The World Olivet Assembly's (WOA) 29th World General Assembly (WGA) held from October 28-31 in St. Louis, MO, brought together church and mission leaders in-person and online for a time of worship, fellowship, sharing and strategizing. Delegates from the United States joined the event in person while international leaders from several dozen countries participated online.
Held with the theme of the Great Commission as recorded in Matthew 28, the WGA featured lectures, workshops and Q & A sessions with a specific focus on online evangelism, Bible teaching and discipling. Digital mission methods have come into focus during the pandemic and several mission leaders shared experiences and best practices that they have discovered to work most effectively in social media outreach.
While cultural contexts, social media habits and preferences vary from country to country, underlying principles and methods are often applicable regardless of the specific tool or channel that is used. One example is the importance of inviting Bible study students to regular retreats where they can meet each other and listen to the Word of God together.
Another emphasis lies on a discipleship strategy that quickly equips new students with the understanding and encouragement to lead a Christian life by focusing on studies of the book of Romans and the Sermon on the Mount, among others. The transformation that happens in students' life as they study the Bible and come to experience the love and saving grace of God in Jesus Christ then leads friends and family in their surrounding to notice the change and become interested in getting to know God as well.
Other session topics focused on membership and leadership standards and training that help those who are interested in getting more involved to be equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for various roles in the church. Regional and national Olivet Centers play an important role in holding programs that deepen the relationship with God and with fellow members and leaders.
Concluding the WGA, delegates testified about the encouragement and strength they received from hearing the reports from other regions and countries and seeing how God is at work in many places. Despite the ongoing restrictions due to the pandemic that still affects many countries, there have been many developments and significant growth in different regions as more people open their hearts to the Word of God.
While the Great Commission remains the global Church's main task to be fulfilled, the pandemic has in fact opened up new opportunities to use digital outreach and online programs to reach many more people. Therefore, ignited with the fire and passion of the Holy Spirit and encouraged by many stories and testimonies of God's work over the past year, the WGA 2021 concluded and sent off WOA church and mission leaders reminding them of Jesus' words to his disciples in Matthew 28:18-20: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."