Outpour better-received than previous Missions Conferences

Missions Conference was well-received this year, with only a few small hitches.


Chase Gymnasium fills to the brim during Wednesday’s afternoon session. | Olivia Blinn/THE CHIMES

Jackie Grade, Writer

Chase Gymnasium fills to the brim during Wednesday's afternoon session. | Olivia Blinn/THE CHIMES

The extra overflow rooms added to the year’s Missions Conference proved to be unnecessary, according to Rebekah Davis, Outpour Missions Conference co-coordinator. While facilities services highly encouraged the coordinators to open up four rooms to accommodate all of the students, the coordinators shut them down halfway through because there were not enough people attending each session, Davis said.

Jonathan Wyatt, chapel accountability coordinator, stated that the numbers of students attending dropped as the week continued.

“Session one had 2500 students,” he said. “But session seven had 900 attend.”

The decreasing trend echoed the attendance drop during this year’s Torrey Memorial Bible Conference, which had 3,150 attendees at the second session and 1,550 at the sixth.

“The graduating seniors did not have to attend this semester [as opposed to Torrey Conference last semester] which brought down the amount of students attending by a lot,” said Keaton Tyndall, the other Missions Conference coordinator.

Even with smaller crowds attending, facilities still recommended accommodating enough to ensure the overcrowding from Torrey Conference wouldn’t repeat itself. With fewer students spread out between overflow rooms, the Gym filled up and students were able to view more sessions live.

Intentionality about prayer time and prayer coverage

For the students in the Gym specifically, volunteers stood around the room and prayed with the students who came up and asked for it.

“We are happy we could close the rooms so that more people could get prayed over within the Gym,” Davis said.

The coordinators asked people from the International House of Prayer to come Thursday night and pray over the students, said Tyndall. But, the volunteers had never told them how many would actually come. To her pleasant surprise, almost 45 volunteers greeted her outside the Gym ready to pray with and for the students.

“People drove all the way from Bakersfield in order to cover the campus with prayer,” Tyndall said.

Outpour well-received

Evan Stroud, a freshman journalism major, enjoyed the unity Missions Conference brought to the student body. He expressed his interest in the speakers’ ability to educate the students on cultures and missional lifestyles around the world.

“I didn’t personally feel drawn into missions after the conference, but I learned a lot about all the different fields,” Stroud said.

Mark Nesbitt, a sophomore broadcast journalism and political science major, stated that this year’s conference, Outpour, transpired smoothly and had much better reception than Missions Conferences in the past. As the sessions coordinator, Nesbitt witnessed firsthand the personal connections the students were able to make with each speaker’s message.

“Everyone I talked to loved the execution and felt like the sessions really applied to them, specifically,” Nesbitt said.

While most of Biola’s Missions Conferences speak of the missions field in a more international and far away sense, students said that this year had much more of a relational aspect in the sessions and prayers, Nesbitt added.

Small hitches are minimal issues

The conference’s smoothness reflected the coordinators’ relaxed attitudes, according to Tyndall. The coordinators added that the only minor bump along the way was that some students felt offended by a comment during 2008 alumnus David Paltza’s testimony of his part-time missionary life in Russia during which he called Russian Orthodox Christians “atheists and idolaters.” While the coordinators did not foresee this gaffe, Paltza apologized in front of everyone, Tyndall said.

“There will always be people who will be offended in some way,” she said. “But Paltza showed a lot of maturity in his public apology.”

All went according to plan, except for the other minimal issue of time management, as some speakers spoke overtime, but the coordinators were willing to overlook the issue because of the great influx of prayer and clarity that many students said they had needed, Davis added.

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