Discover the RISE Project

The Refugee and International Student Engagement (RISE) Project calls on the Church to mobilize and seize the unique opportunities we have in our own country. Through awareness, education, and implementation, the Church can go and make a difference without a passport or learning a new language! This opportunity is growing larger and greater every year. Our ability to go to the ends of the earth has never been easier.

The RISE Project is an initiative of ICOM (International Conference on Missions) to raise funds, which will enable this awareness, education, and implementation to occur. Imagine a way for churches to quickly find ideas about simple ways to show hospitality to those who have come as students and as new neighbors, to offer companionship, cultural inclusiveness, and even the love of Christ to these special guests!

The goal of RISE is to raise $250,000 to distribute through grants to churches and ministries who are willing to reach out and welcome those who have arrived as refugees or international students. As expert practitioners inform and train us, we hope to start a new conversation about these open doors, to rise up and embrace this sacred opportunity to represent the welcoming heart of Jesus to those who have come so far.


Heart & Soul90: The Yadav

Each month, we’ll feature a Heart and Soul90 video post focusing on an unreached people group.  This month the featured people group is the Yadav Hindu of India. The Yadav are a caste comprising of milkmen, cowherds, cattle breeders and laborers. Their traditional occupation is animal husbandry and selling its products. The Yadav consist of both landowning and landless people. Some Yadav are businessmen, teachers, doctors, engineers and political leaders. Especially in the last 3 decennia they have become politically powerful in the states Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. They are very influential and are a major challenge to the political supremacy of the Brahmins. They are living almost all over India and in South-Nepal.
Graydon Jessup leads us in this short video about the 61+ Yadav million people who have not yet heard the Good News of Jesus!

To learn more about the ministry of Heart and Soul90, go to their website – (

To learn more about the Yadav people, visit the Joshua Project website. – (

Why Should You, Your Church, Your Family, Your Friends…

  1. ICOM can help enlist you in kingdom service.  Just like our ICOM president, dozens every year decide at ICOM to pursue God’s leading to being involved in global kingdom service.
  2. We have a HUUGGEE Exhibit Hall! Visit 530+ exhibit booths with a wide variety of purposes. The power and presence of the Holy Spirit in this area is incredible.

  3. Workshops, workshops & more workshops.  Spread across 6 time slots, you can choose from over 150 workshops of all varieties.

  4. You’ll receive a cross cultural experience.  People from more than 40 countries will be attending ICOM!

  5. Powerful, challenging and life changing testimonies, messages, and worship. We have many international speakers who have amazing stories of how God is moving all over the world.

  6. Be mobilized to become a disciple who makes disciples. The theme for this year is MOBILIZE: Disciples Making Disciples. p.s. – there’s multiple Pre-Cons & workshops dedicated to disciple-making!

  7. ICOM has a place for everyone in your family.  We have a full program dedicated to middle & high school students, SICOM, as well as a full children’s program for walkers through 5th grade – Kidzone!

  8. SICOM is interactive and designed for our students to be involved in serving others.  Putting themselves aside, they will put service into action.  These opportunities will not only impact our students, but it will forever change the lives of those they are reaching for God’s Kingdom.

  9. Be a part of “The RISE Project”. One of our goals this year is to inform and empower churches and missions to reach out to “refugees and international students”.  We are also creating a grant fund to assist these new endeavors.  More on this on our website.

  10. Relationships – Every year ICOM becomes a place where God creates divine appointments to connect people for His Kingdom purposes.  Future mission teammates, supporters, partners, even spouses!!!

Praying into the Chaos – South Sudan

It is easy to think that the situation in South Sudan is hopeless.  There have been so many years of war, strife and broken promises.  What can ever change?  

I urge you to listen to the heart of our Sudanese Brother in the video.  He is asking for us to pray for the only true and lasting hope for South Sudan.

In recent days, the fragile peace has been fractured by more rampaging soldiers, raping and killing innocent people.   More ethnic massacres are looming unless there is dramatic change.  

“The war today is very much driven by past conflicts, and unresolved issues with past conflicts,” says David Deng, of the South Sudan Law Society in a BBC news article.

