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Future of Global Mission Conference leaves big impact on students

CIU alumnus Steve Richardson of the mission agency Pioneers: "Your life is a unique strategy of God that is unfolding in history."

November 8, 2022

Music major Harrison Burnette was so impacted by Columbia International University’s three-day “Future of Global Mission Conference” that he immediately called his parents after the closing session to tell them about it.

“I think that was probably the truest form of worship I've ever been a part of,” Burnette said after the conference, referring to the nine-member IziBongo Band that led the musical worship in a variety of languages and cultural styles.

“For me it painted a picture of what the Kingdom of God will look like. It will sound like all these different sounds and cultures,” Burnette said. “They knew the ethnodoxology really well and I really appreciated how it was all very scriptural.”

The Future of Global Mission Conference signaled the opening of CIU’s yearlong 100th anniversary celebration that continues through November of 2023. CIU’s student body filled the conference plenary and break-out sessions along with CIU alumni and community members.

Among the plenary speakers was 1984 CIU alumnus Steve Richardson, the president of the mission agency Pioneers.

“Your life is a unique strategy of God that is unfolding in history,” Richardson told the students.

For CIU Student Body President Alex Brickey, he is working toward a strategy of using education to further the gospel. He attended a workshop with 2020 CIU Alumnus of the Year Dr. Danny McCain founder of the world-renowned Global Scholars that equips Christian professors to serve Christ in secular universities.

“Dr. Danny McCain’s approach to working as a professor in the public university was inspiring,” Brickey said. “The way in which he approached academia and training up pastors and others about the Bible served as an example I seek to follow in some form or fashion.”

Business Administration major Tiara Batterman said she learned believers in Africa and Asia are now the forerunners on mission.

“I see them being the prominent people pushing forward the gospel nowadays,” Batterman said. “I was so touched to know that there are that many people praying  … for global Christianity and followers of Jesus.”

In a closing call to action, CIU Executive Vice President Dr. Rick Christman told the student body, “I want to challenge you to devote your life to ministry — whatever you are called to do.”

“You do not know students, where God will take you,” added Christman who was filling in for CIU President Dr. Mark Smith who was ill. “Work with urgency. Be strategic. But be urgent.”

Bible Teaching major Olivia Humphrey summed up the impact on the student body, saying that the message to go to the nations was made clear.  

“More than anything I think it was just a massive encouragement for the campus to just get to work rather than just sit around and enjoy the privilege of being here,” Humphrey said. “We have to implement it rather than just absorb it.”

Watch a video wrap-up of the whole conference produced by CIU videographer Taylor Irizarry on YouTube. View the plenary sessions on this YouTube playlist.   

CIU is celebrating 100 years of its mission to “educate people from a biblical worldview to impact the nations with the message of Christ." The university consistently ranks among the Top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report, as well as a Best Value Regional University in the South. Apply now or request information on enrollment by contacting Admissions at (803) 807-5024 or          

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