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Golden Gate missions conference focuses on the Holy Spirit

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–The Holy Spirit in missions was the theme of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary’s 45th annual missions conference.

Featured speaker Roy Fish encouraged the 300 seminary and college students from across the West “to leave this place not merely having it [salvation], but committed to sharing it.”

Hosted by Golden Gate’s David and Faith Kim School of Intercultural Studies, the Feb. 17-19 sessions were held at the seminary’s San Francisco-area Northern California campus.

“The conference helped me to see what God has planned for me,” Myung (M.C.) Cho, a master of divinity student at Golden Gate, said, “and refreshed my view of the Holy Spirit.”

Fish, a longtime evangelism professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, encouraged the students not to become disheartened if the person they share their faith with does not initially come to faith in Christ.

“On average, one person who is lost comes the seventh time he or she is exposed to the Gospel,” Fish said in a message drawn from John 4:35-39.

Fish recounted the many exposures to the Gospel in his own journey to faith — a Sunday School teacher, someone who placed a tract in a bus station and a sermon from a pastor. Each individual shared the Gospel with Fish, but none of them were present when his moment of salvation came.

Fish challenged the students to be willing to be the fourth or fifth contact in the process of someone coming to salvation. “There would never be a number seven,” he said, “if there wasn’t a number four.”

“I learned the importance of being available and realizing the harvest is now,” Krystle Jo Gravatt, a student attending California Baptist University, said of Fish’s message. “It really resonated with me,” she said describing Fish’s description of the incremental process of coming to salvation.

Another featured speaker, Moody Graduate School professor William Thrasher, spoke on the importance of prayer in the life of a believer.

“My prayer is that you will leave here with a new pair of glasses,” Thrasher said in a message from Matthew 7:7-11. “Instead of seeing God through the lens of a guilty conscious … I encourage you to see God in His mercy and kindness — through Jesus. There is a God who desires to bless you beyond your highest imagination.”

Bill Wagner, the Golden Gate missions professor who headed up the conference, assessed the three-day gathering’s impact by noting, “Students, staff and faculty have been praying for several years for a real movement of the Holy Spirit on the campus. All feel that the wonderful spirit of the conference was both an answer and a beginning.”

In addition to the main speakers, multiple seminar sessions on topics related to the Holy Spirit in missions were offered. Gerhard Venter, a professor in residence who is former president of Cape Town Baptist Seminary, presented a seminar on the Holy Spirit’s work in South Africa. Also, missionaries from China were present to discuss missions activities taking place in China and how the students can become involved.

Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary is a Cooperative Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention and operates five fully accredited campuses in Northern California, Southern California, Pacific Northwest, Arizona and Colorado.

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  • Jeff Jones