“It’s one of the best weeks of the year.” That’s how faculty members often refer to the annual Missions Conference held at The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville, and the students couldn’t agree more. Each year, mission agency representatives from nearby and faraway set up displays, hand out materials, visit classes, and build relationships with students, all for the purpose of furthering God’s Kingdom around the globe. “Jesus said the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few,” commented Mel Heal, a Representative from MissionGo. “I am praying some of BCF’s finest will help fill some of that gap.”
This year’s conference, held October 17-19, featured the powerful preaching of Keynote Speakers Tommy Green, Executive-Treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention, Clayton Cloer, BCF President-Elect, and Thomas A. Kinchen, current President of The Baptist College of Florida. The theme was the missions mandate of BCF, “Changing the World through the Unchanging Word.®”
“When I invited the speakers, Dr. Kinchen asked me if this year’s theme was ‘Out with the Old and In with the New,’” joked Missions Professor and Conference Coordinator Richard Elligson. “But just the opposite is true. It’s more like passing the torch and continuing the legacy.” Indeed, missions and evangelism have been a central focus of the college since its founding over 79 years ago. “And with Dr. Cloer’s heartbeat for missions, that emphasis will only continue to grow,” stated Elligson.
Not only does the conference boast of something-for-everyone, but there are always some surprises. “We never quite know what the Lord will do during this week,” Elligson explained. “But He always shows up!” The college was happy to welcome several first-time representatives to this year’s conference, and all were excited to be included. “There is something special about this campus and about this group of students,” one newcomer stated. “Regardless of what degree they are pursuing, they are all enthusiastic about ministry and missions. How refreshing!” First time students were equally happy to be involved. “This group of new students was genuinely enthralled with all that happened during the week,” reported Psychology Professor Tonya Gardner, who also serves as BCF’s First-Year Student Liaison. “It was more than just a passing interest,” she added. “They are still talking about it.”
What was not so surprising, was the appearance of familiar faces. This year, five of the mission agency representatives were also BCF graduates. “John said in his third epistle, ‘I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth,’” quoted BCF President Thomas A. Kinchen. “I understand how John must have felt. It’s such a blessing to see our graduates not only walking in truth, but spreading that truth around the world.”
For more information on the Missions Conference or the mission degree programs offered at The Baptist College of Florida, please call at 800.328.2660 or visit the website at www.baptistcollege.edu.