File // THE CHIMES
This year’s reimagined Missions Conference will give students a sense of normalcy within the Biola community, according to missions co-coordinator Alissa Wooley. Although it has been translated into a mainly virtual experience, Wooley is excited to see how God will utilize the new format to reach students at a global level.
LED BY THE SPIRIT THROUGH TRIALS
From March 17-24, this year’s Mission Conference will explore the theme of being “Compelled” and led by the Spirit through uncertain times. Wooley explained that the theme draws from Acts 20:17-24 where the apostle Paul allows himself to be led by God even though there are trials and hardships in front of him.
“We’ve kind of been focusing on this idea of inward transformation to outward action,” Wooley said. “We wanted students to know that to be on mission for Christ you have to have that internal transformation, the spirit within you evolving you, changing you, growing you.”
According to Wooley, leaning on the Spirit through hard times is very relevant to today’s world amid the uncertainty of COVID-19. She explained that much like Paul, it is important for students to hear God’s call and follow him through these difficult times.
Wooley explained the Student Missionary Union has created an experience to reach both virtual and on-campus students. According to Director of Student-Led Ministries and Spiritual Formation Chad Miller, coordinators have strived to make the conference feel familiar and real to those attending, regardless of the format.
“The thing I want to highlight is that the student leaders want to serve the student body as best as they possibly can,” Miller said. “I think it’s vulnerable for the students. They’re putting their blood, sweat and tears into the creation of this thing without really having any guarantees of whether it’s going to go well or not.”
One of the biggest challenges in planning this conference, according to Wooley, has been the lack of in-person community which has presented an obstacle in creating a cohesive, unified event. In an effort to revamp the experience for students, however, Wooley and her team will introduce a new website dedicated to the conference. In it, attendees will be able to access exclusive media created to keep the dynamic interesting and fresh.
“You can still participate in all those different departments, get prayer, interact with different missionary organizations, watch global awareness documentaries,” Wooley said. “That’s gonna really complete that whole experience of Missions Conference.”
According to Wooley, about 50% of Biola’s current student body has never experienced Missions Conference since it was canceled due to COVID-19 in 2020. Despite this reality, the co-coordinator shares her excitement in holding the new online format, confident that God will use the platform positively, even to a global scale.
“I’m also just really excited to see how God is going to impact people’s lives beyond that typical ‘gym’ experience,” Wooley said.