This was our repetitive prayer for the Mission 1:8 Summit. A humble invitation, that was prayed at the start of every session, workshop and activity while we were together. We came expectant and excited for the presence and movement of the Holy Spirit.
At the end of June, around 325 individuals from all over the world gathered — Global Partners (GP) missionaries from every GP field, the GP Resource Team, NEXT interns, prayer and financial partners, and volunteers from partnering churches — in Athens, Greece, for our Mission 1:8 Summit.
Mission 1:8, for Acts 1:8, was a time of worship and reflection. Gathering everyone together in this way has only taken place one other time, in 2016. Typically, each GP area holds annual area conferences, but the Mission 1:8 Summit took the place of those conferences this year.
It was an additional blessing to welcome NEXT interns to join in this experience. Sixteen interns serving at four different sites for the summer were able to meet one another, meet and learn from GP missionaries and join in celebrating global missions with our team as a whole. It was wonderful to have them there with us.
As we set this time apart and planned to focus on Acts 1:8, the conference location was intentionally chosen as well. A place that was not only more centrally located and desirable to experience, but which also holds such a significant piece of Paul’s journey, as described in Acts. Seeing places like Mars Hill brought a certain reality to each of us as we studied the Word together.
Mission 1:8 also provided an opportunity to refocus and remind us why we have set out to serve all over the world.
We highlighted that our GP mission is to reach the 4 in 10 people around the world who live without access to the gospel. To do so, we are launching and growing local churches in global communities, resulting in a ripple effect of disciples making disciples and churches planting churches, until the gospel is spread from Everywhere to Everywhere.
By rallying around this, we found ourselves even more unified as we returned to our global ministries.
Throughout the week we heard from several individuals, including Dr. Steve Addison, leader of MOVE, an agency based in Australia committed to launch global missional movements.
Though Steve’s teachings centered on the book of Acts, we were reminded that God is always working — so we should live with expectation and anticipation to join him in what he is already doing. Steve shared a time when a man signed up for an English language class announcing he was an atheist. Steve replied, “Great! How would you like to study the Bible with me?” To which the man eagerly agreed. What would it be like if we went into every conversation and situation knowing that if we’re there, God must already be at work?
General Superintendent Wayne Schmidt, who also participated in the Summit, said, “I was so inspired by our missionaries’ full confidence in the power of the living and active Word of God and work of the Holy Spirit in sharing the gospel!”
Thank you to everyone who prayed and financially gave to help make this happen. Most of all, praise God for his deep love and kindness, and praise him for the hearts that say “yes” to this mission that matters — forever.
Rev. Dr. Dennis Jackson is the executive director of Global Partners of The Wesleyan Church.
Heather Auker is the communications supervisor for Global Partners of The Wesleyan Church.