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October 25, 2012

Press Photo

BCF students attending the Embrace Conference gather around to discuss mission opportunities and challenges.

How do you improve upon a three-day Mission's Conference featuring a dozen mission agencies, dynamic worship experiences, and a challenge to win the world to Christ? By ending the week with an additional dozen representatives from the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention.

On Thursday, October 25, The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville, Fla., hosted the IMB initiative known as "Embracing the Ends of the Earth." The conference is designed to equip local church leaders to mobilize their churches for the task of engaging the approximately 3800 unengaged and unreached people groups with the gospel of Christ.

Nearly 160 participants from 59 churches began arriving on the college campus early on Thursday. Some were BCF students who needed only to walk across the campus. But other groups arrived from as far away as Texas and West Tennessee, eager to be involved in the Great Commission in a more effective, more strategic way.

"The registered trademark of The Baptist College of Florida is 'Changing the World Through the Unchanging Word, ®" stated BCF President Thomas A. Kinchen during a warm welcome extended to participants. "We will not change the world until we have first embraced the gospel and our Lord's Great Commission. Having done this, we can do no less than to embrace those who are still in darkness. We are honored to be a part of this great enterprise."

Morning plenary sessions covered introductory topics to inform and inspire participants on what it means to "embrace" an unreached people group, the need for it, and the weighty considerations involved. Afternoon breakout sessions were provided according to specific locations around the world where the gospel is desperately needed. During the sessions, detailed resources were offered and strategies shared. The closing session consisted of a challenge to boldly carry out the task of embracing the world and sharing the gospel.

"We have always talked about adopting a people group," stated Chris Kroll, pastor at Hartford Baptist Church in Hartford, Alabama. "Now we have a much better understanding of what that means and how to go about it. I am excited. My staff is excited. And my church folks are really excited."

Such enthusiasm was repeated throughout the day, and all over the BCF campus. IMB representatives were equally as excited. "We are quite pleased with the turnout here, and very encouraged at the response we are getting," said one IMB regional strategist. Another colleague added, "It's clear that God is still at work in the hearts of His people. Just to see so many people from so many churches embrace their part of the Great Commission is very encouraging to us all. Only God knows what the eternal results will be."

For more information on how to be involved with "Embracing the Ends of the Earth" or other BCF missions opportunities contact 800-328-2660.