Gospel Impact Conference.
They seem like simple words, but they hold such deep meaning. If you’ll allow the repetition, they hold an impactful meaning.
This year’s conference with ShareWord Global was the first I’ve attended. Being part of the meeting where the theme ‘Here I Am’ came together was something so special. I knew that with the way the Spirit moved within the group of dedicated believers, this conference was going to be incredible.
The behind-the-scenes work was immense. One of the early projects was collecting and recording Here I Am moments from staff members, volunteers, pastors, and anyone changed by God. Thinking about my own moment brought me to tears. It made me sit back and reflect just how much my life has changed because of God.
I went from a child, teenager, then young adult, relying very heavily on my own finite abilities, to having the burden of life’s challenges lifted from my shoulders and nailed to the cross. So, when God called my name, I jumped at the chance to say, “Here I am, Lord.” Hearing that same sentiment from other believers was so moving and encouraging.
As the conference continued to come together, with more people like Jason Persaud, Big Daddy Weave, and Pam Tebow becoming involved, it was such a conviction of faith. One of my favourite passages is from Genesis. Many of you might know this from memory. It says: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.”
That word for Spirit, the ruah of God, is His breath. His very essence was moving over His creation.
God is moving. God is breathing into this ministry and into countries all over the world.
He is calling each and every single one of His children by name. He has been since He created us.
But the thing is, we’re not in the Garden anymore. We don’t walk in the physical presence of God. And so, when He calls us, it can sometimes be hard for us to hear. That’s not a commentary on God, but on our ability to listen. Anyone with children, or has been around them, knows that children aren’t always the best at listening. (Except for when they are, and they repeat absolutely everything you say.)
A lot of what I’ve learned at Gospel Impact Conference 2023 is to listen to God. To be still. To listen for His voice amidst the chaos of the world. Or the chaos in our mind.
One of the speakers, Dr. Tim Tang, spoke about Jonah and how he had told God, “Nope. Here I am not.” Tim went on to say, though, “…maybe you're in that place like Jonah being called, and you feel that call in your heart, and it's difficult. What I really want Jonah and all of us to realize is that God came to each and every one of us.”
What does that really mean to us as believers? Jason Persaud, another guest speaker spoke about our part in God’s calling. “Whether you are a high school student… a young family, or even a senior citizen, we all have a part to play: to make ourselves available, to go and say, “Lord, here I am. Send me.”
And even though Carl Santos was the first guest speaker of the conference, something he shared encapsulates the entire conference, what we do as a ministry, and how we should be as believers. “How do we become a "Here I am" sort of people?” he asked us viewers. “It's very simple. You will never have gospel impact until you are impacted by the gospel.”
This is seen best through the ministry updates we heard from those working in the field. Pastor John from the field in Zambia shared an incredible story about how churches have been growing. But it wasn’t all good news.
“The challenge that we have is basically capacity and resources. There are so many churches knocking on the doors that want [evangelism] training, but right now I'm the only hand in Zambia, and that's quite overwhelming. I remember one Sunday, going through three different services, training close to 900 people.”
And the update from Murilo in Brazil was similar. “I believe that the biggest challenges that we have ahead of us are maintaining this partnership. We have been trying to diversify our approach because we realized that a very fruitful field of work is with children.” Murilo then explained an exciting venture they’ve created to reach more households across Brazil. “We have been diversifying our efforts with Day Camps. When the child goes to a camp, we have greater and more impactful contact in teaching the Word through the Evangelism to the hearts of these children.”
Hearing all these stories of how God has called the average Joe to go out and share His Word, people who have never even told their friends about Jesus, has had such an immense impact on my faith. Seeing how the Church is growing across the world has been so encouraging. And what has been even more encouraging is seeing the impact on others.
“The theme ‘Here I Am’ is powerful. Really enjoying being with [others] with the same goal of reaching our world with the Good News.” – Bill Walsh and Bob Burke
“It's encouraging to hear how God is using people to spread the Gospel around the world!” – Sarla
“I’ve been going into the Arctic the last 15 years with ShareWord Global and that’s been good, but [I’m] really seeing the need to train believers in the local church… I’m on board.” – Stan Braim
“It was amazing to be a part of this year’s GIC all the way from Peru, and to see all of His work around the world through ShareWord Global.” – Nathaly
"What's happening with evangelism is very interesting and edifying. Thank you, ShareWord Global." – Yvon
"I want to thank the person who insisted that I attend this conference. Here I am. Lord, use me." – Denise O-Connor
If you weren’t able to join us online, I want to encourage you to consider registering for next year’s Gospel Impact Conference. I can’t wait to see how ShareWord Global and believers around the world are, as Carl Santos said, “impacting people with the gospel, so that they can then have a gospel impact in the world.”