Next week, I will be attending my third Radius Conference. This year’s event will be held in Sun Valley, CA, and while I’m ready for a break from the humidity of the East Coast at this time of year, there are several much more important benefits to attending this year’s conference.
I’m always challenged listening to the speakers at the Radius Conference and I always walk away sharpened in missiological convictions. This year’s conference will be held at Grace Community Church and, Lord-willing, John MacArthur will be one of the main speakers. John MacArthur was one of two men whose teaching won me over to the beauty of biblical Calvinism (the other being John Piper – who spoke at the 2021 Radius Conference). Aubrey Sequeira will also be speaking at this year’s conference on “Emptying the Cross of Its Power: Honor/Shame and the Gospel of Christ.” Aubrey is a dear friend, a faithful pastor in Abu Dhabi – where some of our Reaching & Teaching personnel will be serving, and a fantastic New Testament scholar. I’ve benefited much from many private conversations, Aubrey’s preaching (when I can listen to it), and his writing (see this for an example ).
I’ve also been sharpened by the breakouts at the Radius Conference, whether it’s hearing biographical details from Ian Hamilton or listening to Chad Vegas speaking about urgency versus hastiness, the breakouts are always helpful and enriching.
There are thousands of language groups around the world who haven’t yet heard the gospel. Millions upon millions of people are dying without ever hearing the good news of Jesus Christ. They don’t have a neighbor who will share the gospel with them, a bible available to read, or a local church that makes the gospel visible in their community. That reality should shake us and cause us to urgently work toward crossing cultural, linguistic, and other boundaries to make mature disciples, establish healthy churches, and train local leaders in those communities.
At the Radius Conference, we find local churches, seminaries, and other missions agencies who feel that same urgency and are also committed to biblically faithful missiology. Urgency does not mean we take shortcuts. Each session and each conversation with others at the conference is seasoned with urgency. I love to hear of the progress of our organizations’ teams that are making inroads into extremely hard-to-reach communities. I praise the Lord for seminaries that are dedicated to training up the next generation of pioneer missionaries. I love meeting some of our partner churches and soon-to-be-sent missionaries at the conference and reconnecting over a coffee or a meal.
Several years ago, Reaching & Teaching started recruiting at Radius. We love the students we meet at Radius and it’s been a pleasure to be working with a number of teams who have been trained there. Reaching & Teaching isn’t a fit for all of the Radius students – and that’s by design. We have different ecclesiological convictions from some of the students and we operate differently as a sending organization compared to others. That doesn’t mean that we can’t cheer these graduates on in the years ahead. The Radius Conference is a great way to reconnect with alumni who are waiting a bit longer to head overseas or who are serving with another organization and are on a stateside assignment. We’ve only been visiting Radius for three years, but we’re so encouraged by those we’ve met thus far.
That being said, there is a special place in our hearts for the Radius graduates who are being sent through Reaching & Teaching. The conferences of prior years have given us an opportunity to connect with their sending churches, and we do our best to take the missionaries who are present out for a meal and some ice cream – an RTIM tradition with our folks around the world and stateside. These are the sweetest reunions and reconnections. Sometimes, it’s the last time we’ll see each other for several years and it’s one more chance for a big hug.
So, what am I excited for at the Radius Conference? It’s the teaching, strategizing, and meeting with friends. I hope to see you there!
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