May this be the season where the followers of Jesus in South Sudan lead the way in letting Jesus’ vision in being his disciple supersede their tribes…their politics …and even their past.  

The BBC article goes on to say, “In the basketball courts, schools, markets and  – yes – military camps of South Sudan, people are desperate for real peace.”

May we join in praying with our Sudanese Brother, for many disciples of Jesus to be raised up who will value everyone as being made in the image of God, even those from other tribes and political parties.  May Christians thrive in forgiving others by the power of the Holy Spirit; so real peace can prevail in greater and greater ways throughout their country.

Praying into the Chaos – South Sudan from the ICOM on Vimeo.


Pray for the Bania in India

Each month, we’ll feature a Heart and Soul90 video post focusing on an unreached people group.  This month the featured people group is the Bania. Their name came from the word “Vania” which means ‘trader’ in Sanskrit. Graydon Jessup  leads us in this short video about the 30+ million people who have not yet heard the Good News of Jesus!
To learn more about the ministry of Heart and Soul90, go to their website – (
To learn more about the Bania people, visit the Joshua Project website. – (


June 20th was World Refugee Day!

In lieu of World Refugee Day, we want to share 3 important things with you:

  1. ICOM is initiating “The RISE Project” in 2016: which stands for, “The Refugee & International Student Engagement Project.”  You can read all about it on our website, (  ICOM President Mike Schrage and a group of other folks have been working diligently all year to create this initiative.  The RISE Project is designed to grant monies to churches, missions, and campus ministries to reach out to people with refugee status and international students.  So far, over $100,000.00 has been pledged to empower churches and ministries to reach out to the thousands of people entering as refugees and the one million international students on our university campuses.  Many of the people coming to the USA are not Christians. This will be a great resource that churches can use for outreach.
  2. There is lack of true information in the media today. Much of the news we see about displaced people groups is driven by fear, a political agenda or a certain viewpoints. One thing we know is that the facts are friendly.  Check out the United Nations Refugee Agency website below. They provide stats for refugees all over the world. Their website is a great resource for those interested in learning more!  Be informed about the whole process.
  3. The nations are coming to the United States!  The truth is that the United States has been a melting pot of cultures for many decades. There has been an increasing number of people groups, resettling refugees, and international college students in our midst, maybe more than you realize.  We no longer “have to” take trips for a cross cultural experiences or to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with people who were born into a country without it – they are coming to us!   We need to take advantage of this! Reach out to those in your community who might need the love of Christ in their lives. Even if your area does not have any refugees or international students, commit to praying for displaced families all over the world & the students attending college inside the United States.

We have some great videos that have been done by experts in the field. Traci Harrod & Greg Swinney have both done videos that talk about displaced people groups as well as international students in the United States. If you click on their name, their video will play. You can also find them on the RISE Project page on our website. These videos will enlighten and inform you about so many aspects of this cultural shift we are seeing in so many parts of world

If you want to make a donation towards the RISE Project, you can do that on our website as well. This Project will make such an impact all over the nation for those who are working in these fields and reaching out to their neighbors and communities. We are grateful to CO:MISSION Foundation, for being our resource to collect and hold these funds.  Co:MISSION is a non-profit group that will turn non-cash items(stock, property, assets, etc) into monies so that it can be distributed.  

There will be many more details and resources being prepared for ICOM including a small group study series, training videos, sermon outlines and more.  At ICOM a number of churches will be sharing in workshops  about how they got started working with resettled people groups in their community.



Going into the chaos was exactly what a missionary family did in the 1980’s.  They targeted Hainan Island, off the southern coast of China.  A large part of its 7,000,000 population at the time, included many ex-convicts and others the Chinese Government had exiled.  Crime, abuse, and dishonesty were rampant.

The family endured great hardships concerning their physical health, as well as significant demonic attacks towards their children.  They fought through great disappointment, having many failed attempts to start movements of disciples who would rapidly multiply on their own.

