The Assemblies of God kicks off its first student missions conference today in Louisville, Ky., and nearly 4,000 students registered to attend over the Christmas holiday.
The World Missions Summit to run from Dec. 30, 2005 to Jan. 2, 2006 sets high hopes on challenging kids to put away a year of their time overseas. The theme of the conference is "Capture God's Heart; It's Not About Me."
The Pentecostal denomination is "asking every student to go on a cross-cultural mission at least once during their collegiate career" and asking the even bigger challenge of giving at least one year of post-graduation to an overseas, global cause for God.
Figures show that students going on mission journeys are becoming more and more common. As many as four million North Americans have gone on a short-term missions trip in the past few years, according to Christianity Today. The four-day World Summit is just one of many student conferences worldwide. The largest InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's Urbana Conference attracts 20,000 students every three years.
Chi Alpha Student Missions and Evangelism Representative E. Scott Martin, who is organizing the summit, has great hopes for students to change the world after attending the conference.
"The global impact potential is unparalleled," he said. "We have the potential to unleash an army on the hoards of darkness that can greatly advance the Kingdom of God around the world and do great damage to the kingdom of darkness."
The advantages of student mission conferences are to receive missiological education and hear about the missionary life.
At the conference, students will attend educational breakouts learning about topics, such as "Muslims and the media ministry."
The goal of the Assemblies of God is to introduce students to multiple facets of mission works around the globe.
The event is co-sponsored by Assemblies of God's campus ministry, Chi Alpha and the Assemblies of God's World Missions arm.
In addition to Martin, who formerly pastored at the University of Arizona, speakers include L. John Bueno, executive director of Assemblies of God World Missions, who also founded Latin America Childcare; Jeff Hartensveld, veteran missionary to Indonesia; and Randy Hurst, director of Assemblies of God World Missions Media and Advancement, and also served as a missionary to the Samoan Islands.