Second Vision Summit emphasizes what it means to follow Jesus
By Janae Suderman
Jesus uses the analogy of a seed in John 12:23-26 to illustrate what it means to follow him. Unless a kernel of wheat dies, it cannot produce and multiply. Similarly, Jesus’ followers must lay down their earthly ambitions to invest in eternal life.
This call to surrender was strong for many of the 73 participants at the second annual Vision Summit, hosted by the MB Mission Midwest Mobilization Team Oct. 13-16, 2016, at the Oasis Ranch and Retreat Center in Plevna, Kan. It is another example of how God continues to equip leaders for local, national and global mission—the purpose of the event.
The weekend involved speakers, workshops led by missionaries, worship music, listening prayer and small group discussions. The speakers, who came from Hillsboro and Wichita, Kan., Washington, D.C., and Abbotsford, BC, spoke about the importance of dying to self, yielding to God and counting the cost of following Jesus. Missionaries from Thailand, Germany, Panama and Central Asia shared what God has done through surrender in their lives.
“Dying to yourself is an essential part of what it means to be a follower of Jesus,” says Stephen Humber, mobilization team leader, in an interview following the summit. “When you’re not dead [to self], you’re giving a lot of time and energy to useless things. But when you die to that, you will experience resurrection life and have more time to do what matters. Death is this opportunity to be free from things that own us.”
Phil Thiessen, of Hillsboro, almost did not attend the summit due to a busy schedule. But he realized the summit was a quieter environment through which God could remind him to use his sales job as a mission field.
“I need to get in a place where God can just have his way,” he says. “He could everyday, but it seems like so often I need something like this to ask God, ‘What do you have for me?’ I don’t want to get so busy that I loose sight of the bigger picture and how God wants to use me.”
Participants were asked to write a short summary of their takeaway from the weekend.
- “God helped me to surrender my control, fears and the timeline I had given him, and now I am unhindered from hearing clearly and obeying fully the directions God is giving me for my future.”
- “God has asked me to let go of security, fears and pride and called me into a new Spirit-filled life of surrender.”
- “I think God is trying to tell me not to be afraid of full surrender; do not be afraid of opening my heart to seek him and seek him fully.”
- “I surrender my will, my time, my ambitions, my desires, and my interpretations of what others think of me and exchange it for an identity solely in Christ.”
- “I am ready for wherever God leads me next. I need to keep walking down the path God has me on and be willing to be used by him along the way.”
“We are a part of something that the Spirit is doing in the broader church,” says Larry Neufeld, MB Mission Lead Team Mobilization, citing examples of peace and renewal around the world. “The Lord has invited us to the ends of the earth, and there are willing servants who are surrendered to going.”
The Midwest Mobilization Team was delighted to see momentum growing since the 2015 summit. The number of participants doubled from 2015 and expanded in age and proximity. It is another step toward MB Mission’s vision for the 2020 Movement: to help the church multiply and send out disciples to the least reached locally, nationally and globally.
“It’s all for the sake of the nations,” says Dane Schmidt of the mobilization team. “We don’t die and live just for ourselves. It’s so that we can call others to it also.”
Anyone interested in receiving ongoing updates on the 2020 Movement can “like” the MB Mission Midwest U.S. Facebook page or visit http://www.mbmission.org/offices/midwest-us/.