Fighting through discouragement and learning new things from each failed attempt, their strategy became more focused.  A disciple multiplication strategy had to be the vision for a greater percentage of the current generation to be set free and thrive in all Jesus designed for them.

They trained short-term teams of Christians from Shanghai to spread across Hainan Island and find people who were willing to surrender to Jesus. These new disciples were immediately trained with the core DNA of Jesus and the vision of rapidly multiplying groups of disciples.

Within four years, the missionary family was able to leave Hainan Island because the new disciples were so dynamically multiplying.

Twelve years later, this missionary met someone who recently visited Hainan Island.  He learned there were now over 1,000,000 disciples!  The overall crime rate had dramatically dropped, the economy was thriving because there were so many honest people, and the abuse rate had also fallen!  On top of all that, the worship in the churches sounded like voices from heaven!

PRAY that the Lord of the harvest will send laborers into the remaining fields of unreached peoples, which seem insurmountable; so movements of disciples will be birthed and multiplied in this current generation. 

Dennis Okoth shares his prayer requests for the country of Kenya in this video.

Dennis Okoth Prayer from the ICOM on Vimeo.



Pray for the Karakalpak People Group

KARAKALPAK PEOPLE GROUP from Heart and Soul90 on Vimeo.

Each month, we’ll feature a Heart and Soul90 video post focusing on an unreached people group.  This month the featured people group is the Karakalpak, known for the men wearing black hats, in Uzbekistan. Graydon Jessup  leads us in this short video about the 717,000 Karakalpak people who have not yet heard the Good News of Jesus!
To learn more about the ministry of Heart and Soul90, go to their website – ( – this is the link to their website)
To learn more about the Karakalpak people, visit the Joshua Project website. – (like is

Don’t Miss the “Night of Missions”


If not, why? Some of the leading minds in missions are planning to gather on Monday night July 11 and Tuesday morning July 12 to share what God is doing around the world and how you can be involved. If you have a heart for the lost, if you want to see the Great Commission fulfilled, if you are inspired by stories of how God is moving in amazing ways, then you need to register for this event! The cost is only $10 and really that just pays for the ice cream social you will enjoy after the session on Monday evening.

If you live in southern California, you need to make it to this gathering. I don’t know of another time in recent history that this many mission leaders have gathered to share for such a significant event on the west coast. Preachers, do you want the heart of your church to beat for the lost? Then encourage everyone in your congregation to register for the ICOM Night of Missions!

If you live outside the southern California area and were planning to come to the NACC in Anaheim, have you thought about arriving a day early? Or perhaps you already are arriving on Monday, make sure you add the Night of Missions to your agenda. You will be so glad you did!

We certainly hope to see many of you on Monday night, July 11th. Go to and register today!

The deadline to register is June 1st!


Praying into the Chaos

by Mark Whited

“I have found the Light!  I am never going back to the darkness.”   Powerful words when your Arab brothers have a knife at your throat, trying to force you to recant your faith in Jesus and return to following the Quran.  

This particular Christian miraculously escaped his brother’s grasp and fled out of the house.  He is not letting fear control him, but is now even more determined to tell others about Jesus.  He even hopes to start a church in his home. Indeed, may that all become reality, in the name of Jesus!

May that declaration be true every day in our lives, no matter our circumstances.  Although we’ve probably never had a knife put to our throat for any reason, we must join with our Arab brother to live with the same resolve!  Whatever inner or outer battles we are fighting, we must determine that the way of the LIGHT is the only way of LIFE!

Our Muslim neighbors, both near and far, desperately need that same Light of Jesus.  June 6th is the beginning of Ramadan.  During the following 30 days, many Muslims are more intently seeking after “God”, to both gain his favor and to have a sign from him about some special need.   

We urge you to be in significant prayer for our Muslim neighbors to encounter Jesus and to be set free during the upcoming 30 days.  Even better, ask a friend or your Small Group to somehow join you in this world-changing endeavor.

poster2016_hires_blog 5.17GO to the 30 DAYS OF PRAYER FOR THE MUSLIM WORLD website for great resources to significantly assist you in this prayer effort.  You can receive a booklet or go to their website to read a daily compelling short story about a certain Muslim people group to help you specifically pray that day.  By using their Prayer Guide, you will pray powerful prayers for Muslims you may  never have dreamed of praying.











