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Missions Conference 2023

The Land of the Living

Cost and Admission

This event is free to attend.

What is Missions Conference?

Biola’s annual Missions Conference is currently the largest student-led Missions Conference in the world. This year, Biola will host its 93rd Missions Conference. Every year since the foundation of this mobilizing movement, Biola’s Missions Conference has sought to educate, equip and inspire students to embrace their role in the completion of the Great Commission.

We transmit this vision to the student body during the three-day conference. Classes are canceled, which allows the entire student body to concentrate more fully on receiving or remembering their role in the completion of the Great Commission. We attempt to accomplish this vision through the utilization of speakers, bands, worship, cultural events, global awareness and other activities to bring the nations to Biola’s campus and ignite students’ hearts for the glory of God.

2023 Conference Theme:

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Note: Sessions viewed online will not be given chapel credit.


Contact information:
For Mission Organization questions contact:


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2023 Conference Theme: LAND OF THE LIVING

Theme Verse: Psalm 27:13-14

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

This Psalmist, wearied from the pursuit of his enemy, exhibits a confident cry–trusting in God’s character amid trial.

With the revelation of Christ, we find that this life referred to is found only in His redemption. Our access to abundant life on this side of eternity through the blood of Christ is miraculous. It merits a response of sharing this with those who do not yet know Him. It is our joy, honor, and responsibility to proclaim this reality as we continue to long for its fullness in Christ’s return. The Lord is calling Biola to cry out, with confidence that we will see His goodness in the land of the living–in our own hearts, in the lives of those who surround us, and to the ends of the earth.

Director's Note

What an honor it has been to steward these positions and to work with such phenomenal coordinators, assistant, and staff. We are very thankful that each speaker, worship leader and missions organization has chosen to come and serve Biola’s community during this conference. We expect God to move in great ways. Our hope is that this conference would inspire our student body to go out and make disciples to the ends of the earth. We pray simultaneously that each of us would know the beauty of the gospel in our own hearts – be it in greater measure or for the first time. These positions have challenged and grown our understanding of God and the power of the gospel. Our prayer is that Biola welcomes the Lord to stretch us holistically and accepts His invitation to enter more deeply into abundant life.


Students will have to obtain 5 total conference credits. All credits over 5 will become chapel credits. All bolded events are worth 1 credit unless otherwise noted. Livestream will be available, but cannot be used for credit. Please reach out to with any questions.


Wednesday, March 22

Time Session Location
9:30–11 a.m. Session 1 — Attempt Great Things: Creative Venture in Missions
Speaker: Eli
*Sermon will not be livestreamed*
Gym and Overflow
2–3:30 p.m. Session 2 — The State of the Great Commission, God's Global Church & His Rising Generations
Speaker: Lisa Pak
Gym and Overflow
4–5 p.m. Breakout Seminar A Various
7–8:30 p.m. Session 3 — Unashamedly Spreading His Word as We Approach His Return
Speaker: Francis Chan
Gym and Overflow

Time Event Location
7 a.m.-2 a.m.Prayer Room WorshipSGA Conference Room
11 a.m.-7 p.m.Global AwarenessCaf Banquet Room
11 a.m.–1:30 p.m.Global LunchMetzger Lawn
11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Painting with a Missionary Bardwell Multi Use Studio
11 a.m.-5 p.m. Missionary Fair Lot F
11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Surprise Event Lot F
11 a.m.-3 p.m. Marketplace and OOI Booths Fluor Fountain

 These events are closed for main sessions.

