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Be the “World Christian”

By: Bre Becker

In 1986, Dr. LaVerne Blowers founded the World Christian Action Conference (WCAC) as a series in Bethel’s chapel program. Twenty-three years later the WCAC is still a focal point of the spring semester on campus. This is a weeklong event invites an outside speaker to lead the campus through chapel services and offers a variety of seminars for students to attend. This year the 2009 WCAC was held from January 26-30.

Dr. Leonard Sweet, “one of the church’s most important and provocative thinkers,” blessed Bethel as the keynote speaker this year. Sweet is currently an E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew University in Madison N.J. and is often referred to as, “a writer of vast imagination, poise, and charm.” This prolific professor and writer spoke at three mandatory morning chapels and two optional evening services.  Class schedules were adjusted to make room for the extra chapels which gave students the freedom to attend.

This year the Student Development office made some changes to the seminar portion of WCAC by offering fewer seminars with more focused and pertinent topics.  The change was appreciated as students responded well to the quality speakers and engaging subject matter.  Eight total seminars were offered including: Avoiding the Endangered Species List: Learning to Navigate Christian College; Called to Serve: Women in Missions and Ministry; and The Paper Bag Game: A Poverty Simulation. These helpful workshops were presented by both Bethel College professors, students and outside missions relevant speakers.

When asked about the WCAC, students gave a variety of feedback. Freshman Marcy Lewis commented that, “Leonard Sweet opened my eyes and heart to the opportunities that God has made available to me as a college student.” Freshman Megan Kobler attended “The Paper Bag Game: A Poverty Simulation.”  Her seminar simulated a real life poverty situation by requiring students to emulate the duties of the depraved, homeless, and underprivileged. “The poverty simulation put me in the shoes of almost half of the people in the world today who live in poverty. We needed to sell items or even people into prostitution in order to get money for food. I was stressed out, my knees hurt, and it was a huge eye opening experience.”

When asked to explain the purpose of WCAC, Bill Jones, Bethel’s Missionary in Residence, replied “The main goal of the World Christian Action Conference is to increase awareness on Bethel’s campus of what it means to be a "World Christian."  Our vision is that every student, faculty, and staff person would be challenged to evaluate his or her role in the fulfillment of Christ's global Great Commission.” This year’s WCAC did an excellent job of educating the Bethel family on what it really means to be a “World Christian”. In that one week, hearts were stirred, lives were changed, and students were called to action.