Great Commission Congress 2013 Aims for Freedom
WILMORE, Ky. — The questions started off easy.
On Monday, as Asbury’s Great Commission Congress 2013 began, Salvation Army Majors Stephen Court and Danielle Strickland posed a series of questions for students to answer via text message, with results shown in real time on screen in Hughes Auditorium. Monday’s questions were personal, but not necessarily private — for example, “What do people value most?” and “What determines your job or career choice?”.
By the end of the Great Commission Congress on Friday, however, the questions were much tougher. As students shared electronically about their fears and struggles, a message of freedom drawn from the Exodus story of the Israelites’ deliverance from Egypt emerged to encourage them to live in the freedom only God provides.
“The Holy Spirit wants to come and be with us, remind us, liberate us to live a better story,” Strickland said in Chapel. “You were born to change the world. That’s why you exist, to live a better story that can liberate the world.”
The Great Commission Congress is an annual event at Asbury designed to help students define and live out a “Great Commission lifestyle” of gospel-focused engagement with their world. The week includes several opportunities to explore Jesus’ command to “go and make disciples”:
- Themed services during Chapel and special evening meetings
- Residence hall-based small group discussions (called Koinonia groups)
- Corporate prayer before services
- Time to meet with representatives of more than 10 different mission agencies on campus
Some of the mission agencies have a permanent presence on campus through their student centers, which host missionaries and connect students with short- and long-term mission opportunities. For them, the Great Commission Congress is a week to help students take concrete action on the principles they’ve heard throughout the week.
“It’s about finding out where student interests are and connecting them with places where they can use their skills and passions,” said Jonathan Powers, who directs the World Gospel Mission student center with his wife, Faith. “Asbury is so good about providing opportunities to share with students — from tables in the cafeteria to going to Koinonia groups.”
Mission agencies represented at Asbury during the Great Commission Congress included Evangelism Resources, GO InterNational, L’Arch: Greater Washington, D.C., Mission Year, New Hope International, New Life Advance International, One Mission Society, Pneukleus, World Gospel Mission, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Youth for Christ/USA Missionary Deployment and Asbury’s own Cross Cultural Experience office.