JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) announced last month its decision to put the Great Commission Conference on hold for 2020, according to a statement from MBC Making Disciples director Brad Bennett.
“The Great Commission Conference, formally known as the Evangelism Conference, has been one the longest-standing equipping events in our state and we are evaluating its current effectiveness,” Bennett wrote in a statement released to The Pathway, Sept. 30.
“I remember a day when conference attendance was well over 1,000 people,” he added. “In recent years it has dwindled significantly, which begs the question: Why? I do not have all the answers, but what I can tell you is that it is our responsibility as MBC staff members to be the best possible stewards of the resources entrusted to us.
“Because of the low attendance and the significant financial investment, we are officially making the decision to put the GCC on hold for 2020 in order to prayerfully evaluate the conference in light of our vision and mission. We want to consider alternatives that could possibly promote evangelism/disciple-making more effectively across our state.
“The hiatus from the GCC should by no means be seen as the MBC taking a step back from evangelism/discipleship; rather, it is hitting the pause button to prayerfully consider whether there are more effective ways to be even stronger together as Missouri Baptists to transform lives and communities with the gospel.”
Bennett, who joined the MBC missionary staff earlier this year, explained that the MBC’s re-evaluation of the Great Commission Conference coincides with a new discipleship model being developed for MBC churches.
“The Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20) is the Lord Jesus’ mandate to the church to make disciples. When taking a closer look at the Great Commission, you see four main distinctives,” Bennett wrote. “In the days ahead, the MBC’s Making Disciples group is rolling out a discipleship model called L.I.F.E.”
This discipleship model, he explained, includes the following four elements:
L – Leading people to Christ
I – Identifying people to Christ
F – Fully maturing in Christ
E – Equipping others to equip others
“When it comes to making disciples,” Bennett said, “we want to filter everything we do through the L.I.F.E distinctives. You are going to hear more on this in the near future, but our desire is to come alongside Missouri Baptists to help implement Making Disciple strategies and processes.
“In light of this, it is good from time to time to evaluate what we are doing and look at the most effective ministries we have that help accomplish our vision and mission.”
Bennett told The Pathway that the MBC may organize a prayer event for 2020 only.
“We are considering a regional prayer gathering in 2020, inviting Missouri Baptists to pray with us for the Lord’s guidance in how to be most effective in evangelism/disciple-making,” Bennett said. “The gathering is not to replace the GCC conference and the intent is to only be held in 2020 unless the Lord would lead differently.
“I am humbled and honored to be serving as the new director of Making Disciples,” he added. “As we look to the future, I am encouraged. I have already made many connections with Missouri Baptists around our state. I believe the Lord has great things in store as we look to reach people with the life-changing message of Jesus.”