OBU hosted a special Global Outreach Commissioning service Wednesday, April 30, in Raley Chapel's Potter Auditorium. The University recognized and prayed for students, faculty and staff who will be sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ this summer in Oklahoma, across the United States and around the world.
To begin the service, a video was shown, where students who are serving on missions this summer carried flags of the various states and nations where they will serve. They carried them across campus, into chapel, and then hung them on white frame tents on stage.
Odus Compton, director of student ministry, shared a message based on Isaiah 54:2-3. The passage discusses "enlarging the place of your tent," which Compton likened to the effect students will have as they go out to the ends of the earth serving the Lord. He discussed what it means to "lengthen their cords" and "strengthen their stakes," an analogy for expanding the size of the tent or influence for Christ.
"There is no sweeter aroma to God than when men and women fully yield their lives to Him," he said. "God designed us to bring worship to Him but it's not ours alone. May God raise up worshipers not just from this campus but all around the world."
After Compton's message, each missionary took the stage as their flag and name were shown on the large video screens. As the missionaries left the stage, they formed a large circle around the auditorium and filled the aisles. Each person took a section of rope, symbolizing their part in "lengthening their cords" to enlarge their tents and their influence for the gospel. OBU President David Whitlock closed the service, verbalizing a prayer of commissioning over the entire group.
Many of the missions endeavors represented in the service are facilitated by OBU's Avery T. Willis Center for Global Outreach. The "GO Center" unifies OBU's efforts to provide academic study and hands-on cross-cultural experience related to international ministry. It is a nexus for campus activities and outreach training, led by Dr. Bruce Carlton, director of the GO Center, and Dr. Joy Turner, director of global mobilization.