Theme for 2023

Devoted to Missions & Evangelism

This year’s theme sought to let the Bible alone shape our view of the Church’s mission and Christian evangelism. We affirm that biblical missions is a mandate for the local church (Acts 14:26-28; Eph 4:11-16), and that Gospel evangelism is a mandate for every Christian (Mt 5:13-16; 1 Pet 2:9-10). We believe that the primary purpose of missions is the glory of God not man (Ps 72:19; 96:3; Isa 49:6; 2 Cor 4:15; Rom 11:36), and that the primary instrument of evangelism is the Word of God not human wisdom (1 Cor 1:17 – 2:5). We want to prioritize Gospel ministry and the Great Commission, not humanitarian relief or social-political action (Mt 28:18-20; Rom 1:16-17). And we want to challenge a new generation of Christians that being devoted to God’s sovereignty in salvation means being fervently devoted to our responsibility in sharing the Gospel (Mt 11:25-30; Acts 18:10; Rom 10:14-15).

Speakers for 2023

Dr. David Doran

Dr. Dave Doran has been the senior pastor of Inter-City Baptist Church in Allen Park, MI since 1989.  He is also the president of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary (DBTS) where he serves as the Chairman of the Practical Theology Department and teaches the core pastoral theology classes in the M.Div program.  Dr. Doran is author of the book on missions For the Sake of His Name and the founder of Grace Baptist Mission.  He is a graduate of Bob Jones University (B.A.), DBTS (M.Div. & Th.M.), and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (D.Min.).  He and his wife, Claudia, have four sons: David (wife, Abi), Daniel (wife, Melissa), Dillon (wife, Emily), and Derek (wife, Jen).

Smedly Yates

After serving as pastor of student ministries at Community Bible Church in Nashville for 6 years, Smedly was called to Tempe, AZ in 2008, where he has been serving as one of the pastors/elders of Grace Bible Church.  In addition to preaching and shepherding, Smedly periodically teaches pastoral leadership and missions at The Expositors Seminary, and he is also the director of FinisTerre, which is a missions organization that focuses on helping local churches plant more churches in Papua New Guinea.  He is a Moody Bible Institute alumni and a graduate of The Master’s Seminary (M.Div.).  During seminary in 2000, Smedly married his wife Janet and they now have five children: Evi, Zoe, Emet, Grace, and Madeline.

Resource for 2023

For the Sake of His Name by Dave Doran

Christ gave his disciples a monumental, yet simple task: make disciples of all nations. But what exactly does that command mean? How are we supposed to carry it out? How does the local church figure in? And what’s the ultimate goal? The Scriptures provide answers. David Doran has written a collection of articles to ground us in the truth, providing a solid theological and practical missions foundation for pastors, missionaries, students, or church members. He carefully works through key texts and contemporary approaches to missions, challenging us to develop biblical foundations for our missions efforts. Filled with Scripture, this book points to the ultimate purpose of missions and the God-given methods for reaching the nations—For the Sake of His Name.


Recommended Resources

Ten Modern Evangelism Myths
by Ryan Denton

Could it be that mistaken beliefs about evangelism lead to a decrease in getting it done? Ten Modern Evangelism Myths recounts the most popular misconceptions about evangelism followed by an easy-to-read response. Every Christian who wants to share their faith will find encouragement here to be bolder and more direct in their approach—while still showing love to those in their predicament of unbelief. You’ll be more effective because you will be clearer about Christianity and more clearly yourself when talking about it. Finally, here is relief from the confusion generated by gimmicks-based and “me-centered” approaches to evangelism.

Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God
by J.I. Packer

How does God bring helpless sinners home to himself? If God is sovereign does that mean we’re off the hook? Resisting both complacency and anxiety, this short, punch-packing book argues that a robust faith (conscious or unconscious) in the supremacy of God’s government and grace is in fact necessary for successful evangelism. In a careful review of the biblical evidence, J.I. Packer shows how a right understanding of God’s sovereignty is not so much a barrier to evangelism as an incentive and powerful support for it.

An Article to Read

Regaining Our Focus: A Response to the Social Action Trend in Evangelical Missions by Joel James & Brian Biedebach

Today churches and missionaries are being told that to imitate the ministry of Jesus they must add social justice to their understanding of the church’s mission. As pastors and missions committees embrace the idea that social action and gospel proclamation are “two wings of the same bird,” the kind of work that they send their missionaries to do changes, and this has a negative effect on world missions. This article highlights those negative effects in an African context, offers historical, practical, and biblical critiques of the trend, and redirects the church’s attention to understanding and fulfilling the Great Commission in the way the apostles did in Acts and the Epistles.