Praying Into the Chaos

by Mark Whited

Being confident of the AUTHORITY Jesus has given us is essential for us to pray with expectancy and power. There are a number of scenes where Jesus liberally gives his authority to others.

Whether it is the sending out of the Twelve in Matthew 10, or the initial giving of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2.  Even seemingly unworthy people, like the Lost Son in Luke 15, is immediately given authority to do family business when his father puts the family ring on his finger.

We need to be reminded of the true authority Jesus has given us as his sons and daughters. It is easy to be forgetful and let various lies or misunderstandings deter us from both living and praying in the authority of Jesus.

In his book, Extreme Prayer*, Greg Pruitt writes: “In the Bible, a person’s name represents his or her nature.  Praying in Jesus’ name doesn’t mean asking for a Ferrari and tacking on the magic words ‘in Jesus’ name.’  It means presenting requests that resonate with Jesus’ character, praying “for his name’s sake” prayers that advance his plans for the earth – in other words, proclaiming Kingdom of God – oriented prayers.”

Pruitt goes on saying, “The Gospel of John records Jesus proclaiming five similar promises about praying in his name. Any promise that Jesus repeated five times just before he died must be vitally important.”  (John 14:13, 14:14, 15:7, 15:16, 16:23-24)

Therefore, we can and must confidently use the authority Jesus has given us in moving his Kingdom forward via prayer and our obedience.

The attached video link is a brief and powerful testimony of a missionary in Uganda whose life was greatly impacted by Christians praying in Jesus’ name.  (recently recorded on-site by Mike Schrage, current ICOM President)

Watch Now

*Excerpted from:
EXTREME PRAYER- The Impossible Prayers God Promises to Answer  
By Greg Pruett – President of Pioneer Bible Translators
Published by Tyndale’ MOMENTUM


Program Book Advertising

Advertising will open beginning of May!

Advertising in the conference program book is a great way to get your name out there for a small investment. We have ad sizes for all types of budgets ranging from $150 up to $2,500.

Whether you’re promoting a summer program, a trip, selling a book, giving something away, or just want to put your booth number out there for attendees to know you’re at ICOM – placing an ad in the program book is a great idea!

Act Quickly! Spots are limited!

The deadline to reserve an ad in the 2017 Program Book is August 14th.
The deadline to submit your artwork is August 25th.

Ad Sizes & Design Specs:

Advertising Offline Form:


See You In California?

Probably one of the most famous meetings with a missionary occurred when Henry Stanley, a British journalist who was well known for his exploration of Africa, found Scottish missionary and explorer Dr. David Livingstone in what is now present day Tanzania. Livingstone was known to be in Africa, but had not been heard from in over 3 years. Stanley was hired by the New York Herald to try and find Dr. Livingstone. After a treacherous 700 mile trek through tropical forest, Mr. Stanley found Dr. Livingston near Lake Tanganyika. As they approached one another Mr. Stanley uttered the now famous words, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume.”  

There was another significant meeting with a missionary that occurred in March of 1948. While not as famous as the Stanley/Livingstone meeting, its significance cannot be overstated. Pioneering missionary to Southeast Asia, J. Russell Morse, was visiting in the home of preacher John Chase of the Golden West Christian Church in the Los Angeles area. Morse declared the need for missionaries to be able to come together for mutual edification, encouragement and networking. Together they planned a pre-conference meeting just for the purpose at the next North American Christian Convention (NACC). In 1950, that meeting became its own conference separate from the NACC and was to be known for the next 61 years as the National Missionary Convention. In 2011, the name of the meeting was changed to the International Conference on Missions (ICOM). Today, thousands of attendees flock to ICOM every year to be encouraged, equipped, and some even enlisted in God’s kingdom work around the world.

