Students urged to leverage their lives for the Gospel at Southeastern's Global Missions Week


WAKE FOREST, N.C. — Over the past week, Southeastern Seminary and The College at Southeastern hosted their annual Go Conference for college students followed by a variety of on-campus events for Global Missions Week. Encouraging students to pray for the nations and for missionaries on the field, these events also challenged students to consider how they might join in God’s global mission.

Southeastern believes that the Great Commission is the mission of the Church and that serving churches well means equipping men and women to join in this mission as faithful disciple makers. That is why Southeastern hosts a missions and disciple-making conference each spring and dedicates a week of its spring semester every year to the cause of global missions.

This year’s Go Conference called hundreds of college-aged students to leverage their lives for the Great Commission, highlighting the call to make disciples and exposing them to North American and international ministry needs. Speakers included Scott Pace, provost and associate professor of pastoral ministry and preaching at Southeastern; Tony Merida, pastor for preaching and vision at Imago Dei Church; and J. D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church.

In the first session, Greear reminded attendees that obedience to the Great Commission is not an optional aspect of following Jesus.

“The call to leverage your life for the Great Commission was included in your call to follow Jesus,” noted Greear. “The question is no longer if you’re called; the question now is only where and how.”

As Pace shared with college students in the second session, this call to go and make disciples ultimately means staying surrendered and available to God.

“We are called to live a surrendered life for God and for his mission,” commented Pace.

Pace, and later Merida in the third session, challenged attendees to remember that staying surrendered involves constant dependence on God and an unshakable confidence in the gospel. Merida also pointed out that coming to faith in Christ entails not only new life in Christ but also a new identity as his ambassador — as a participant in God’s mission.

“If you are a believer, you are not an observer,” commented Merida. “You are a participant in the mission of God.”

During Global Missions Week, students heard about upcoming mission trips; connected with missionaries and church planters; and learned about opportunities to serve with the International Mission Board, the North American Mission Board, and other ministry organizations.

Global Missions Week featured a full schedule of learning events and opportunities to engage with missionaries, including prayer walks; a library talk; coffee times with missionaries; Go lunches for college and seminary students; and a missions fair with representatives from the IMB, NAMB, and the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

“It was encouraging to sit down with a missionary over coffee and glean insights from someone working in a field of ministry different than my own,” a student recounted on Thursday. “To hear about his methodologies and experiences and to see his heart for his target people helped me think through how to reach a similar target people in a Christlike way and build bridges to the gospel.”

Addressing practical needs related to missions, Southeastern hosted targeted events such as its Motherhood on the Mission Field event, which was designed to encourage current and future moms who are considering full-time missions. Participants got to hear from current missionary moms, make connections, be refreshed, and learn how to steward motherhood as an opportunity for discipleship.

During the week, chapel messages highlighted the call to make disciples and the vast need for gospel witness. At Tuesday’s chapel, Paul Akin challenged attendees to consider Matthew 10 and the question, “What does it really mean to follow Jesus?” Walking attendees through Matthew 10:34-39, Akin reminded students, staff, and faculty that following Jesus requires absolute allegiance and dying to self.

“When we chose to follow Christ, we chose to let go of our plans,” noted Akin. “God is the one who determines where we go and when we go and how we go. The good news is that he wants to use you in his mission of redemption.”

“We fool ourselves if we believe this myth — this lie — that you can follow Christ on your own terms,” added Akin. “This is the call of the Christian life: a call to live, a call to die, a call to serve the Lord wherever he calls us.”

During Thursday’s chapel, Nik Ripken, who served with the IMB for 35 years, challenged students to devote their lives to making disciples among the unreached and least reached. Drawing from Jesus’s passion narrative, Ripken warned students not to approach God’s word as something merely to be studied or discussed — a record of how God worked in the past — but rather to join in God’s mission and obey God’s word in the present.

Encouraging attendees with stories of faithfulness and sacrifice among the persecuted church, Ripken recounted how Christians in hard places are giving their lives for Jesus and how many people still lack access to the gospel. Calling students to question the impulse to stay where life is comfortable and familiar, Ripken placed before them an invitation to consider the nations.

As a highlight of the week, Southeastern’s Center for Great Commission Studies (CGCS) opened its 2024 summer mission trips, which can be found on its website at

To learn more about resources and ministry opportunities available through the CGCS or to connect with a student mobilizer or IMB liaison, visit