Fruit for years to come

Mickey Seward

Contributing writer

  • Missions

Possibilities beyond anything they had previously imagined became real to students at Trinity Baptist College in Jacksonville, Florida, this week when members of Converge’s International Ministries team partnered with the college during its Missions Emphasis Week.  

“God did more than we expected,” said Tania Martin, Converge International Ministries’ director of mobilization. “We went to Trinity with the intention of further building our relationship and partnership with the college. But this week, God really helped people see the impact we can make together.”

They had an opportunity to explore that impact potential on February 5, when Martin and her team hosted a luncheon for Trinity faculty and staff. With several of the college’s leaders in attendance, Converge executive director for International Ministries Ivan Veldhuizen shared his team’s vision — We are asking God for a gospel movement among every least-reached people group in our generation — and information about Converge’s various initiatives serving others and sharing the gospel around the globe.

Converge global workers JJ Alderman and Josh Freeman (6 Degree Initiative in Togo, West Africa), bothTrinity graduates, also attended the luncheon and interacted with the faculty and staff in attendance.

Lemueling and Brittany Martinez

Jeshua and Kaitlyn Moore (6 Degree Initiative in Togo, West Africa) and Lemueling and Brittany Martinez (15:5 West Initiative in Poland) were also brought onto the platform at the two Trinity Baptist campuses to take part in a short interview and share their experiences and the Converge International Ministries’ vision during the churches’ worship services on Sunday. The services also included videos featuring other global workers.

Getting to know the college’s faculty is important to building future relationships with students, Martin said.

“Professors are probably some of the greatest influencers in the lives of the students,” she said. “So, if we can build relationships with the professors and help them develop a heart for the nations, they’ll naturally reach their students with that passion.”

Rescue, refocus and release

That evening, Converge staff joined Trinity students for a Super Bowl party, beginning new relationships and setting the foundation for future connections. One connection was so strong that after being forced to quarantine after getting exposed to COVID-19 later, a student was in tears because she wouldn’t be able to spend more time with the Converge team during the week.

And, unfortunately, she missed even more impactful days. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Converge staff spoke at Trinity’s chapel. After Trinity Baptist Church student pastor Trey Warren opened the three-day missions series by speaking about God’s plan to rescue mankind through Jesus (and one student prayed to accept Jesus), Alderman followed the next day by preaching about how God refocuses us. Finally, on Wednesday, Freeman preached about being released into the world to make a gospel impact.

During each of the three chapel sessions, a video highlighting a different Converge International Ministries region was shown. The International Ministries team also hosted a table in the chapel lobby where students could mingle with the aforementioned Converge staff and global workers, as well as other Converge global workers such as James Roberts (6 Degree Initiative in Togo, West Africa), Andrew and Miranda Brothers (15:5 West Initiative in Poland) and Peter and Heather Hanson (15:5 West Initiative in Poland).

fire pit

The Converge team and students further bonded one night over a s’mores bar next to a fire pit.

Beyond meeting college students, members of the Converge team had an opportunity to invest in the future deeper by speaking to Bible classes at Trinity Christian Academy, a kindergarten-12th grade school associated with the college. There, they were able to introduce high school students to missions.

“The first thing I asked them was, ‘What do you know about missions?’” Martin said. “Very few of them answered. I shared about the unreached people groups around the world and told them about how 29% of the world’s population couldn’t even hear the gospel if they wanted to. They don’t have access to a Bible, and they don’t know anybody who knows Jesus.

“I asked if they thought that that was fair, and they obviously said it wasn’t. ‘But that’s the way it is,’ I told them. And I shared with them that only 3% of missionaries are reaching out to that 29% of the world’s population, and they wanted to know where the rest of the missionaries go. So, it got them thinking about missions and those people around the world who need to hear about Jesus.”

Biblical diversity was another topic she discussed with the classes.

“Trinity has a very diverse student body,” she said. “I told them, ‘God wants the mission field — the people doing missions — to look like this classroom. When the missionaries are as diverse as this classroom, that’s when we’ll have a great opportunity to reach that 29%.”

Building the pipeline

For Martin and Converge, the relationship with Trinity continues to grow stronger. She is starting the process of building similar strategic relationships with other colleges around the United States.

“This is probably our largest pipeline for new global workers right now,” Martin said. “Eventually, it could be a huge pipeline for church planters, too. We want to replicate what we are doing with Trinity at other schools. That would help build other pipelines between different areas of the U.S. to all five of our global regions.”

The pipeline goes both ways, though, especially in the case of Trinity and Converge. While Trinity leads people toward Converge, Converge churches can be sure that students from their congregation not only receive a strong education, but that the education includes teaching from a biblical worldview and has already produced many leaders, even among Converge’s International Ministries team.

Following Trinity’s Missions Emphasis Week, a member of the college’s senior administration sent an email to Martin. In the message, he wrote, “I’m amazed at how God used the Converge team this week at TBC. I believe we will be seeing fruit from this event for years to come.”

For Martin, the week turned into one of impact, both on and through her team. It was more than a week of education. It was a week of relationship building. Relationships that will no doubt contribute to a gospel movement among every least-reached people group in our generation.

Mickey Seward, Contributing writer

Mickey Seward is a freelance writer and editor. He served as Converge's director of communications from 2017-23.

Additional articles by Mickey Seward