This July, another significant meeting will happen in California as ICOM goes back to where it all started. With a bit of nostalgia, ICOM is planning a pre-conference meeting before the North American Christian Convention which is being held in Anaheim, California. The event will be Monday night and Tuesday morning, July 11th & 12th. It will feature numerous missionaries and mission organizations sharing about what God is doing around the world. It will not only be informative, but also practical as you will walk challenged and more prepared to be a tool God can use in His kingdom work. So plan to come a day early for the NACC and enjoy what is sure to be another “significant meeting” in California!    

You can register for this event by clicking this link:


Prayer Focus: Kyrgyz People

Each month, we’ll feature a Heart and Soul90 video post focusing on an unreached people group.  This month the featured people group is the Kyrgyz in Kyrgyzstan.  Graydon Jessup  leads us in prayer for the more than 4 million Kyrgyz people who have not yet heard the Good News of Jesus!

To learn more about the ministry of Heart and Soul90, go to their website.

To learn more about the Kyrgyz people visit the Joshua project website.


MOBILIZE prayer: Join the Battle

by Mark Whited

Last month we set the stage concerning the need for us as followers of the Lord Almighty to do more than merely care for those who have been left in the ditches by various robbers.  We must have “eyes to see” and also the “will to go” upstream into the chaos, to go after the robbers who are leaving people beaten and shamed in a host of ditches.

This blog is an entryway to train us how to better “pray into the chaos”, by doing spiritual warfare relating to various “sources” of robbers.

INDONESIA is the world’s most populated Muslim nation.  It is a strategic player in the spread of Islam throughout Asia. There are a vast number of unreached people groups on this sprawling country of 250 million people spread over thousands of islands.  The good news is that disciples are making disciples there in a profound way.

In the midst of great resistance, The Church in Indonesia is on a growing trajectory!  Here are two examples of how Indonesian Christians are moving into the chaos.

1 – In 500 cities across these islands, thousands of Indonesian Christians regularly meet for the express purpose of fervently interceding for their country. For the past ten years, they have been faithfully praying for God to work mightily among government leaders, the media, and young adults. In some of these 500 cities, PRAYER TOWERS have been built as a dedicated place for the Christians to pray 24 – 7.  May the spiritual landscape of Indonesia continue to change!

2 – An Indonesian Minister, whose church meets in a soccer stadium in a major city, recently told a friend of mine about one of their most effective evangelism methods:

They train and send out their CHILDREN to pray throughout the city’s government buildings – for the leaders to surrender to Jesus.  

Through the children’s prayers and interactions, a number of local and regional government leaders have become followers of Jesus.  Also, some leaders (who have not yet bowed to Jesus) have become more favorable toward churches, giving them more legitimacy.  (This is not true across the country, but in some cities and regions.)

LET’S join with our brothers and sisters in the Prayer Towers and with the strategic praying children by GOING UPSTREAM to PRAY NOW for Indonesian leaders to surrender to Jesus.

Mark is the 2016 ICOM prayer chairman and is campus minister at the University of Evansville.  His pray blog piece will be featured monthly during 2016.



Anaheim – Night of Missions

Dear Friends,

I am sorry to inform you that ICOM has decided not to hold the “Night of Missions” on Monday night or the workshops on Tuesday morning at this year’s NACC in Anaheim, CA.  We have really put out effort to try and raise an audience for this event through mailings, postcards, emails, face to face meetings, phone calls, etc., but only have thirty registered attendees.  The majority registered are from the Midwest – although that is great, the focus of this event was directed at introducing (and re-introducing) ourselves to the churches on the West Coast.  Of the thirty registered people, only eight were from Southern California, along with two from Oregon.

In trying to be good stewards of the funds entrusted to us, we felt it was wise to cancel this event to prevent spending such a large amount of money (both yours and ours) on such a small crowd of our target group.  We have been discussing this decision for a few weeks and please know it was not an easy one to make. Those of you who have already paid for your registration, we will be refunding those fees this week. Please be looking for that refund and a cancellation email for your records.

