Missions Fest 2019 Recap

Once again God has been good to us and led us to the successful conclusion of another Missions Fest Vancouver conference! This year was our 36th conference. Unlike most years, the conference took place a week early on January 18-20th, 2019.

The theme for 2019 was “Mission: Discipling”. In the mission community, it often seems like we pay the most attention to the “Go” of the Great Commission. This year, we wanted to shift people’s attention to the command to “make disciples”.

Over several years, the main exploration of the conference theme has happened in the General Sessions. This year, we had five great speakers to dig into the topic of Discipling. Mark Anderson is on the forefront of movements that help the global Christian community practically consider the task of bringing Jesus’ good news to the ends of the earth. Marcio Garcia has decades of experience evangelizing and pastoring remote fishing villages on the coast of Brazil, and he’s now raising up a new generation to take over and extend the work God gave him. Ruthie Kim, called by God to the notorious Tenderloin area of San Francisco, disciples marginalized women into wholeness in Christ. Finally, we were blessed to hear from Lisa Loden and Salim Munayer, who shared about their journey of leading Palestinian and Jewish Christians to reconciliation. 

Recordings of all these speakers talks can be purchased as a package. Click Here!


Exhibitors and the Friday Move-In

Friday mornings are always a busy time at the Missions Fest Vancouver conference. 

Our weekend begins with the exhibitor move-in starting at 6:30am. Our operations team and Capernwray students help each of the exhibitors unload their vehicles and set up their booths. This year, we had 227 exhibitors sharing about their ministries. Our hospitality team makes sure that everyone has coffee and a snack to keep them moving at that early hour. 

Throughout the weekend, exhibitors reported good engagement with attendees, even though the overall traffic seemed to be a little bit light. Next year, we are redesigning the exhibit floor with the aim of increasing interaction between exhibitors and attendees.


Field Trip

By 9am, most of the exhibitors have moved in, and the students and teachers start arriving for the school Field Trip. Our Field Trip welcomes students from Grades 4–12 from Christian schools and homeschooling networks. 

This year, we had 972 students and teachers! All the students have age-appropriate workshops in the morning, time to explore the exhibits at noon, and a closing worship session. 

This year, Marcio Garcia shared about his experiences ministering in Brazil.


Intercessory Prayer

Our intercessory prayer team also gets an early start. This year, they prayer-walked the whole conference centre on Friday morning. Throughout the weekend, they were very encouraged by the number of young people who came to the prayer room interceding for God to move in the conference and in his mission around the world. 

The Healing Rooms opened at noon on Friday and, although they had a slow start, they ended up having a record-breaking weekend for personal prayer ministry. 


Seminars

The seminars, which ran on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this year, are one of the biggest draws to Missions Fest. We had 87 seminars and 4 Mini-Conferences at Missions Fest 2019. In addition to the seminars being listed by time, they are also categorized by concentrations like: Business and Technology, Gospel Proclamation, Justice, Local Mission and Church Planting, Mission and the Arts, Preparing for and Supporting Mission, and Relief and Development. 

The seminars are taught by missional experts from agencies and churches. Over the course of the weekend, we had 4,424 attendees. The Reason to Believe seminar with Hugh Ross, and the Empower Ministries seminar with Ron Pearce were audience favourites. Several seminars that address our current societal dynamics were also well attended. Two seminars that explored the subject of same-sex attraction and discipleship were among the best attended, in part because of the tensions around the SOGI policy. Another topic that is top-of-mind is how to engage refugees with the Gospel; helpful insights were brought to us by Meredith Johnson from the All Nations Family.


Attendance

Another first for Missions Fest was the addition of Registration for General Admission. 

Registration went incredibly smoothly. Prior to the weekend, we had 4,034 people register online. We also registered over 3000 people on-site. Registration only applied to people who were eighteen and older. 

In total, we registered 7,034 people. Missions Fest relies on the support of the people attending the conference and now we know that the average gift per person is $5.28.


Volunteers

In addition to registration for General Admission, we had registration stations for volunteers and over 700 staff for the exhibitors’ booths. The new department of Registration required 26 volunteers per shift throughout the weekend. On Friday and Saturday, the registration process was anchored by the students from the Omega program at Summit Pacific Bible College. 

In total every year we have over 500 volunteers. There are skilled and unskilled positions. In some cases, like in our AV production team, we are willing to take basic skills and train people to use professional broadcast equipment. 

Playing a part in this amazing weekend is truly a privilege. If you or someone you know might be interested in volunteering - Click Here!


Youth Rallies

On Friday, we launched our Junior Youth Rally (formerly Club 67). Unlike previous years, the JYR was on an alternate evening to the senior Youth Rally. We had 237 people participate in the event which is designed for youth in Grades 6–8. 

On Saturday night, 1,540 youth participated in the Youth Rally, where Citizens led worship and Ruthie Kim shared a powerful challenge to walk as a disciple of Jesus.


Film Festival

The weekend continued to gain momentum with the opening of the Film Festival on Friday night featuring the film I Survived I Kissed Dating Goodbye. We were honored to have Joshua Harris join us for the talk-back after the film. In fact, most of the films we featured over the weekend were followed by a talk-back session. 

Concurrently with the Friday night film, we had Stephanie Ratcliff perform in the Arts Café. If you’re not familiar with the Arts Café, these are times to celebrate Christians who are exploring the artistic call on their lives. Stephanie’s story of her journey into mission is featured in our promo video, available on the Missions Fest website.

Throughout the weekend, it seemed like the Holy Spirit was ahead of us making His presence known, not as a result of anything that we had done, but purely by grace. The conference was good, but his intimate presence is better. Our prayers are that you would know the Holy Spirit’s presence throughout this year and that you would follow Christ wherever he leads.

Watch 2019 Conference Moments

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