Mission Movement Gains Momentum
by John Holzmann
There's no doubt about it: mission vision is spreading, and a commitment to world evangelization is taking hold among students and churches the world over.
In a recent newsletter, the U.S. Center for World Mission claimed that more than 200 Wheaton College students were meeting for prayer for missions each week. John Oration, coordinator of the missions/intercultural program at the college, wrote to tell us we were wrong: "between 500 and 600 students are attending the World Christian Fellowship each Sunday evening," he said!
Caleb Resources, an agency dedicated to student mission mobilization, recently reported that the number of active Calebites, people who are holding each other accountable to mission goals, has more than doubled÷ from 630 to 1402÷since last September.
Caleb traveling teams last fall held 217 meetings in churches and on college campuses. Over 17,000 students attended, and 1127 asked for individual appointments for more specific counsel as they prepare for their part in the mission movement.
Proclaim '86, the first student mission conference held in Portland, Oregon, late last fall brought together over 800 students and 120 missionaries. InterVarsity Missions, we are told, received 333 completed Mobilization Surveys from conference delegates. The Survey gives students access to InterVarsity Missions' Counseling and Placement Service.
Mission Advance '86, a nation-wide student mission conference held in Hamilton, Ontario over the Christmas break, was the largest in Canada's history.
Mission '87, held in Utrecht, Holland at the same time as Mission Advance, may have been the granddaddy conference of them all last year. It was certainly the largest student mission conference in European history as over 10,000 students÷including many from behind the Iron Curtain÷were present to receive a challenge to "go" with the Gospel across cultural barriers.
MissionsFest '87 kicked off the mission new year in Bumaby (Vancouver), BC, when over 9,000 Christians from western Canada and the northwestern United States came to attend at least a portion of the weekend-long program.
A model we can only hope will be duplicated in other areas, MissionsFest offered a smorgasbord of quality workshops emphasizing answers to the practical questions of mission-minded Christians.
Almost 140 mission agencies were represented at the conference, and over 75 workshops dealt with such topics as "Education of out Missionary Children," 'Teaching English in the People's Republic of China," and "Missions and the Local Church."
Chairman Richard Dodding said the conference included "something for the whole family." "There were workshops for each age group. There was even a preschool program, and a nursery for babies," he said.
Coming up later this summer: Destiny '87÷another First in missions: the first national mission conference for black Americans. Planned for July 13-17 in Atlanta, Georgia, conference leaders hope to attract as many as 5000 delegates to this meeting where the need for "a harvest of souls and a spiritual awakening in black America, and the development of laborers to reach black America and the world" will be stressed.
COMIBAM '87, the first Ibero (Spanish/Portuguese peninsula)-Latin American mission conference, is scheduled for November in Sao Paulo, Brazil; over 3,000 are expected there. And Urbana '87, with an expected attendance of over 17,000 is set for December 27-31, in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.