I went to my first World Mandate Conference in 2000. I remember the anticipation and excitement I felt as I drove into the parking lot of the tiny central Texas retreat center where the conference was being held.
I was excited about the opportunity to worship with other Christians and learn more about Jesus and His plan for the world.
The room was packed with people, as I made my way to try and find a seat. During the times of worship, prayer and teaching that weekend God worked in my life in a powerful way, growing my sense of awe and wonder at how incredibly good Jesus is, and expanding my vision from a narrow me-centric life plan, to a greater awareness of God at work in the world to seek and save, redeem and restore.
That weekend, the first of many World Mandates that I have attended, was the beginning of a deep, life shaping, work of grace in my life, for which I am forever thankful.
Over the years, participating in the World Mandate conference has become a yearly rhythm for me, my family and our church as an anchor of hope, clarity and joy around the things that really matter, and a catalyst for fulfilling Jesus's call to make disciples in the upcoming year.
From the tiny retreat center, to the Ferrell Center at Baylor University, the conference grew, as it became an anchor for many others beside myself. Through years that contained the terrorist attack of 9/11, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a tsunami in Sri Lanka and Indonesia, a hurricane in Haiti, the Arab Spring, the Syrian refugee crisis, and heightened racial unrest in America, the conference has consistently been a voice of hope, grace, courage and calling to me, to our church, and to the body of Christ to remind us that our God is not silent, passive or disinterested, but that Jesus is still calling disciples to himself and sending them out to preach the good news, love the lost, serve the poor, make disciples, and plant churches as a part of God's desire to rescue and redeem a dying world.
With advancements in technology and the growth of our family of churches, this year, World Mandate will not occur in one central location as it did when I first started attending, but it will be facilitated in a number of locations across the US. Additionally I love the fact that World Mandate is taking place in the same season as One Thing, Passion, The Cross For The Nations Conference, Cru Conference and The Student Mobilization Conference - all focused on a similar mission and vision- to lift high the name of Jesus in our lives, in our cities and in the nations of the world.
The multi-city approach to World Mandate, as well as the other conferences with similar vision happening across our nation this January are a great picture and reminder that call of the great commandment and the great commission is not limited to one church, or city or group of believers, but the call is for all of Jesus's disciples- people like you and me.
If you are interested in knowing Jesus more, being rescued from the tyranny of a self-serving life, and want to be a part of His mission, I would love to invite you to World Mandate this year.
If you have been before, I invite you to come again and to anchor a fresh in 2017 around what really matters- that the Lamb would receive the reward of His sufferings- starting with you and me!
Want to go to World Mandate? You can sign up here. Space is limited so don't wait!