“Taking the Next Step of Obedience”: The GO Conference Returns to Southeastern
Chad Burchett | February 13, 2023
On February 10-11, more than 250 college students gathered on Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s campus for the return of the GO Conference — a missions conference designed to mobilize college students for the Great Commission.
Jesus’s Great Commission is a mission for all his disciples without exception and without excuse. Yet, even in an age of unprecedented opportunity and accessibility, many Christians have yet to fully surrender to joining God in his mission. That is why Southeastern’s GO Conference focused on challenging college students to say ‘yes’ to Jesus’s commission and trust him to direct and empower them to live on mission wherever he sends them.
“The GO Conference aims to help college students take the next step of obedience,” noted Keelan Cook, instructor of missiology and director of the Center for Great Commission Studies (CGCS) at Southeastern. “College students are in a very strategic moment in their lives for establishing their pathway to the Great Commission. My hope is that these two days have provided them with a challenge and some options for taking that next step toward a lifetime of obedience to Christ’s final words to his Church.”
“For us, the GO Conference is all about the Great Commission,” Cook shared with attendees. “Here at Southeastern we firmly believe with everything in us that it is our responsibility to challenge each and every one of you to consider the urgency of the Great Commission … to wrestle with the fact that Christ has called you to make the gospel known where it is not.”
Driven by this Great Commission vision, The College at Southeastern is committed to equipping the next generation to give their lives for the cause of Christ in the Church, among the nations, and in every aspect of society. The College believes that one of the most important ways it can help churches fulfill the Great Commission is by raising up a generation of theologically and biblically trained leaders who love God and his word and have a heart for the nations.
Challenging students to listen to Jesus’s commission, Chuck Lawless, senior professor of evangelism and missions, reminded attendees that the Great Commission is a command from King Jesus backed by his authority over all things and guaranteed by his promise to be with his people as they go. It is with this confidence that Christians step out in obedience to Jesus’s mandate.
“Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing with whomever we find ourselves, and whatever our job is, it is our task — every single one of us — to proclaim the good news of Jesus to our neighbors and the nations,” noted Lawless. “I think about the billions of people in the world who have no exposure to the gospel, and we have to come back to this mandate. Our mandate is to make disciple of all the peoples of the world, and that won’t happen unless we listen and go.”
Our mandate is to make disciple of all the peoples of the world, and that won’t happen unless we listen and go.
Throughout the conference, attendees had the opportunity to hear testimonies from the field about how God is blessing his people’s obedience to the Great Commission. One such testimony came from Kambiz Saghaey, director of the Persian Leadership Development initiative at Southeastern, who shared how God used a church’s faithful Christian witness to prompt his conversion from Islam to Christianity.
“Brothers and sisters, when you go and share the gospel and God uses you to save other people, their lives will change,” shared Saghaey. “But your life will also be changed, because after that, you will not want to listen to your culture, which says don’t talk about religion. Instead, you will listen to your Master, who says go and make disciples.”
As various cultural influences vie for the heart and energy of college students, the GO Conference called students to listen rather to the truths of Scripture and reprioritize their participation in God’s mission.
“Everyone is looking for something to live for; they’re living for pleasure; they’re living for other people; they might even be living for another particular person,” Scott Pace, dean of The College, told attendees. “But when God redeems you, when Jesus purchases you, when he saves you, he says, ‘I have a greater purpose for you,’ and that purpose is your part in his plan.”
During the conference, attendees heard from pastors, professors, church planters, and missionaries and had the opportunity to engage with representatives from the North American Mission Board, the International Mission Board, and the North Carolina Baptist state convention — as well as other local ministries. This year’s GO Conference represents one of the many ways Southeastern seeks to mobilize college students for Great Commission service around the world.
As Vance Pitman, president of Send Network and founding pastor of Hope Church Las Vegas, reminded attendees, “There is no one in this room who cannot leverage your job, skill, and passion to join in the mission of God. There is a place for every single one of you.”
There is no one in this room who cannot leverage your job, skill, and passion to join in the mission of God. There is a place for every single one of you.
This missional approach to vocation and ministry is central to The College’s mission. It is what drives The College’s efforts to mobilize students with marketplace degrees for Great Commission service, ranging from teacher education to business administration. It is what motivates Southeastern to prioritize and fund institutional mission trips so that students are prepared and equipped to serve the Church and love the nations as they are sent out. It is what makes every classroom at Southeastern a Great Commission classroom and what marks the Southeastern culture as a disciple-making community.
“There is no higher aim for our college and seminary than challenging and equipping people to serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission,” shared Cook. “The GO Conference is a two-day expression of that mission. My real desire is that this weekend has changed lives and has helped students take that next vital step toward the nations, whatever that step may be.”
To learn more about ministry opportunities and resources available through the CGCS or to learn more about Southeastern’s upcoming mission trips, visit thecgcs.org.
Next year’s GO Conference is scheduled for February 9-10, 2024. More information to follow.