There were several “firsts” recorded at this year’s annual Missions Conference at The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville. Held each fall, the event welcomes guest speakers, missionaries, and missions agency representatives to the Graceville campus to interact with students, recruit for mission projects, and remind believers of opportunities—as well as the obligation—to carry the gospel around the world.
For the first time, afternoon sessions were added as guest speakers were streamed in live via video conferencing. On day one, Kevin Ezell, President of the North American Mission Board (NAMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), addressed students, faculty, and guests about the challenges of reaching the bigger cities in North America with the gospel. David Platt, President of the International Mission Board of the SBC, joined the conversation on day two, as the discussion centered on innovative ways to place missionaries in strategic places around the world. In addition, Tommy Green, Executive Director-Treasurer of the Florida Baptist State Convention, and James Peoples, NAMB SEND City Missionary to South Florida brought thought-provoking and motivating chapel messages each day.
For the first time, the number of missions and ministry representatives exceeded thirty. “We have seen excitement and continual growth of this conference over the last ten years,” explained Rich Elligson, BCF Theology Division Chair, Missions Professor and Conference Coordinator. This reflects the growing diversity of missions work going on around the world, but it also indicates the close connections BCF has made with like-minded missions agencies and their representatives. “Set-up time in our Wellness Center is like a homecoming,” Elligson added. “We greet old friends and make some new ones.” Even the agency representatives look forward to renewing friendships with co-laborers in ministry. They swap contact information, catch up on news, and discuss the latest victories and challenges encountered on the field.
However, the real winners are the BCF students. “I love this week,” said BCF Senior Missions Major Hannah VanLandingham. “Between the displays, the Tuesday night roundtable discussion, chapel services, and incredible guest speakers, there really is something for everyone.”
“There is no doubt that this event is one of the highlights of the year for the entire BCF family,” Elligson said. “Everybody contributes, everybody participates, everybody is challenged, and everyone walks away blessed.”
For more information on upcoming conferences or events held at The Baptist College of Florida, please contact 850-263-3261, ext. 513, or visit the website at www.baptistcollege.edu.