Summit Finds Millennials Eager for Missions
Nearly one-third of the packed Houston convention center made commitments to serve.
HOUSTON — Students gathered in Houston from college campuses across the U.S. for the fourth World Missions Summit January 4-6. The event, which occurs once every four years, was preceded by 10 weeks of prayer and fasting for a great spiritual awakening.
The meetings kicked off with an incredible challenge.
“There are 6,000 unreached people groups and more than 6,000 in attendance tonight,” stated a Christian worker from a sensitive area on the opening night. “We can reach the world for Christ in one generation!”
Students packed into every available seat, then onto the floors at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center. The attendance was nearly 50 percent more than the previous record at The World Missions Summit (TWMS).
TWMS pairs missionaries from across the globe with college students, encouraging them to “give a year” of service “and pray about a lifetime.” And it seems the students at the 2017 Summit came with hearts prepared to do just that.
“Over 6,000 university students and global workers experienced an outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s empowerment to go into all the world and preach the gospel at our fourth World Missions Summit,” says Greg Mundis, executive director of AG World Missions. “Almost 2,000 students committed to give a year and pray about a lifetime in missions.”
Many of the students in attendance came from Chi Alpha groups at state schools. Chi Alpha Campus Ministries is present on over 300 colleges and universities.
The unique atmosphere of TWMS blends experienced missionaries with eager students to face the realities of life overseas and to become inspired to take their gifts, talents, and abilities to the far ends of the earth.
The TWMS exhibit hall was a place filled with such encounters. In a matter of steps, students would sip Turkish coffee, write Mandarin characters, grind corn in traditional African fashion, or sit on a straw floor for personal stories from the Pacific Islands.
“We were approached by students who were geologists, jet pilots, engineers — all asking how they can serve to help reach the unreached,” says Africa missionary Bill Moore.
Packed with Millennials, the atmosphere in Houston was charged with passion to make the gospel known to all people.
AG World Missions Mobilization director Jeff Hartensveld says, “Very soon, like it or not, we will be handing the baton for the Great Commission on to the next generation. I believe God has uniquely designed them to bring us to the finish line of that age-old command of Christ to go to every nation. They are compassionate, they are mobile, and they desire the authentic power of the Holy Spirit in their lives.”
In fact, 53 percent of the U.S. Assemblies of God is under the age of 35. While many Millennials (18-34) have fallen out of churches in the U.S., the Assemblies of God has grown by more than 10 percent in that same age range within the past decade.
In the closing night, Hartensveld spoke with passion, encouraging the mass of students to take the baton being passed to them from generations of AG missionaries.
With a photograph from the founding convention of the Assemblies of God, Hartensveld told attendees, “Chi Alpha came out of that 102 years ago.” Turning the camera back to the audience, he challenged them, “Out of those 300, more than 66 million came to faith. If they changed their world, what could we do?”
As students return to their campuses from the Summit, that’s precisely what the event organizers are praying the students will do.
“I believe each student and campus missionary can expect to be used by God in ways we have never seen. I further believe each student will begin to step out in a new dimension of faith and that we will see the fruit of the Kingdom of God across the globe in masses never yet observed,” says E. Scott Martin, national director of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries.
“The Lord had spoken that we were about to witness the greatest student awakening in history, and that The World Missions Summit 4 would be a precursor to this great awakening. The awakening has begun as students committed themselves to the evangelization of the world through going, giving, praying and welcoming. This is an awakening of Kingdom courage, abandonment, power, discipleship and covering.”