Thursday, March 23

Time Session Location
9:30–11 a.m. Session 4 — The Great Imbalance
Speaker: Francis Chan and David Platt
Gym and Overflow
11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Breakout Seminar B Various
2-3:30 p.m. Session 5 — Shalom: Communal Abundant Life
Speaker: Alexia Salvatierra
Gym and Overflow
4-5 p.m. Breakout Seminar C Various
7-9 p.m.Session 6 — THE ONE THING  *2 credits*
Speaker: Rachel Closs
9-10 p.m.Extended WorshipGym

Time Event Location
7 a.m.-2 a.m.Prayer Room WorshipSGA Conference Room
11 a.m.–3 p.m.Marketplace and OOI BoothsFluor Fountain Gazebo
11 a.m.-7 p.m. Global Awareness Caf Banquet Room
11 a.m.-5 p.m. Missionary Fair Lot F
12:45-3 p.m. Cultural Event Fireplace Pavilion
5-6:30 p.m. Ice Cream Social Fireplace Pavilion
10:15-11:30 p.m.BasecampFireplace Pavilion

 These events are closed for main sessions.


Friday, March 24

Time Event Location
9:30–11 a.m. Session 7 — What's the One Thing You Want? 
Speaker: David Platt

Time Event Location
9-10:45 a.m.Global AwarenessCaf Banquet Room

Breakout Seminars

Seminar A

When Scientists Re-design the Land of the Living

  • Speaker: Fazale Rana
  • Location: Andrews Banquet Hall
  • Description: Using genetic engineering and other emerging biotechnologies, researchers can modify organisms at will, creating artificial, non-natural forms of life. This type of work also raises numerous ethical and safety concerns that are best summarized with a single question: Should we play God? Is there another way to respond to these exciting—and frightening—developments in synthetic biology and biotechnology that gives emphasis to our role as missionaries to our culture?


Local Church and Discipleship Panel

  • Speaker: Local Church Pastors
  • Location: Mayers Auditorium
  • Description: The Local Church and Discipleship panel aims to highlight the importance of being actively involved in the local body of Christ. The panel is made up of leaders with diverse and biblical perspectives. Through engaging in conversations and sharing unique stories and insights, the speakers will encourage and invite Biola students to participate in discipleship with churches in our local community.


Bringing Light into the Darkness

  • Speaker: Mari Clark
  • Location: Calvary Chapel
  • Description: Mari Clark is the director of After Hours Ministry, an organization that seeks to walk alongside victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking in Los Angeles. In this session, Clark will help with understanding the dynamics of sexual exploitation and trafficking in Los Angeles and what we can do to help. All attendees will have completed our training by the end of the class.


God, Grief, Suicide and the Gospel.

  • Speaker: Christopher Hilkens
  • Location: Crowell Music Hall
  • Description: In a generation that’s drowning in anxiety, depression, recession and hopelessness, God shines brighter than ever. What does it mean to leverage the darkness of our lives to point more clearly towards God. It will be painful for sure but very worth it.


Faith in Action

  • Speaker: Danny Sanchez
  • Location: BUSN 109
  • Description: Come learn how to put the Gospel into action by using your gifts to effectively engage your local community. Learn about practical ways you can actively participate with community based organizations, schools, local government and beyond.


How Should Foreigners Interact with Local Believers?

  • Speaker: Asiel Tyrus
  • Location: Chase Gymnasium
  • Description: “What is the role of foreign workers on the field?” Come hear a local’s perspective on these issues. Asiel grew up in a Muslim country in The Middle East. She became a Christian in college after researching other religions and visiting a church 25 years before. She has served in her church ever since, mostly with college students. She has extensive experience interacting with foreign workers in her country and offers a unique perspective


Covenant House

  • Speaker: Amanda Sattler
  • Location: Marshburn 4
  • Description: There is a crisis of young people experiencing homelessness in the United States and nearly 1/3 are in California. Come learn about the crisis and what Covenant House is doing to help young people transform their lives and put them on a path to independence.


Generational Continuity in the Kingdom of God

  • Speaker: Lisa Pak
  • Location: Sutherland Auditorium
  • Description: This seminar will look at three key examples of generational relationships in the Bible, with a particular focus on the posture of response, obedience, and courage from the younger, next generation counterparts. We will further examine the principles that demonstrate strong and steadfast faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, recognizing that God has not lost a generation and He will not start now. May God’s daughters and sons, all of us, always be hope-filled for what God has for the generations to come.


