By Linda Nguyen
“If Jesus is not worth your suffering, go live the American dream. Live it up. Become successful in the eyes of the world.”
These words spoken by speaker Paul Richardson at the 24th annual World Mandate missions conference by Antioch Community Church this past weekend sums up the theme of the conference to “Worship God, Change the World.”
More than 4,000 people from around the country gathered at the Ferrell Center to listen to speakers share their experiences as Christian evangelists. There were four main speakers throughout the weekend: Rod Plummer, Paul Richardson, Jimmy Siebert and Max Lucado.
The conference began Friday night with Baylor President Ken Starr welcoming conference attendees to Baylor.
“Pro Ecclesia. For the church. Pro Texana. For Texas, which was an independent country at the time but now is a metaphor for the world. For the world. Here we are,” Starr said. Later Friday night, Plummer, a training pastor and founder of Jesus Lifehouse Church in Tokyo, spoke about the need to bring God to other countries of the world. He also said people were born to make a difference.
“We’re living in a time where God is moving in new nations of the world,” Plummer said. “Isn’t that exciting? God is moving in different parts of the world where he never moved in before.”
Lantana junior Janice Wong said she enjoyed listening to Plummer speak. “Rod Plummer was fantastic and very visionary about how the church can change the world,” Wong said. “I really liked how he gave a lot of stories of the earthquake in Japan, and I think it was very relevant
to all of us.” On Saturday, Richardson spoke about how human beings are designed share the gospel with others.
“Anything that’s been created or made or designed has a specific purpose. A soccer ball was designed to be kicked. A basketball is designed to be bounced. Human beings are designed to be filled up with the Holy Spirit. To listen to the voice of God. To move out beyond our comfort zone, to navigate challenges and pressures, hardships and pain, to have the creativity to overcome that. That’s actually how we were designed. That is life,” Richardson said.
Antioch senior pastor Jimmy Seibert spoke Saturday night about Jesus’ love and his calling for all of his children. Seibert challenged conference attendees to become involved in God’s mission.
“It’s happening in this hour in unprecedented ways,” Seibert said. “The question for you, for me, is whether we’re going to be involved. God is doing it… God is moving in the United States just like he does in the Middle East, just like he does in Indonesia just like he does in Iran, Iraq. You name a nation, and I can tell you a movement happening there.”
Seibert’s speech was like many other speeches he’s given, Wong said. “I think I needed to hear it again,” Wong said. “I’ve heard a lot of the stuff before, but it’s a reminder
that Jesus loved me first and because he loved me, I need to love him back by surrendering everything.”
Seibert asked participants to pray about a country to minister to through prayer, financial areas, or physically going to the country to minister. Participants wrote their commitment to their country on a piece of paper and placed it in a box at the foot of the stage.
More than 7,000 people attended best-selling Christian author Max Lucado’s speech Saturday morning. Lucado spoke about how human beings should be like sponges, absorbing God’s grace and dripping with it.
For the second year, conference attendees also had the opportunity to participate in Impact Now, which lasted until Sunday afternoon and was held at the Waco Convention Center. Impact Now is a ministry that gives people the opportunity to make a difference through a variety of ministries.
These ministries included the Global Orphan Project, Haiti Transformed, UnBound, Clarion Creative, Children’s Book Translation, and Medical Care for Bedouin Gypsies.
As of Saturday evening, conference attendees at Impact Now purchased 337 boxes of stationary designed by 10-year-old Isabelle Redford for the Global Orphan Project, funded the translation of nine children’s books into Kurdish, raised more than $10,000 for Unbound which is a human trafficking initiative, raised more than$4,400 to translate the gospel into four languages and raised more than $8,000 to provide health care for Bedouin gypsies.
Breakout sessions, which were new this year, were also at the Waco Convention Center and participants were able to choose which sessions they wanted to attend.
Breakout sessions included “College Students Can Change the World,” “My Sphere is My Passion,” “Transforming a Village,” “Power Cities Need Power Churches,” and “Putting an End to Human Trafficking.”
World Mandate, 2013, will be held Sept. 20-22, and will feature special guest Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta and founder of the Passion Movement.