A first look into Missions 2019

Here is what to expect at the 90th Missions Conference.

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A first look into Missions 2019

Photo by Thecla Li/ THE CHIMES

Photo by Thecla Li/ THE CHIMES

Photo by Thecla Li/ THE CHIMES

Julianna Hernandez, News Editor

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(This story was originally published in print on March 14, 2019).

The countdown to the 90th annual Missions Conference has started. Less than a week remains until long lines wrap around to the Bell Tower, until flags representing many nations and cultures fly through Chase Gym and until Housefires headlines the conference’s worship for the first time.

In the months before Missions Conference comes in full-swing, its staff has been planning, creating and strategizing a new, unique experience for students aimed at empowering them to be ambassadors for Christ as citizens of the Kingdom.

Speakers

The event will feature five keynote speakers with diverse backgrounds that go over the arc of the theme: “Ambassador.” Lead pastor of Fellowship Monrovia Albert Tate will open and close the conference, speaking on the identity portion of ambassador and the practical application. The next speaker, Ben Stuart, a pastor at Passion City Church, who also led a large college ministry at Texas A&M, was partly chosen due to his experience communicating with college students, according to Missions Conference director and senior business administration major Claire Pettit.

Glenn Campbell, who is a missionary in South Africa, will speak to the “Go and Do” aspect of missions. Christian Mungai, a native Kenyan missionary to the United States, will bring a new perspective to missions and teach about responsibility to the global church. Margaret Yu is the executive director of Ethnic Focused Communities of Cru and has served more than 30 years in the organization, and she is the only female keynote speaker at this year’s conference.

“Our speakers are kind of like going with the flow, kind of walking through our process of developing the theme,” Pettit said. “The first step is recognizing your identity as a citizen of heaven and then from that, how that empowers us and equips us to go and share the gospel. And then the mobilization… What does that mean and how do we live. When you look at the schedule, the first day will be more identity focused and then we’ll kind of move into the empowerment process and the gospel proclamation.”

Interactive experience

The conference’s Interactions department coordinators, junior studio art major Jonah Ladesic and sophomore art major Maddie Miller, want to achieve an cohesive and sleek look for the conference in the decorations adorning campus, in contrast to the crafty and homemade looks from previous years. According to Ladesic, there is a set color palette for the designs—green, blue, yellow, red and dark blue—that can be found on any marketing materials, signs and even social media. Additionally, an interactive design of QR codes will be placed on the ground near session lines, so attendees can scan them and watch videos while waiting.

Along with designing the look of campus, Interactions also hosts its own events and will run its own Marketplace near Flour Fountain. The Global Lunch this year will be Moroccan-made by the executive chef of the Caf, Amin Boussaksou, who originates from Morocco. This year there will also be musical performances in the marketplace.

“In all past years, the Marketplace area has kind of been the hub of [the] conference, but I think this year with the live music that will be really fun,” Miller said.

The missionary fair will have some incentive for visiting students this year. The Missions Conference marketing and hospitality department made passport booklets for the fair, so students can go around and get stamps from each missionary organization to be entered into a raffle. To increase interactions, there will also be a root beer float night, painting session and attempts to break some world records.  

“The purpose of the missionary events is to connect missionaries and students and so how can we connect both very different groups,” Pettit said. “In the past, we’ve had the ice cream social, but the problem with that is people just get ice cream and go and there wasn’t really like any socialization.”

Overall, the Missions Conference staff emphasizes involvement of the attendees.

“I… encourage students to get engaged with all the different events that are going on and just pay attention to little details, like notice what’s different and what is changed. Just to engage, because there are a lot of opportunities and cool different events,” Miller said.