OG Summit Recap
by Phil Martin
Sara and I spent last week at the Our Generation Summit in Pigeon Forge Tennessee. It is a ministry of Vision Baptist Missions that they have hosted for at least the last decade. It was my fifth time at the conference so I think I have a pretty good idea of what the conference is about. Here are a few things that make this conference stand out in my mind.
⇒ Actual Missionaries
This shouldn’t be as rare as it is. I’ve been to and watched messages from other missions focused conferences. For some reason, there is a belief that Pastors in the US are the missions experts. While pastors do have valuable things to say, and a few pastors do share at the Summit, the focus is on hearing from actual missionaries. This was one of the most helpful aspects of this conference. When I first went several years ago, I was able to hear from people who remembered what it was like to be in my shoes. Real people, who God had called to the foreign field, who have actually planted churches, sharing their experience from their field. It doesn’t get much better than that.
⇒Talking About Actual Missions
The definition of missions has gone through some significant widening over the past few years. Just about anything a Christian does in a foreign country is now called missions. The team at Vision Missions has not fallen for the fads. This conference is about missions in the traditional sense. Raise support, move across the world, learn a language, plant churches, and train pastors. There is no confusion about what the mission is at the Summit.
⇒Not Afraid to Share Their Burden
Christians have many motivations for world evangelism. For example, we are to be obedient to the commission, we want to bring Glory to God, and the joy and gratitude we have overflows into sharing with others. However, there is one more, compassion for the lost and dying people in this world, that is often not as popular. We skirt around this issue by lumping people into ethnic groups and talking about the big statistic rather than the individuals. Sometimes we would rather talk about the physical needs we see around the world. Some groups have adopted sketchy theology to alleviate the weight of lost souls on their conscience.
The reason? The hardest thing for a Christian to do is to come face to face with the reality of individual human beings who are on their way to an eternity of torment, and to walk away without doing a thing. Since our selfish human hearts would rather not do anything, (mine included) it is easier just to find a way around it. I commend the leaders of the summit for coming back year after year and emphasizing the exact thing which is so difficult to emphasize. These brothers and sisters truly agonize over the helpless spiritual state of the world and they are desperate to see God use them to make a difference.
Hope to see you next year at the Our Generation Summit!