KANSAS CITY, Mo – With a focus on taking the gospel to the nations, Midwestern Seminary hosted the eighth annual For the Church National Conference in Kansas City on Sept. 26-27.
Keynote speakers Tony Merida, Jared C. Wilson, Jason K. Allen, J.D. Greear, Matt Carter, and Brian Davis preached impassioned messages revolving around the conference’s theme of “For the Nations,” while Matt Boswell led attendees in corporate worship.
“I believe this was best For The Church National Conference we have ever had,” said President of Midwestern Seminary Jason Allen. “From the speakers, to the worship, to the breakout sessions, every aspect of this conference was encouraging, equipping, and challenging. I am confident the Lord did use and will continue to use this conference in the lives of all the attendees as we seek to be faithful in fulling the Great Commission.”
Every Tongue, Tribe, and Nation
Tony Merida, pastor of preaching and vision at Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, Nc, led the conference’s first session, focusing on the urgent need to evangelize the nations.
Drawing from 2 Corinthians 5, Merida reminded conference attendees of three essential priorities of the missionary task: why we speak, what we speak, and how we speak.
He shared, “We are good news people in a bad news world. The gospel is too good to keep to ourselves.”
Merida concluded by saying, “A lot of people don’t go to the nations because they don’t have a gospel worth preaching.”
The Heart of Jesus
Jared C. Wilson, assistant professor of pastoral ministry and author in residence at Midwestern Seminary, delivered the conference’s second message, focusing on Jesus’ love for sinners and the importance of pursuing Christlikeness in missions.
Wilson preached from John 17, revealing Jesus’ heart as unifying, missional, and glorious.
During the sermon, Wilson stated, “The gospel doesn’t just make strangers friends; it makes enemies family.”
“Who do we think we are to give the cold shoulder to a person that Jesus himself embraces?”, Wilson asked, urging attendees toward Christlikeness. “Who are we to malign a person whom Christ himself loves?”
The Gospel for the Nations
President Jason Allen opened the second day of the conference, continuing the theme of “For the Nations” by speaking to the centrality of the gospel in the missionary task.
Preaching from Matthew 28:16-20, Allen addressed three main emphases from the text: the authority to realize, the mission to fulfill, and the promise to claim.
Reflecting on the significance of this passage for every Christian, Allen said, “Worship precedes the Great Commission. The Great Commission is an act of worship.”
“We are in a race against time to reach the world for Christ,” Allen said, urging pastors and ministry leaders to take the next step in their discipleship to Jesus. “We need to move to a mobilized wartime footing today.”
Reaching Hard Places
J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, Nc, addressed attendees on the urgent need for courageous missionaries taking the gospel to the hardest places on the planet.
The main emphasis of his message from Romans 15 was to help attendees discern the call of Christ on their lives. He asked two questions to help understand the missionary call: (1) where is the Spirit of God moving in my life?, and (2) what is the Word of God saying to the Church?
“When you accepted Jesus, you accepted the call to missions,” Greear said. “You don’t need to wonder if you’re called; you need to discern where you’re called and how.”
Reaching the Nations at Home
Matt Carter, former lead pastor of Sagemont Church who will serve as vice president of mobilization for the North American Mission Board Send Network on Oct. 1, led the next session focusing on the importance of redefining success in the local church to fulfill the Great Commission.
Preaching from several verses in Ephesians, he defined success as focusing more on releasing leaders than gathering large crowds.
As he said, “I’m convinced that a church of 50 can have a far greater spiritual impact than a church of 50,000 if that church of 50 is committed to raising people up and sending them out for the glory of God.”
Praying Towards This End
In the conference’s final session, Brian Davis, who serves on the church planting team for Risen Christ Fellowship, focused on the importance of prayer in the missionary task.
“Prayer is a unique privilege of the people of God,” Davis shared. “The disciples understood that the Great Commission takes a great commitment to preaching and a great commitment to praying.”
Davis encouraged conference attendees from Acts 6:4 to devote themselves to prayer, saying, “Taking the gospel to the nations indeed is our duty and is far beyond our domain, so we must be people of prayer.”
Pre-Conference and Workshops
On Monday morning, Spurgeon College hosted the Student Pastor Conference, a one-day pre-conference aimed at equipping and refreshing student ministers. Featured speakers included Samuel Bierig, Jared Bumpers, and Alex Duke.
On Tuesday afternoon, multiple workshops and breakout sessions were held for conference attendees. Pastors and ministry leaders from among the broader SBC community led each session. Speakers and sessions included:
- Paul Davis, president of ABWE, on “What is the Church’s mission?”
- Brian Davis, pastor at Del Ray Baptist Church (Alexandria, Va), on “Every Tribe and Tongue”
- Phil Newton, director of pastoral care and mentoring for the Pillar Network, on “The Future of Missions”
- Nancy Guthrie, author and Bible teacher, on “God’s Heart for the Nations”
- Micah Fries, director of engagement at Glocal.net and director of programs at the Multi-Faith Neighbor’s Network, on “Multifaith Dialogue”
- Jeff Dodge, teaching pastor at Veritas Church (Iowa City, Ia), on “Great Commission Discipleship”
- Rudy Gonzalez, professor of Biblical Studies at Midwestern Seminary in Kansas City, Mo, on “Para La Inglesia”
- Daniel Sanchez, distinguished professor emeritus of missions at Southwestern Seminary, on “Para La Inglesia”
Full videos of all FTC22 plenary sessions will be available soon via the resources page at mbts.edu and at FTC.co. Information regarding FTC23 will soon be available at mbts.edu/ftc