Keith Wood and I are still attending the NACC, but the Monday evening and Tuesday morning events will not be taking place. Make sure you stop by the ICOM booth (#826) during the week!  The ICOM Staff has high hopes that our organization and outreach will grow and that in the future we will be able to hold an event on the West Coast! We thank you for your love of the Kingdom and appreciate your understanding!

Yours in Christ,

David Empson

Executive Director, ICOM



ICOM Events

2017 Global Gathering – New Delhi, India

The 19th Global Gathering of the World Convention of the Churches of Christ and Christian Churches (Independent and Disciples) will take place on January 12-15, 2017. President Ajai Lall of Central India Christian Mission cordially invites you to join believers from around the world to join together in Delhi, India!

ICOM will be present at the Global Gathering, and we would love for you to join us.

All the details are available by clicking here.

World Convention 2017 – Global Gathering 19 from World Convention on Vimeo.

RISE Project

The RISE Project

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers…

Seeking opportunities to welcome newcomers is a godly trait, and hospitality is a spiritual gift. With over one million international students and visiting scholars in our country and potentially 85,000 arriving with refugee status in 2016, what is the Lord’s expectation of His Church regarding this opportunity? (These numbers do not include the millions of immigrants who have come to this country with or without documents.)

International students come expecting to learn. They are curious about all things American and want to experience it all, both the good and the bad. They come from the upper class in their societies and in many cases are gifted intellectually and highly connected socially. Research indicates that fifty percent of the world’s future heads of state will attend an American university. Sadly, most of them during four years of study will not spend one evening in a Christian home!

Refugees have another story, one of incredible perseverance and resiliency in the face of unimaginable persecution, trauma, and loss. They were forced to leave their home countries, displaced out of necessity, and separated from their family units. They ache for security and community, a place of belonging in which their many strengths and talents will be welcomed.

The Refugee and International Student Engagement (RISE) Project calls on the Church to mobilize and seize the unique opportunities we have in our own country. Through awareness, education, and implementation, the Church can go and make a difference without a passport or learning a new language! This opportunity is growing larger and greater every year. Our ability to go to the ends of the earth has never been easier.

The RISE Project is an initiative of ICOM (International Conference on Missions) to raise funds, which will enable this awareness, education, and implementation to occur. Imagine a way for churches to quickly find ideas about simple ways to show hospitality to those who have come as students and as new neighbors, to offer companionship, cultural inclusiveness, and even the love of Christ to these special guests!

The goal of RISE is to raise $250,000 to distribute through grants to churches and ministries who are willing to reach out and welcome those who have arrived as refugees or international students. As expert practitioners inform and train us, we hope to start a new conversation about these open doors, to rise up and embrace this sacred opportunity to represent the welcoming heart of Jesus to those who have come so far.

…for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews13:2NIV)




The RISE Project – Traci Harrod from the ICOM on Vimeo.

The RISE Project: Greg Swinney from the ICOM on Vimeo.


To donate to The RISE Project

comission_foundation_Color_LogoICOM is partnering with Co:Mission Foundation to facilitate gifts of cash and non-cash assets to The RISE Project Fund. This special account at Co:Mission Foundation will provide professional oversight and management of money earmarked for the RISE Project.

For information about how Co:Mission Foundation can help you make a cash or non-cash gift to The RISE Project Fund, please contact David Duncan, Executive Director at 855.266.4774 or email him at:

To donate by check,
all checks should be made out to:

Co:Mission Foundation
With The RISE Project Fund in the memo line.

Checks should be mailed to:
Co:Mission Foundation
The RISE Project Fund
2050 Main Street, Suite 400
Irvine, CA 92614

To donate online:





Prayer Focus: Heart and Soul90

Each month, we’ll feature a Heart and Soul90 video post focusing on an unreached people group.  This month the featured people group is the Hazara people of central Afghanistan.  Graydon Jessup  leads us in prayer for the more than 2 million Hazara people who have not yet heard the Good News of Jesus!

To learn more about the ministry of Heart and Soul90, go to their website.

To learn more about the Hazara people visit the Joshua project website.

ICOM Events

ICOM 2017 – Peoria

The International Conference On Missions is returning to Peoria, Illinois on November 16-19, 2017!

