By Christian Arnold, Elisabeth Clevenger, and Alex McCormick
RICHMOND – Each year, thousands of individuals join together to explore what it means to preach the gospel throughout all of the world at the International Conference On Missions.
Both Johnson University Tennessee and Florida met up in Richmond, VA where they were able to share living spaces for the weekend and attend the conference together.
Johnson students’ former perspectives on missions were changed by speakers such as Gary Johnson, Robert Crews, Jim Tune, and more.
JUFL attendee Brent Glover said, “I really enjoyed getting to spend time with our brothers and sisters from JUTN. I think it’s great when we can come together like that because we are all one school under the same banner. It really served to develop the unity among all who attended from either campus, and cultivated new friendships amongst our two campuses.”
This year’s theme was “The Away Team.”
The conference was based around the idea that the churches in North America are no longer “The Home Team,” as many used to believe, but that over the past century the influence of Christianity and its morality has weakened in America.
Rather than denying the idea that Christians have become “The Away Team,” the speakers at ICOM challenged attendees again and again to be like the Israelites in Babylon whom Jeremiah told in Jeremiah 29:27 to “seek the welfare” of the place they were living in.
One speaker, Chris Barras, expanded on this thought by saying, “Rather than trying to be relevant all the time, we should just do ministry well and be relevant by stepping out and helping our community be better.”
Author and pastor Caleb Kaltenbach reminded attendees that as Christians, “We live in the tension between grace and truth, and that tension is love.”
One of the many ways that the JU campuses combined at ICOM was to try to win a scholarship. Although they were greatly outnumbered, the Florida and Tennessee students all pitched in and came in second in the competition.
Many of the sessions at ICOM were posted online and can be viewed here for those who desire gain deeper insight on the message of ICOM 2015.