Staff Editorial: Torrey Conference theme a refreshing take on missions

Are we wasting time by concentrating on “From this Place” when we have Missions Conference this spring?


Olivia Blinn

On Wednesday morning, Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies and Missiology, Allen Yeh, plays violin with the chapel band. | Olivia Blinn/THE CHIMES

Chimes Staff, Writer

Students congregate in the gym on Wednesday, Oct. 17, for the first Torrey Conference session. | Olivia Blinn/THE CHIMES

Scripture and the Christian walk hold many difficult topics that warrant the kind of exploration, study and meditation offered at our annual Torrey Conference. This year’s theme, “From This Place,” certainly offers plenty of substance to ponder. Murmurs on campus joke that it is just Missions Conference 2.0 — or maybe 0.5, since Missions is in the spring. This joke does prompt a valid question: Are we wasting our time by concentrating on “From this Place” when we have Missions Conference every spring?

If we were to take a look at the early Christian church, we would find a group of individuals fired up for missionary work. This was a grace-based community dedicated to spreading its message to the ends of the earth, in order to keep in accord with the words of the Word to them. So “From This Place” is certainly apt in that regard. Regardless, Torrey Conference has historically been the time to explain and dissect parts of the message we carry while Missions Conference is the more pragmatic of the two.

Torrey Conference will be more of a time to focus on evangelism in the context of students’ different majors, said Torrey student director AJ Shaffer in a previous article with the Chimes. This differs from Missions Conference, in which there is a focus on taking the gospel to the nations and developing a heart for the lost in this world. Therefore, Torrey Conference should be a time where students can focus on and be equipped for evangelism in their various spheres of influence, whether that is here in the United States or abroad.

There is a reason missions is based around the Great Commision. It’s because it’s great and the ultimate commision. Why shouldn’t we spend all our time and energy focused on the thing that should matter most? This is a Christian society that is lacking the drive to go out and do something. There should be much emphasis put on missions because it should be our number one priority. Also, missions is something that excites Biola students. We get fueled by the idea and motivated to go out and do something.

Still, it is next to impossible to pour oneself out without being first filled. One of Biola’s greatest and most prominent and celebrated strengths is its passion to spread the gospel to the nations. Another one of its greatest strengths — and perhaps one of its most underrated — is that it trains students in biblical understanding and discernment in such a way that students are soundly equipped to spread the gospel. So while the topic of missions may be more fun and exciting, we cannot go forth to the nations without equipping ourselves. We should keep this in mind as we attend Torrey Conference.

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