Location: Peoria Civic Center
201 SW Jefferson Ave.
Peoria, IL 61602

President: Enoch Nyador, the first Director of Ghana Christian Mission.


MOBILIZE prayer: Praying into the Chaos


One of the most well known stories of Jesus is about a man who was beaten, robbed  and left in the ditch.  The story was shocking to all who heard it because the hero was a Samaritan and not one of their own people.

This story has been foundational for disciples of Jesus to care for those who have been left in the ditches from being beaten up in a host of ways physically, emotionally, relationally or spiritually.

However necessary it is for Jesus followers to care for those who have been thrown into ditches, we have another responsibility that is often not pursued and is much harder.

Somebody(s) has to go upstream into the chaos…to go after the robbers!  The Gospel of Jesus is GREATER than any selfishness or false religion or demonic activity that results in hordes of people being thrown into ditches. We have to pray for the hearts of those “robbers”!

For example: Rescuing and restoring those from human trafficking is a “Jesus thing”.  But it is also a “Jesus thing” to target and work diligently to see many disciples making many disciples in those areas where trafficking is prevalent.  With more people being freed by Jesus, there will be fewer wanting to enslave others to work on their farms or fewer having sex outside of marriage.

In the months leading up to ICOM 2016, I want to share stories and a vision of our going upstream into the chaos to pray in Jesus’ authority.  Together, we can pray for greater moves of God and multiplication of disciples in these areas. This will result in fewer robbers and way fewer people left in the ditches.

I invite you, now, or as soon as possible, to simply stop and ask God:

1 – Help me lift my eyes from all the immediate stuff happening around me… to see afresh the power of your Gospel… which is greater than any human or spiritual power.

2 – Help me look above the frenzied activity of my work or mission… to look upstream with your eyes… to see what might be causing chaos or to see a more strategic investment of my time and energy… help me pray for Jesus’ greatness to be made known there and for the courage to obey any next steps.

Mark is the 2016 ICOM prayer chairman and is campus minister at the University of Evansville.  His pray blog piece will be featured monthly during 2016.


January is: National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

You may not know it, but since 2011, each January has been proclaimed as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention month.  As believers, we feel the call to be the hands and feet of Jesus by fulfilling his call, “to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners” (Isaiah 61:1 – NIV).

At ICOM, it is our calling to help mobilize the body by connecting people to ministries who do this very work.  Please take time to view and share the video: Sarah Rose.  Watch it with your kids, share it with your friends and family, so that you can have a conversation about good, evil and freedom in Jesus.  Do your part to bind up the brokenhearted and proclaim freedom to those in captivity.

To learn more and become part of the solution, check out these ministries that work in the front lines of human trafficking:

Leave a comment to share your story…


RESET Tour 2: Conforming vs. Transforming

I have been studying the whole process of making disciples for many years and this thought recently came to me.  How much of this is me and how much of this is God? Romans 8:29 (NLT) says that “he (God) chose them (his people) to become like his Son”. The NIV uses the words “conform to the image of his Son.” Before and after my decision to follow Jesus, I need to choose to obey. I need to change my mind and heart and mold my character to conform to become like Jesus.  This is God’s will.  This is how I show God I love him.

Then I read Romans 12:2 – ”Do  not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”  I can work on the renewing my mind part.  Knowing his Word, worshipping through music, prayer, etc.  But I honestly want to be transformed.  As I look at the verb in the Greek language, the word used for “transformed” is in the passive tense.  This means that this is something that is done to me. I do not control the transforming part… He does.

The meaningful part, to me, is that I still have to grind out a big effort on my own, to choose to conform and to turn away from things that are not godly.  I need to change my focus by not conforming to the standards or logic of this world.  Conforming to the image of the Son of God is only my effort; I will only get out what I put into it.

The beautiful part of it is this, I think “transformed” in the passive tense, is the work of God blessing my diligence to pursue Him.  I cannot do this myself.  I can and have to do my part which is learning to be like Jesus.  But God will transform me.  He will push me at warp speed when I have proven to Him that I love Him enough to submit and obey.  

