Twenty nine years have gone by since we held our first world missions conference. Our very first speaker was Pastor John Bell from San Antonio, Texas. The changes have been many since then. Now Pastor Bell is with the Lord. His son David Bell replaced his father as Pastor in San Antonio and our friendship between the churches and missions continued until his passing three years ago. Now David Bell’s son Matthew Bell is pastoring Destiny Church in San Antonio and our relationship continues with him and his leadership. We are connected through our church ministries with missions work around the world. Pastor Matthew Bell is with us in our conference this week. We welcome him and look ahead to the time when he will carry on his grandfather’s legacy of speaking at missions conferences across the nation.
Missions is an important legacy for every church to leave for each succeeding generation. God speaks to every generation to follow His commission to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15
I was introduced to missions and to what I call a mini-missions conference when I was a teenager in my home church in Rice Lake. Something must have sparked in my spirit and I realized that this could be a good way to connect with people who were part of a world and vision that was far greater than my little world was at that time. I began to dream about doing something bigger for God.
The first thing we did as a new church plant in Shell Lake was to develop a small giving plan of support for missions. We increased our support every year. At the same time we noticed that the church budget income was increasing every year as well. That gave birth to the idea that we should begin a conference that would bring in missionaries where we could spend time together, pray for and encourage them, and help them to meet financial needs to carry out their work. I had no idea what the effects of that small start would turn into such as we see today. God has powerfully and abundantly blessed all the efforts of God’s people in this congregation, and He has blessed them individually with supply and increase in their lives.