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Missions Conference 2021


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 91st 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. 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.

For additional resources, please visit SMU's Missions Conference blog site.

2021 Conference Theme: COMPELLED


Theme Verse: Acts 20:17-24

“From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. 18 When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. 19 I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents. 20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.

22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

Acts 20:17-24

We are created to worship our Creator and Sustainer. The only one who is ultimately deserving of our praise and full adoration. We serve a King without blemish who rightfully sits on the throne and yet also has stepped down and saved us by His work on the cross. We didn't deserve to be given such grace and shown such love. We actually deserve the opposite. We deserve condemnation. This is why we worship Him. This is what we are called to abandonment.

We acknowledge that when we receive such a love as this we are no longer our old self. We are changed. Totally reinvented and being conformed into the image that the Lord has designed and desired.

Now we live not for ourselves, our selfish desires, or worldly agendas. We throw aside everything with the radical love of Christ breaking through every aspect of our lives.

The ultimate goal of our lives is to bring ultimate worth to our creator. Yet, we acknowledge that so many have never even heard the name of Jesus and the price that was paid for them on Calvary. This is why we go on mission. We go on mission not because we are trying to become “better” and check off a task ascribed to us. But we share the gospel so that God might be further glorified and worshiped.

With this call of the Great Commission, we do not go alone into the world but we have been given the ultimate helper and the living and breathing person of the Holy Spirit who lives with us. We are COMPELLED to go on mission for Christ. We can't help it. We can’t contain it.

COMPELLING from the Spirit isn’t always picture perfect. It’s messy and rough. There are hardships and setbacks. After all, we are still flesh and even though we are image-bearers we seek comfort as our own desires blind the full call on our lives. To love the Lord and share this love with all we come in contact with. As members of the everlasting kingdom we are called not just to temporary missions but to live on mission as Christ did. To permeate all around us with the love of Jesus.

In-Person Schedule

Disclaimer: Lot C attendance is only permitted for students who are on campus as a part of Phase 1, 2 or 3.

Wednesday (March 17)

9:30 a.m.

Katrina Greene

Lot C
7 p.m.Todd AhrendLot C

Thursday (March 18)

7:00 p.m.

Main Session

Lot C

Online Schedule

Our team has been working hard to create the best online conference atmosphere possible. When you navigate to the Chapel Canvas page, you will find access to all of this year's three main session speakers (Katrina Greene, Todd Ahrend and Adam Edgerly). Breakout seminars (Matthew Williams and James Petitfils) are available on the SMU website.

Main Speakers

Todd Ahrend

Dr. Todd Ahrend Northeastern State University graduate has a master's degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and a doctorate from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He is the founder and international Director of The Traveling Team, a national missions mobilization movement. He and his wife, Jessica, have spent almost two decades traveling both nation-wide and abroad, speaking to thousands of people about involvement in world evangelization. Todd has exposure in over sixty countries and has lived in the Middle East.


Adam Edgerly

Adam Edgerly is on the Board of Trustees at Biola University in addition to serving on the Academic Affairs Committee and the New Frontiers Task Force. He earned his B.A. and M.A. in Intercultural Studies from Biola and his MBA from Emory University. Edgerly is the CEO of Culture Consultants, working to help senior executives achieve peak performance through executive coaching and leadership training. He lives in Southern California with his wife and daughter.


Rick Warren

Dr. Warren has received his Bachelor of Arts from California Baptist University, a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary. Rick Warren is recognized as America's most influential spiritual leader as a pastor, author, and global influencer. He and his wife Kay founded Saddleback Church in 1980 when he was just 26 years old and he continues to serve as the senior pastor with a passion to bring the gospel to the whole world. Rick Warren has also built the Purpose Driven Network which is a global alliance of pastors from more than 160 countries and hundreds of denominations who have been trained to be purpose driven churches and is the founder of


Katrina Greene

Dr. Greene is an associate professor of Anthropology and Intercultural Studies in the Cook School of Intercultural Studies at Biola University, where she has taught since 2004. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from American University and her B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. She is a socio-cultural anthropologist, and her research interests include economic anthropology, gender and development issues, entrepreneurship, and community development. She enjoys teaching her students and encouraging them to be salt and light in the world.

Breakout Seminars

Matthew Williams

Dr. Williams is a Professor and Chair of New Testament as well as Director of B.A. and M.A. programs at Biola University. He obtained a Ph.D. in Theological Studies from Trinity International University, an M.Div. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois. Prior to coming to Biola, Williams served as a missionary in Spain for 6 years. He has taught at various schools and preached at many conferences and churches. Williams is very passionate about missions and seeing the Gospel reach the nations.


James Petitfils

Dr. Petitfils has been an Associate Professor of New Testament at Biola University since 2011. He received his Ph.D. in History of Religion from UCLA in 2013, master's degrees from Talbot School of Theology and UCLA, and a bachelor's degree from Biola University. Along with teaching at Biola, he is currently serving as the Beach Pastor at the River Church in the South Bay. He has been married to his wife, Braelyn, for 16 years. They have one daughter, two sons, and also have fostered four children. In his free time, James loves spending his time with family, surfing, and eating burritos.

