager to humbly receive the Word and witness God’s glory, the theme “Show Us Your Glory” was accomplished.
Matt Recker, church planter and pastor in New York City since 1984, shared his burden for urban ministry. He recounted numerous adventures and dangers and challenged us to overcome the temptation of fear in ministry by focusing on God’s Word. Cities, inconvenient and dark, are diverse and dense with lost and hurting souls. Pastor Recker echoed the Macedonian Call in Acts 16 with a cry on behalf of the city: “Come over!”
Steve Anderson, Baptist Mid-Missions Administrator for North America, Asia, and the Pacific, expounded the Word in the Psalms and 1 Peter 2. Delivering a striking and atypical message for missions conferences from Psalm 51, Anderson clearly and vibrantly convicted and encouraged us to live lives characterized by repentance: habitual repentance is essential to being used by God. If we do not know God well, sin is not a big deal; the easiest way to become ineffective is to cover up and languish in sin instead of confessing “against You and You only have I sinned.” We have seen His glorious holiness.
Through ministry spotlights, field focuses, workshops, and table presentations, we were challenged by representatives of more than twenty-five ministries. Mixed with the pleas to go, we heard the cries of grateful joy from national pastors for those who had gone in the past. Also through these ministry presentations, it was impactful to witness ongoing ministry in wartime Israel. Students enjoyed year two of participating in a Thursday evening banquet, which provided further fellowship opportunities for students to glean from and get to know missionaries.
In almost every service, a small group of singers shared a song in another language, including Portuguese, Romanian, Japanese, Hebrew, French, German, and Spanish. It is beautiful and special to imagine the familiar lyrics of hymns while receiving them audibly in another language—God continues to amaze me with His design of unity amidst diversity. A mixture of students, faculty, missionaries, and attendees read portions of John’s writings, representing thirty-nine different languages. He is worthy, and He is making all things new. This moving moment of glimpsing God’s glory through truth presented by and representative of a variety of languages was tied together singing “There Is A Higher Throne,” in which we sing of and long for the day we reign and worship Him “in perfect song.”
A crew of twenty-one students slipped out of the last session early, lunched, and hit the road for the four-hour trek up to Minneapolis. In the shuttle some studied, napped, read, or prepared for a Greek test due over the weekend. Upon arrival we were greeted by the gracious welcome and wisdom of Pastor Jason Ormiston and the spectacularly tasty classic chili options prepared by Mrs. Ormiston (whose cooking abilities topped off the trip with much more than a maraschino cherry!).
Pastor Ormiston kept us busy, and we kept ourselves efficient. Though it was our privilege to serve and laugh alongside classmates, we rejoiced knowing that our small labor was indeed an immense help to Family Baptist Church, as expressed by Pastor Ormiston. As the facility’s purpose has expanded, we organized, moved, and cleared out rooms for use—including arranging a book-and-supply-packed room for a school that rents the church’s facilities, much to their (even teary-eyed) appreciation. The Global Food Market gave the option of trying Moroccan food for lunch per recommendation of the Ormistons. As soon as we got back to the church, we began preparing for the youth activity: live Clue. The first (test) round of misunderstanding (more of a mystery than intended) was soon followed by a frantic, breathless race of clue-gathering and character-interrogating. The Ormiston’s example invigorated my heart with joy to love harder even though it hurts harder. Though we swept past the magnificent architecture of old Minneapolis and the dying vibrance of October trees, I missed the personal interaction with diversity in the sidewalk-sifting along the riverwalks, as we had done on previous trips. An enjoyable evening strolling and chatting through the Mall of America topped off Saturday’s events.
Participating in the fellowship and worship of a service at Family Baptist Church is a much-loved experience. Whether through praising God in song, shooting baskets with toddlers in nursery, conversing with Ecuadorian attendees in Spanish, strolling on security, or exhorting obedience to God with the story of Jonah in junior church, we all had opportunity to selflessly serve somehow, according to God’s sovereignty. May we continue to behold His glory and be transformed (2 Corinthians 3:18). Show us Your glory!