Seminar B

Missionary Kid Panel

  • Speaker: Biola Students
  • Location: Andrews Banquet Hall
  • Description: This panel consists of a variety of MKs with different experiences willing to answer your questions about what it is like to live on the mission field. The thought behind this panel is to share a more realistic view of missions, one that is not toned down and that focuses just on the wonderful aspects. We suggest that people who are interested in long-term missions, people who want to have kids while being on long-term missions, and anyone interested to attend and ask your questions!


Global Missions Panel

  • Speaker: Global Missionaries
  • Location: Mayers Auditorium
  • Description: The Global Missions panel aims to highlight how important it is to be actively involved in the global body of Christ and explore the ways of doing it well. The panel is made up of men and women of God, dedicated to actively engaging with the global mission field. Through engaging in conversations and sharing unique stories and insights, the speakers will encourage and invite Biola students to participate and support the local church in global missions.


Sharing the Gospel on Social Media

  • Speakers: Elijah Lamb and Frankie Lagana
  • Location: Calvary Chapel
  • Description: Elijah and Frankie are a part of a grassroots community in LA where they meet and gather weekly to worship Jesus and to make Him known. They believe LA has been robbed of the authentic gospel and need to hear the radical call of Jesus. They are passionate about outreach and evangelism to the richest and the poorest of Los Angeles. In addition to their physical outreach efforts, Elijah and Frankie have also embraced digital missions, utilizing social media platforms and online resources to share the message of Jesus with people beyond the borders of Los Angeles.


The Privilege of Suffering for Christ

  • Speaker: Semse Aydin
  • Location: Crowell Music Hall
  • Description: Come and hear about forgiveness from a widow who forgave her husband's martyrs.


Activating Hope in a Hurting World

  • Speaker: John and Jenn Chen
  • Location: BUSN 109
  • Description: Current events and personal lives are filled with uncertainty and pain. But for those who want to make a difference, how do we even begin? Come broaden your worldview and possibilities through real-life stories of God at work.


Stories from a Life Lived in Papua New Guinea

  • Speaker: Rachel Closs
  • Location: Chase Gymnasium
  • Description: I thought by becoming a missionary to the unreached in Papua New Guinea, I would be giving up so many things that I love the most. And even though there is a significant cost to serving the Lord, I already see how God delights in giving sweet gifts to His children. Come be encouraged by hearing stories of lessons learned on the mission field and the faithfulness of our God.


SMU Union Global Missions Panel

  • Speaker: SMU Global Missions Staff
  • Location: Marshburn 4
  • Description: While some are passionate about global missions, others feel disconnected to the idea or have heard/witnessed the negatives of missions. In this breakout session we will explore the importance of local and global missions collaboration, why the call matters to you, and how you can get involved at Biola and beyond.


Asian Americans in Global Ministry

  • Speaker: Erin Kawaye
  • Location: Sutherland Auditorium
  • Description: Census data continues to show us that Asians are a growing population in the U.S. Whether recent immigrants from Asia or 2nd, 3rd or 4th+ generation Asian American, we have a call to reach and restore nations that have yet to hear of Jesus. In our session, we will explore the beauty of Asian/Asian American culture and our place in a global kingdom.


Seminar C

English Language Institute China

  • Speaker: Mary Ivey
  • Location: Andrews Banquet Hall
  • Description: Why missions? Why you? Why now? We will be discussing God’s heart for all nations and how you play a role in His greater plan!