Visiting Missions Organizations

Missions Conference is attended by over 85 missions organizations from around the world. Missionaries that attend receive a table to display the different aspects of their organizations to students. In addition to this, there are variety of different engaging events to connect organizations with students. Missionaries can either stay in hotels in the area or with Biola students in the dorms. If you would like to partner with Missions Conference, email

This year's partnerships will look extremely different than most years given that they will be all online. To get involved this year, take a moment to look at the Missions Organization Zoom Schedule below to find out which zoom meeting to attend you We look forward to partnering with you!


Missions Organizations Zoom Schedule

  • March 15 at 3:30 p.m. (PST): Clara Lee from Interserve USA
  • March 16 at 3:30 p.m. (PST): Adam Hussey from Action International
  • March 17 at 4:00 p.m. (PST): Jeff Bossel from One Challenge
  • March 18 at 4:00 p.m. (PST): Claire Elise Pettit from Samaritan's Purse
  • March 19 at 3:30 p.m. (PST): JJ Harling from World Vision

What is Global Awareness?

Welcome to Global Awareness. Our department serves as an interactive experience that aims to bring attention to various social issues across the globe and how these issues inform our missions work both locally and globally.

Theme: I Am & I Will

The Global Awareness theme this year, I AM & I WILL, came out of a posture of remembrance of the faithfulness of God throughout history. As a team, we were pulled to the countless times in the Old Testament where Yahweh proclaimed things like “I AM your provider...” or “I AM your peace...”-- these moments where God’s character was boldly declared. We were also drawn to the action statements of God as well. We noticed how the Lord would proclaim “I WILL bless you...” or “I WILL deliver you...” These statements marked the promises of God.

As we approached this concept, the Lord brought us to Ezekiel 34:22-31, which speaks of both the character of God and the promises of God. We see His character in the way that the Lord has a heart for the vulnerable, oppressed, lost, and afraid (Ez.34:27-28, 30). We see His promises in the way He ensures peace, security, honor, blessing, and freedom (Ez. 34:25-26, 29). We see glimpses of Jesus's role in this covenant of peace in verse 24. We also see God's justice in his claim to judge those who are operating outside of His character (Ez. 34:22). This is the history of God -- a God that intimately cares for the wellbeing of His people.

This idea of I AM & I WILL is multifaceted. While we see this from Yahweh in the Old Testament, we also see these statements uttered by Jesus in the New Testament time and time again. He says things like, “I AM the light of the world...” and “I WILL give you rest...” We see the ways he not only fulfills the promise of a new covenant, but he goes on to make and keep his own.

Another layer to this statement is our participation in living out the characteristics of God and stewarding our calling and our lives to partner with Him as He redeems the world. We are defined and deemed worthy by God, so therefore we will be the hands and feet of His plan to reconcile the world back to Him.

Key Verses

Ezekiel 34:22-31

22 I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another. 23 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. 24 I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the Lord have spoken.

25 “‘I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of savage beasts so that they may live in the wilderness and sleep in the forests in safety. 26 I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing.[a] I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. 27 The trees will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the Lord when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them. 28 They will no longer be plundered by the nations, nor will wild animals devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will make them afraid. 29 I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations. 30 Then they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them and that they, the Israelites, are my people, declares the Sovereign Lord. 31 You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”



  1. How do I find my way around campus?
    • Visit our campus map to find locations for every Missions Conference event.


  1. What if I come in late or leave early from a session or seminar?
    • In order to receive a credit, you must be present at the session or seminar for the entire duration. If you come in late, you may not get scanned and also if you leave early, you will be scanned out so that you will not be able to receive the credit.
  2. What if my credit didn’t show up online?
    • Due to the high volume of chapel credits being entered, along with ongoing challenges accounting for students in-person as well as online, it is highly likely that you will not see your credits reflected until the following week on your MyAccount. If after that, you still do not see a credit for sessions you attended, email

SMU Involvement

  1. How can I get involved with the Student Missionary Union?
    • The Student Missionary Union is passionate about motivating and mobilizing students to align their lives towards the completion of the Great Commission. Within SMU, there are several departments: Missions Conference, Local Missions, Short Term Missions, Finance, Office Staff and Marketing and Communication. For more information about each of these departments, check out the SMU page. However, the best way to get information would be to walk into the SMU office located in the SUB.

MC Involvement

  1. How can I apply to be a MC Coordinator?
    • The MC Coordinator positions are hired during September of each year and there are a total of 12 coordinators with two in each of the six departments. There is an application and interview process that start in August/September each fall semester. To find more information about the MC departments, check out the website.
  2. How can I join MC staff?
    • Each of the six departments within the MC department have a staff that meet weekly both in the Fall and Spring leading up to conference. The staff ranges from 75 to 100 Biola students in totality. There is an application process to be an MC staff member and this is usually released in early October after a MC staff info night.

Other Questions

  1. Will wheelchairs be accommodated?
    • Yes. Biola’s Campus is wheelchair accommodating and we can make further arrangements for the sessions.
  2. Do you provide sign language interpretation or accommodations for students with disabilities?
    • Yes. We will have ESL interpreters at the main sessions. Email for more information.
    • You can also contact the Learning Center ( if you require any accommodations during Missions Conference, or have concerns related to any physical, psychological, medical or learning diagnosis.
  3. My question isn’t listed above. How can I get an answer?