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Asbury’s Great Commission Congress highlights mission work

From staff reports

Asbury University’s annual Great Commission Congress inspires students to look outward and think critically about how they can embody Christian service.

This year, the Great Commission Congress drew from the Great Commandment by spotlighting the theme of love and mercy.

Great Commission Con-gress is a longstanding campus tradition that dates back to 1908 when Asbury’s first “mission rally” was held. The week-long event encourages year-round engagement of a Great Commission lifestyle and inspires students to be Great Commission Christians.

During the week, they hear from evangelists working in domestic and international ministries and learn about service opportunities.  

The Great Commission Congress began with a parade of flags from international students’ home countries. The flags decorated Hughes Auditorium at the university throughout the week symbolizing the varied cultural identities represented in the Asbury student body.

Along with chapels and special evening services, Great Commission Congress featured a Missions Expo in the student center where a variety of mission’s organizations spoke about what God is doing around the world and shared ways students can get involved.

Coordinator of InReach Ministries John Morley said Great Commission Congress serves to remind the Asbury community of its call to be salt and light in the world. Morley said he hopes the theme of love and mercy will inspire students to preach the gospel through their actions. 

“Our hope is that we would all lean into God’s call to love,” Morley said. “And, as St. Francis reminds us, ‘if necessary use words.’”

Acclaimed Christian musician Aaron Strumpel led worship throughout the week, playing in chapel and at a prayer gathering where he taught a masterclass for student songwriters.

Highlighting the week’s theme, campus chaplain the Rev. Greg Haseloff kicked off Great Commission Congress by reading from Micah 6:8.

“In a world that is very broken and a society that manifests many forms of division, we have unique opportunities to manifest love and mercy that will bring healing and usher Christ into lives that are looking for hope,” Haseloff said. “We hope that students are challenged to look more like Jesus this week, and we have worked to connect them with a multitude of opportunities, so they can be the hands and feet of Christ in ways they may have never before imagined.”

Chapel speakers included Executive Director of Word Made Flesh Dr. Clint Baldwin, pastor of City Church the Rev. Christy Lipscomb and founding pastor of Winton Community Free Methodist Church the Rev. Katherine Callahan-Howell.

Baldwin encouraged students to use their vocation and lives as ministry during Monday’s chapel service.

“Whether you’re going to be an engineer or a psychologist, figure out how you can walk in the rhythms of what God would have for you in a way that you are able to do good in this world,” he said.