What is Missions Fest™?
Missions Fest™ is a city-wide mission awareness event, sponsored solely by Christian churches who work together to inform the public of a needy world, along with the opportunities to serve, celebrating the achievements being made and challenging people to participate worldwide in the Great Commission of Jesus.
Core Foundations of Missions Fest
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (NIV)
In Jesus’ life on earth, on visiting a synagogue, he was handed a scroll that contained the book of Isaiah, and from chapter 61, he read the above passage. Then said to the people, “Today, these words are fulfilled in your hearing.”
As followers of our Lord Jesus, serving in this current needy world, these words challenge us to inspire believers to take this message of hope, to the whole world. Therein, is the purpose of Missions Fest.
Jesus went about, teaching the people, healing every disease and sickness, the mute and the blind, and on some occasions, the dead were raised to life. Jesus caught the attention of many, including the highly educated, Nicodemus, a religious scholar and teacher. He visited Jesus secretly at night and acknowledged that Jesus was a teacher from God, demonstrated in what Jesus was doing. Jesus immediately got to the point. “…no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
Shocking! One could not have been more religious and informed, than Nicodemus! Jesus went on to say that everyone who believes in him, may have eternal life in him. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
These words of Jesus need to be proclaimed everywhere—to every person in every nation, language and culture.
On another occasion, after Jesus had been telling a Samaritan woman, obviously of a different culture, that he was the Messiah, he turned to his disciples and said, “Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest?’ I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest!” In other words, as the farmer needs to respond to the urgency of ripened grain that might forever be lost, we need to respond to the urgency of reaching out to people who are in need of finding Jesus.
If that was the case in Jesus’ day, what can we say about our 21st Century culture? We believe that Jesus is speaking to us today…”open your eyes and look…” Do we see a needy world out there or, are we obsessed with our own needs?
To those in the early church in Rome, they were asked,, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone telling them? And how can anyone speak unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’
After Jesus had spent time, going from town to town, meeting with the people, he said to his disciples, “Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel!”
Another significant focus at Missions Fest, is to celebrate what God is currently doing throughout the world, through the people he has called. The variety of ways that people hear the good news is always fascinating and encouraging.
Missions Fest was born out of the reality, that we live in a world that is yearning to know the way to eternal life, but countless thousands have never heard the good news in a meaningful way. How can followers of Jesus keep this message to themselves, without finding ways to share it in their communities and sending people who God has called, into a needy world?
Richard was the Founder of the first Missions Fest that began in Vancouver, Canada in 1984. He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Missions Fest International.
The vision of MFIA is to see the “ordinary people” in cities around the world become inspired to participate in bringing freedom, healing and justice to the peoples of the world. In the last words of Jesus, He commissioned us to disciple the nations. Discipling is not only educational, it is spiritual. As people become followers of Jesus, they are transformed and their worldview changes.
Jesus described his mandate that we, too, can follow: to bring good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed, comfort to those who mourn and proclaim God’s favour on those who follow Him.
Our vision is that the bringing together of people to dialogue and learn during Missions Fest™ conferences, will influence them to take action and to find appropriate ways to bring about changes to a needy world. At Missions Fest™, participants often discover common goals through networking, and heighten their effectiveness while reducing duplication of services.
Missions Fest™ began in 1983 when a cluster of churches from different backgrounds began working together to plan an event that would bring together organizations and excellent communicators who could provide current information about worldwide needs and ways to meet them. The conference focus was designed to appeal to all ages with free general admission.
Instead of limiting the event to the group of churches who planned the conference, they opened it up to the surrounding cities. They held their first conference in January 1984. Seventy-six organizations set up information exhibits; four keynote speakers who had firsthand, cross-cultural experiences were invited; topical seminars were planned for both youth and adults, and people of the city filled the venue to capacity celebrating first with the flag parade of the nations.
Although it was intended to be a one-off event, the leaders observed that there was both a great interest and the need to hold regular annual conferences. Twenty-five years later, Missions Fest™ Vancouver, Canada, continues to draw people from southern British Columbia and northern Washington State with an aggregate attendance of 34,000 each year.
For many years, cities in other parts of Canada and the world have observed what has been taking place in Vancouver and the impact it has had around the world. Some have visited Missions Fest™ and inquired about its function and organizational plan.
Consequently, the Vancouver team has been called upon to assist other cities in forming their own conferences. For the increased interest and time required to attend to these requests, the Missions Fest International Association (MFIA) was incorporated, to operate separately from the Vancouver conference but garner all that has been learned over the twenty-five years.
One of the founders of Missions Fest™ has been invited to give leadership to MFIA and to consolidate the planning and procedures that make such a conference successful. He is now available to mentor leaders of other cities seeking to organize a Missions Fest™ style of conference in their location.
Since the concept and the name, Missions Fest™, originated in Vancouver, Canada, the name, “Missions Fest” was inherently owned by the Vancouver conference from its beginnings. More recently, Missions Fest™ Vancouver assigned its trademarked name and registered logo to the Missions Fest International Association (MFIA) so that it could have worldwide use through License Agreements.
MFIA is now committed to working with cities worldwide in planning and organizing their own Missions Fest™ conferences.
First of all, cities have access to a mentoring relationship with MFIA. During initial contacts, cities will be encouraged to consolidate a planning group appointed by local Christian churches from a variety of backgrounds.
When a viable group is formed, and MFIA is satisfied that this group truly represents a cluster of churches who wish to work together to hold a Missions Fest™ style of conference, then MFIA will be able to provide a License Agreement together with a registered Logo for that city.
With this arrangement, MFIA can provide planning strategies, job descriptions, policies & procedures and an operations manual to execute the organizing of a Missions Fest™ conference.
With this kind of affiliation, MFIA can recommend speakers and seminar leaders, as well as bona fide mission organizations who may be willing to participate knowing that the plans for this Missions Fest™ will follow the original blueprint and be worth their investment of time and funding to participate. Having this credibility is a valuable resource of trust that can benefit any city that wishes to be affiliated with MFIA.