Posted: 5/12/16 at 11:00am. Story by Aaron Lee.
Participants at Mission Matters, hosted recently by the BGAV, spent a weekend wrestling with questions of why mission matters and how they can effectively engage in mission in today’s world.
Through worship gatherings, breakout seminars, and mission training sessions, about 200 attendees from BGAV churches across the state received practical tools and reflected on their unique calling alongside fellow Virginia Baptists on mission.
Dr. Nabil Costa, Executive Director of the Lebanese Society for Educational & Social Development (LSESD), spoke throughout the weekend about the importance of God’s call to mission.
“Sometimes we pray answers, not questions,” he shared during Friday evening’s gathering. “We guide God.” He challenged attendees instead to listen to God, even if, and especially when, it requires stepping outside of our comfort zones.
Costa also shared about the important work of LSESD as a BGAV mission partner, giving insight into their ongoing ministry to Syrian refugees, equipping of leaders for the Church in the Arab world, and continuing educational endeavors through a Baptist school and expansion of services for students with special needs.
Participants who are preparing for upcoming mission service in Romania and Haiti, including projects with Impact Mission Camps, completed orientation sessions to get ready for these experiences, while learning cultural specifics about their destinations and engaging with the BGAV’s emphasis on “global discipleship.”
Sessions also included conversations around the local congregations’ role in responding to mental illness in their communities and in serving immigrant neighbors through legal aid. In addition, attendees explored how to more effectively engage churches in shifting existing local missions strategies from relief to development and in addressing hunger and food insecurity in their communities.
More than 80 volunteers completed certification training with Virginia Baptist Disaster Response, enabling them to respond the next time a disaster strikes. Volunteers who completed the feeding training received additional hands-on instruction, as they prepared Saturday’s lunch for conference attendees.
This inaugural event was an energetic gathering of diverse folks from across the BGAV on mission through a wide variety of ministries with a common calling to be Christ’s hands and feet in the world. Look for more information about the next Mission Matters event, coming this fall in the Northern Virginia region. We hope to see you there!