  • Speaker: Ray Velazquez
  • Location: Mayers Auditorium
  • Description: TBD


Jesus Burgers

  • Speakers: Isla Vista Worship
  • Location: Calvary Chapel
  • Description: TBD


Voice of the Martyrs

  • Speaker: Tod Nettleton
  • Location: Crowell Music Hall
  • Description: Todd Nettleton is the Chief of Media Relations and Message Integration for The Voice of the Martyrs—USA and host of The Voice of the Martyrs Radio. Todd serves as a voice for persecuted Christians, inspiring US Christians with the faithfulness of Christ’s followers in 70+ nations where they face persecution for wearing His name. During more than 20 years serving at VOM, Todd has traveled the world and conducted face-to-face interviews with hundreds of Christians who’ve endured persecution in more than 30 nations.


Calling to Missionary Work

  • Speaker: Brian and Amy S.
  • Location: BUSN 109
  • Description: Brian & Amy S. will share regarding their calling from High School and University at Biola to bring the Gospel to unreached Muslims in Central Asia. They hope to encourage, inspire, and challenge students to align their lives to the completion of the Great Commission.


Art + Mission: Playing Outside the Lines

  • Speaker: Eli
  • Location: Chase Gymnasium
  • Description: Art is given by God as a superlative expression of his glory among the nations. Art powerfully communicates and connects people; and artists uniquely see the world and explore meaning. But the church has often squandered this gift and squelched the artistically gifted in their midst. We must learn to raise up and release artists into mission on their own terms, and embrace creative ministry approaches.


SMU Local Missions Panel

  • Speaker: SMU Local Missions Staff
  • Location: Marshburn 4
  • Description: There are opportunities to participate in God's great commission all around us. Come hear from some of the students and leaders of Cru High School L.A as they share their testimonies and how local missions has greatly impacted their lives.


Having a Big Vision for Missions

  • Speaker: Cory Spinks
  • Location: Sutherland Auditorium
  • Description: Corey is an experienced missionary and missions trainer, having served in Clarkston, GA, Charlotte, NC and most recently London, England. Having seen disciples and churches multiplied among different peoples in global cities, he brings experience and a unique perspective on Disciple-making and church planting methods back to the US context. He will be speaking on having a Big Vision for missions, Clear Path for strategy in missions, and Simple Steps to start taking now. I will focus on us learning and applying the principles and practices of Christ and then the Apostle Paul. 





Eli first served cross-culturally in Islamic Central Asia in 2005. He has since worked among Muslims in post-Soviet contexts through media production and ethnography of local arts, especially dance. He now leads the Unsung Arts Collective to disciple artists in cross-cultural ministry among unreached peoples. He and his wife of 15 years are blessed with five creative and energetic children.

Lisa Pak

Lisa Pak

Reverend Dr. Lisa Pak currently serves as a pastor with the Saddleback Mission Team, leading their Unengaged, Unreached People Groups (UUPG) Initiative. Her previous experience includes serving as the Global Strategist for Finishing The Task (FTT), Regional Director for Ontario and Nunavut at the Canadian Bible Society, in addition to 14 years of pastoral ministry and church experience in the United States, South Korea, Singapore and Canada with a particular focus amongst the Korean Diaspora community. She is a second-generation Korean Canadian and Toronto native, ordained by the Korean Association of Independent Churches and Missions (KAICAM). She holds a MDiv and a MABL from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and has earned her Doctor of Ministry in Leadership at Tyndale Seminary. Lisa has traveled globally and is passionate about diaspora communities and mobilizing the young generation to share the good news of Jesus Christ with all who have yet to hear.

Francis Chan

Francis Chan

Francis Chan is the best-selling author of Crazy Love, Forgotten God, and You and Me Forever. Currently, Francis is planting churches in the San Francisco area ( Together, Francis and his wife Lisa raise their seven children in Northern California.

