50th Annual Missions Conference

Engage! Spiritual Warfare & Missions with Guest Speaker Jerry Rankin

 “We have an enemy that is dead set in defeating us in our Christian life. This enemy attempts to influence us to have a mediocre Christian life so that we never have an impact on the world,” Jerry Rankin, President Emeritus of the International Mission Board (IMB) told 175 people attending Golden Gate Seminary’s 50th annual Missions Conference.

“It’s all about reaching the lost people of the world,” Rankin explained. “For God so loved the world - not just our world of shopping malls and materialism, but the world of refugees, of unreached people groups living in darkness and alienated from God.” Rankin, who has authored two books about spiritual warfare, told those attending the conference whose theme was “Engage! Spiritual Warfare & Missions,” that God’s people are to carry the Good News to the ends of the earth, regardless of spiritual warfare. “The enemy speaks into our minds to rationalize away the urgency to go to the mission field. Satan tries to convince us that witnessing to missions, to a particular people group, is an option. But God called us to declare the glory among the nations.”

Rankin encouraged attendees to “be willing to risk the dangers, challenges, and the discomfort, to walk in faith and utilize the weapons of victory we have been provided in Christ. Awareness of the enemy and understanding his tactics will enable us to avoid defeat, diversions and distractions in fulfilling our mission.”

In addition to Rankin’s three lectures, the conference included six breakout seminars on topics such as human trafficking, Folk Islam, spiritual opposition on the mission field, opportunities with the IMB, ministry to California’s migrant farm workers, and sports to reach the lost in restricted access countries.

Crystal Lewis, third year Master of Divinity student, was particularly interested in the human trafficking seminar. “I recently formed a woman’s support group in Marin City, California, and we’re seeing a lot of spiritual warfare to this group. They are unchurched, unsaved, struggling with addiction and prostitution. I’m so glad the Seminary is talking about this topic.”

Saturday afternoon’s activities included an Urban Excursion. Accompanied by Golden Gate students, attendees went to several areas in the city to pray, observe, and engage people. Simultaneously, a woman’s prayer tea was hosted by Bobbye Rankin and focused on prayer for Muslim women. This people group makes up one-tenth of the world’s population yet have less access to the Gospel than anyone in the world.
A two-unit course, “Spiritual Warfare and Issues on the Mission Field,” was held in conjunction with the conference. Laura Reynolds, a first year Missiology student who enrolled in the course, commented on the conference. “Jerry Rankin as our speaker really made the event motivating.” She is co-ministering a college group with her husband and fellow seminary student at San Francisco Mandarin Baptist Church. “Dr. Rankin has so much knowledge to share, and is very encouraging to all of us. I appreciate the valuable information I’ve learned about missions and spiritual warfare.”

Wing Lem, pastor of San Francisco Mandarin Baptist Church and a 2010 Doctor of Ministry graduate from GGBTS, brought 8 people from his church, including 6 students from the college group. “I thought the workshop on Islam was very informational,” he said. “It was helpful to learn how to become effective in our ministry to Muslims in the San Francisco Bay Area.” 

The workshop, “Islam: The Spiritual, The Powerful, The Occult,” was led by Abigail Davis, Southwest Regional Director of The Crescent Project. Davis explained that Muslims are spiritual people, and encouraged her listeners to “tell your Muslim friends about Jesus’ power over demons. When you’re dealing with spiritual warfare, there is power in the spoken name of Jesus.”

“Jerry Rankin’s messages on spiritual warfare challenged our students and other participants to see the enemy’s role in keeping the nations in darkness,” noted Dr. Eddie Pate, Director of Golden Gate Seminary’s Kim School of Global Missions and Chair of the Seminary’s Intercultural Studies Department.

“I also want to commend our student committee for an outstanding effort in planning and running this event. They did a great job in every aspect of the conference – meals, the worship team, breakout sessions, evening cafés, stage design, and promotion – all demonstrated the high level of creativity and leadership among our students.