Looking forward to Mission Central conferences: SERVE, CREATE, GROW

Mission Central – formerly Missions Fest – will be hosting three conferences next year – SERVE (January 28 – 30), CREATE (February 25 – 26) and GROW (June).

Mission Central’s mission is to grow missional disciples through collaboration, education, inspiration and prayer.

In our writings, conversations, seminars and conferences, we raise the centrality of Christ and his kingdom in the life of every believer, and the importance of forming every disciple in Christ’s image, with his mission.

In September 2019 Missions Festival Society, better known as Missions Fest Vancouver, changed its name to Mission Central Christian Society to better reflect our growing year-round ministry.

God has graciously positioned us to act as a networking hub. We gather churches, agencies and people from diverse backgrounds with the common goal of participating in Jesus’ mission.

What has changed?

A few things have changed since Missions Fest Vancouver was launched in January 1984, particularly in the Canadian landscape.

When Missions Fest began, our focus in missions was on the nations in the Global South where the Gospel was just beginning to flourish. Since the 1980s, the growth of evangelical Christianity has been phenomenal there. Today, most evangelicals are found in the Global South.

Excitingly, over the years, the nations have become Canadians. This has given us an unprecedented opportunity to deepen the Gospel’s impact among diaspora communities and for our churches to be refreshed with new zeal.

Sadly, a negative change has also occurred over the same period. From the early 80s until now, Canada has become much more secular. There has been a dramatic reduction of people who are practicing Christians.

According to a poll called God and Society in North America, in 1996, 12 percent of Canadians were evangelical affiliates. A 2015 poll found 9 percent. Today that seems to have dropped to 6 percent. This raises an important question, “Why has there been a decline in evangelicalism?”

Discipleship

At the heart of the evangelical church’s decline in Canada is weak discipleship. That’s more than a bit ironic because of evangelicals’ love for the Great Commission. The version of the Great Commission most of us are familiar with is in Matthew 28:19-20:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Forming new disciples requires communities, and individuals in those communities, who are being formed into the likeness of Christ. The church is supposed to be identifiable because of the way that the people of God reflect the love and character of Christ, proclaim the coming of the kingdom and resist the powers of darkness at work in the world.

We are not to retreat to our ghetto. We are called to be salt and light. Somewhere, collectively, we have lost the thread.

Refreshing imagination

As part of Mission Central’s strategy to proclaim the kingdom and reintegrate discipleship and mission, we are introducing three new conferences:

SERVE:  This conference resembles Missions Fest Vancouver, where we raise the importance of missions, including a focus on sharing the Gospel, issues of justice, peace and reconciliation, both here at home and around the world.

General sessions feature great missional speakers like Paul Williams, Donna Jordan, Zach Duke and Tim Dickau. We also have 40 seminars, ‘Trail Mix’ discussions and many mission agencies you can interact with.

SERVE (January 28 – 30) will be online this year (mostly), hosted on the Accelevents Virtual Conference platform, which will enable us to have multiple events happening concurrently – and includes social interactivity between attendees to simulate a real conference experience. The Youth Rally and Children’s Program will be in-person.

Visit our website to register.

CREATE:  Art influences culture and should be a concern for those who love Christ’s mission. CREATE is a conference for Christian creatives and those who love the arts.

We want to see Christian artists infused with fresh passion and joy as children of God. As their communal and personal discipleship deepens, we know that their art will express the truth, beauty and goodness of a loving God to a dying world, transcending the pigeon-hole of ‘Christian art.’

CREATE is in-person at Granville Chapel February 25 – 27.

GROW:  Discipleship is central to the advancement of the kingdom and the growth of the church. GROW focuses on young adults. We help connect you with a community where you can grow as a mature missional disciple. We dream of cohorts of mini-Jesuses bringing the love and reconciliation of Christ into every sphere of society.

GROW is coming in June.

John Hall became Executive Director at Mission Central (formerly Missions Fest Vancouver) in 2014.

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1 comment for “Looking forward to Mission Central conferences: SERVE, CREATE, GROW

  1. Why are we having trouble with discipleship? Discipleship begins with the individual which is where faith begins. In a country that practically worships the societal dictatorship of political correctness (the prime minister is a prime model and disciple), individualism is despised.

    A person seen to have the wrong perspective gets verbally ripped on social media, and nowhere has this been more true recently than in discussions/rants concerning masks and vaccines. You can be headed for trouble if you have what someone decides is the ‘wrong’ attitude about vaccines.

    For example; I was muted and then unfriended on Facebook by a close Christian brother on the basis of a false accusation regarding my view of vaccines, despite my providing evidence to the contrary. Relationships in some churches have also been greatly strained by Covid-related disputes, as Christian friends have testified to me. I have heard even Christians condemn individualism as being too ‘American.’

    But Daniel and his friends, Mordecai and Esther, Rehab, Ruth, Abraham, Moses, and Paul, for example, had to be tough. We have to be tough now as individuals and as the body of Christ, because we must be willing to be hated for not being politically correct. Christ has warned us: “You will be hated by all for My name’s sake.” (Mathhew 10:22) That time is now. The hatred is here.

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