David Platt

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical, a ministry that exists to equip Christians to be on mission. David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, Something Needs to Change, Before You Vote, and Don't Hold Back. He is also the author of several volumes in the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series. Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Resources from David Platt can be found at

Alexia Salvatierra

Alexia Salvatierra

Rev. Dr. Alexia Salvatierra is the Academic Dean of the Centro Latino of Fuller Theological Seminary, one of the oldest Spanish theological education programs in the United States, as well as the Associate Professor of Mission and Global Transformation. An ordained pastor for over 34 years, she has served as a missionary in the Philippines, pastored English and Spanish-speaking congregations, and founded multiple non-profit ministries serving poor and marginalized communities. She has started several national initiatives engaging the church in social transformation, including co-founding the Evangelical Immigration Table. She is the co-author of Faith-Rooted Organizing: Mobilizing the Church in Service to the World (Intervarsity Press 2014) and Buried Seeds: Learning from the Vibrant Resilience of Marginalized Christian Communities (Baker Academic 2022).

Rachel Closs

Rachel Closs

Rachel Closs chooses to live with the perspective that "life is but a breath". After working up at Hume Lake Christian Camps for almost a decade, the Lord burdened her heart for those around the world without access to God's Word and filled her with a desire to see Him worshipped in every tribe, tongue and nation. As a result, she sold everything and moved across the world to the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Rachel is currently living and serving there while waiting to be allocated amongst a specific people group with the goal of seeing a thriving church planted in a remote tribal location.




MBL Worship

MBL Worship is the sound of the EveryHeart missions movement based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We are a collective of worship leaders and musicians burdened to see a generation met and sent by the love of Jesus. We started in a college classroom with a hunger for the presence of God and a burden to see lost souls encountered by the love of Jesus. That burden has lead to the launch of multiple presence driven, mission minded, faith filled student lead movements through our campus movement “Met By Love” where we primarily serve.

Separate Events

Global Awareness

  • Times: 3/22 & 3/23, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Location: Kim Dining Room
  • Description: Global Awareness is an interactive experience highlighting the 10/40 window, a section of the globe that houses the most unreached and unengaged populations of the world, in terms of access to the Gospel. Our room themes include, The Heart of Global Missions, Bible Translation, The Persecuted Church, and Unreached People Groups.


Missionary Fair

  • Times: 3/22, 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. and 3/23, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.
  • Location: Sutherland Way
  • Description: This event is a highlight of Missions Conference. Missions Organizations from around the world, focusing on both local and global missions, have come to Biola to share what they do and how you can get involved.


24 Hour Prayer Room

  • Times: 3/22 & 3/23
  • Location: SGA Conference Room
  • Description: This will be a quiet, reserved space for students to spend time in prayer and worship over the course of conference. There will be worship from 7am to 2am, breaking during sessions.


Global Lunch

  • Time: 3/22, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
  • Location: Metzger Lawn
  • Description: Global Lunch is a way for students to tangibly experience another culture through food. This year, we are excited to be highlighting Ethiopian food!


Painting with a Missionary

  • Speaker: 3/22, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
  • Location: Bardwell Balcony
  • Description: Engage with a missionary through this artistic and creative activity. This will be a space for you to make connections with missionaries and hear what led them to missions in a more personal environment.


Missionary Bingo

  • Times: 3/22, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Location: Missionary Fair Booth
  • Description: Come play a game of bingo for the chance to win merchandise from a Missions Organization!



  • Time: 3/23, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Location: Fluor Gazebo
  • Description: Here you can purchase merchandise to support both local and global missions efforts. Come check it out at Fluor Fountain!


Cultural Event

  • Time: 3/23, 12:45-3 p.m.
  • Location: Fireplace Pavilion
  • Description: Cultural Event is an immersive art experience focusing on Indonesia. There will be Indonesian student art, traditional artwork, snacks, and music!


Ice Cream Social

  • Time: 3/23, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
  • Location: Fireplace Pavilion
  • Description: Come join us as we engage with missionaries and learn more about what they do within a more personal and casual context over some free ice cream!



  • Time: 3/23, 10:15-11:30 pm
  • Location: Fireplace Pavilion
  • Description: Basecamp is a time of worship after the main session on Thursday night. There will be prayer, worship, and snacks!