Over years of ministry, I have talked with many people wanting to become a Christian. Many of them have a hangup about becoming a Christian because they have habits they don’t want to give up. What they don’t realize is that this is where the transformation comes in.  When you start conforming, the Holy Spirit starts transforming.  Before you know it, those habits start to fade away.  But it does necessitate the conforming, seeking His righteousness.

I want to thank Dann Spader for impacting my life through this Reset 2 Tour: Making Disciples.  The teachings about Jesus that I have learned have helped my spiritual life grow!  I love what the Apostle Paul wrote, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author/originator and perfecter of our faith.” Heb. 12:2.  

The Reset 2 Tour begins again this May.  To see dates and locations, click on the button below.  Every Reset 2 date features 4 hours of great teaching, lunch and includes a copy of Dann Spader’s book, 4 Chair Discipling!



Merry Christmas!

It’s almost Christmas, and we are still hearing stories from ICOM in Richmond.  It’s really weird when you hear of a story that took place at conference – which, coincidentally, has taken you years to organize and plan! And then comes a story from someone who came to ICOM in a rather unusual way like someone forwarding an email saying “You should come to ICOM with me!” We love hearing stories of things that happened during the conference weekend or how people end up hearing of us and coming to ICOM!  We heard a story of people from Pennsylvania who came to ICOM for a specific workshop track.  Upon arriving in Richmond, they were shocked at seeing the thousands of people who had driven or flown from across the globe for the sake of world missions. Here’s the thing: they didn’t even know ICOM existed.   And just today, I learned of that very story.  It always makes me smile whenever someone’s life was touched by the conference.

Many churches have stopped doing Christmas programs these days. My wife, Sherree, and I went to one the other day and it was awesome!  There was a children’s choir, a teen choir, an adult choir and an orchestra, too.  What really got my attention was the incredible smiles of three little girls in the children’s choir, two young ladies in the teen choir, and a couple of folks in the adult choir.  They absolutely owned what they were singing.  They had the mechanical part down.  In fact, one gentleman had his songbook folded up because he knew the music that well.  But the two teenage girls, they were glowing with joy!  That made me smile.

The story of the birth of Jesus is an incredible story that changed the world – and is still changing lives today!  I am sure God smiled at many points throughout the events leading up to that night in the manger.  

Things like:

  • Poor Mary, traveling to Bethlehem from Nazareth…all the while she was about to give birth to a baby. Wow!
  • I wonder if Joseph was frustrated with no room in the inn.
  • I bet God laughed when the angels filled the sky to watching shepherds.  As if to say “Watch this!”
  • The look on King Herod’s face when the wise men entered his palace looking for the one “born King of the Jews.”
  • The patience and response of Simeon and Anna, waiting for God’s promised Messiah.

Until the day I die, I want to live and serve in a way that brings a smile to the face of God. This Christmas season is a great time to show the love of God.  Not just in the manger, but in the flesh.  Give God something to smile about.

Merry Christmas from the ICOM Staff!

       David, Jim, Keith, Emily & Kelsey




2017 Housing Information

Peoria Civic Center – Hotel Map
Click Here to download the Map!


ATTENTION: If you recently received a letter from Marriott regarding your reservation in Peoria please read the information below, provided by the hotel in response to the letter and know that NO ACTION IS REQUIRED by anyone who received this letter.

The Peoria Marriott Pere Marquette/Courtyard Peoria Downtown are not changing ownership nor management companies.  Currently, the complex is negotiating with Marriott to maintain the brand name and carry the Marriott flag. Depending on the outcome of the negotiations, the hotel will either continue to as a Marriott brand, continue with an alternate  brand and flag, or operate independently without a brand association. Unfortunately, during these negotiations, Marriott has to follow protocol as though the hotels might become an Independent hotel or change brands which is why many received a letter.   Regardless of the outcome, the hotel(s) will be open and operating during the ICOM 2017 convention and will still offer the same first class product and service.  Once negotiations have been completed and final decisions have been made our staff will alert all our Groups and guests as to the outcome. