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Students urged to leverage their lives for the Gospel at SEBTS Global Missions Week

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) – This year’s Go Conference, part of Global Missions Week at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern, called hundreds of college-aged students to leverage their lives for the Great Commission.

Speakers included Scott Pace, provost and associate professor of pastoral ministry and preaching at Southeastern; Tony Merida, pastor for preaching and vision at Imago Dei Church; and J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church.

In the first session, Greear reminded attendees that obedience to the Great Commission is not an optional aspect of following Jesus.

“The call to leverage your life for the Great Commission was included in your call to follow Jesus,” Greear said. “The question is no longer if you’re called; the question now is only where and how.”

Pace told students in the second session the call to go and make disciples ultimately means staying surrendered and available to God.

“We are called to live a surrendered life for God and for his mission,” Pace said.

Pace, and later Merida in the third session, challenged attendees to remember that staying surrendered involves constant dependence on God and an unshakable confidence in the Gospel. Merida also pointed out that coming to faith in Christ entails not only new life in Christ but also a new identity as His ambassador — as a participant in God’s mission.

“If you are a believer, you are not an observer,” Merida said. “You are a participant in the mission of God.”

Global Missions Week

During Global Missions Week, students heard about upcoming mission trips, connected with missionaries and church planters and learned about opportunities to serve with the International Mission Board (IMB), the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and other ministry organizations.

Global Missions Week featured a full schedule of learning events and opportunities to engage with missionaries, including prayer walks, a library talk, coffee times with missionaries, Go lunches for college and seminary students and a missions fair with representatives from the IMB, NAMB and the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

“It was encouraging to sit down with a missionary over coffee and glean insights from someone working in a field of ministry different than my own,” one student said. “To hear about his methodologies and experiences and to see his heart for his target people helped me think through how to reach a similar target people in a Christlike way and build bridges to the Gospel.”

Addressing practical needs related to missions, Southeastern hosted targeted events like its Motherhood on the Mission Field event, which was designed to encourage current and future moms who are considering fulltime missions. Participants got to hear from current missionary moms, make connections, be refreshed and learn how to steward motherhood as an opportunity for discipleship.

During the week, chapel messages highlighted the call to make disciples and the vast need for Gospel witness. At Tuesday’s chapel, Paul Akin challenged attendees to consider Matthew 10 and the question, “What does it really mean to follow Jesus?” Walking attendees through Matthew 10:34-39, Akin reminded students, staff, and faculty that following Jesus requires absolute allegiance and dying to self.

“When we chose to follow Christ, we chose to let go of our plans,” Akin said. “God is the one who determines where we go and when we go and how we go. The good news is that he wants to use you in his mission of redemption.

“We fool ourselves if we believe this myth — this lie — that you can follow Christ on your own terms. This is the call of the Christian life: a call to live, a call to die, a call to serve the Lord wherever He calls us.”

During Thursday’s chapel, former missionary and bestselling author Nik Ripken, who served with the IMB for 35 years, challenged students to devote their lives to making disciples among the unreached and least reached. Drawing from Jesus’s passion narrative, Ripken warned students not to approach God’s Word as something merely to be studied or discussed — a record of how God worked in the past — but rather to join in God’s mission and obey God’s word in the present.

Encouraging attendees with stories of faithfulness and sacrifice among the persecuted church, Ripken recounted how Christians in hard places are giving their lives for Jesus and how many people still lack access to the Gospel. Calling students to question the impulse to stay where life is comfortable and familiar, Ripken placed before them an invitation to consider the nations.

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  • Chad Burchett/SEBTS