Missions Advance welcomes all students


Nicole Neidhardt and Warren Vergiels take part in a Missions Advance prayer session. Photo: Holly Diller

Every Monday and Thursday at 9 p.m., Room 110 in the Alumni Building fills up with BJU students, faculty and staff, who have three goals in mind: pray, learn and mobilize.

“Missions Advance is an opportunity for all students to come together, and to learn and to pray,” said student leadership coordinator Matthew Weathers.

Known as Mission Prayer Band until four or five years ago, this opportunity has been available to BJU students since the early days of the University at its first location near Panama City, Florida, said Mr. Mark Vowels, director of missions at BJU.

Vowels said Missions Advance helps to broaden students’ understanding of missions and how it’s changing. “I think it’s very good to hear different perspectives,” Vowels said, “and to be challenged to think in new ways about missions. There’s really a lot changing in missions and how we do it.”

For students who are hesitant to attend a meeting, Robert Troutman, men’s director of Missions Advance,  would like to clear up two misconceptions. First, Missions Advance is not just for missions majors or students who have gone on BJU mission trips. Everyone is welcome to attend the Missions Advance meetings, Troutman said. Second, Missions Advance is not just for students whose parents are missionaries. Again, all students of all backgrounds are encouraged to attend the meetings, Troutman said.

With these two misconceptions dispelled, if you want to get involved with Missions Advance, Vowels said you can attend meetings, connect with the officers and even help promote future meetings. Vowels said they currently promote their meetings by placing flyers and posters in the residence halls and by using word-of-mouth advertisement.

In addition, if you work to get involved with the weekly meetings, you have the chance to become a Missions Advance officer.

However, officer or not, everyone who attends the meetings is a special link in the prayer chain, which is why Missions Advance was created in the first place.

“Because we focus on prayer and spend time in prayer at every meeting, everyone who attends is involved in the main purpose of Missions Advance,” Troutman said.