Description: In an age of deconstruction and rethinking, the Church should not be surprised to find itself confused by words like mission, missions, and missionary. Some struggle to redefine these categories and some seek to reclaim them, while others reject them outright, with or without providing new terms to guide us forward. But words and their meaning matter; our confusion has a cost. Competing priorities pressure us to stretch our mission definitions as wide as they can go, releasing our people to creatively engage in service of every description. Some churches turn away from traditional mission efforts all together, giving preference to local service and evangelism while outsourcing any cross-cultural effort to those who surely must be more effective than we would be. As an unfortunate result of these tendencies, many of our churches lack a coherent, compelling sense of what we’re all about as we engage with the world. And if we lose our scriptural moorings, how far will our missions efforts drift?
Presenters: Matthew Ellison was rescued by Jesus when he was twenty-three. Shortly after, he found himself in Ghana, West Africa on the first of what would be many ventures to the mission field. That first trip, Matthew says, “ruined me for anything less than a life lived for God’s global purpose.” In 1993 he began serving at Calvary of Albuquerque, in New Mexico, where he attended and graduated from their School of Ministry. He worked as the missions pastor at Calvary for nine years, developing and launching a strategic church-wide missions ministry. There he founded an international short-term mission ministry called LifeLine Missions that gave thousands across the country the opportunity to experience the mission field firsthand. Through these ministry opportunities he became extensively involved in short and long-term mission endeavors in countries around the world. Now, he devotes his time to serving local churches across the country by coaching them in strategically focused missions and helping them to discover and use their unique gifts in partnership with others to make Christ known among all nations. Matthew is the President and co-founder of Sixteen:Fifteen, and currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife, Renee, and their three children, Matthew, Caleigh and Landin.
Denny Spitters, Vice President of Pioneers USA leads a Church Partnerships Team of 10, has served in many staff roles as worship, missions, and small group pastor and understands the significance of missions in the local church. During his vocational ministry, Denny served on the staff of two mega-churches, directed a para-church ministry, and helped plant several churches. He also spent 15 years as a business owner.
Denny has co-authored the book “When Everything is Missions” with Matthew Ellison – a book which challenges believers, churches, and leaders to return to the Great Commission emphasis – to“make disciples of all nations”.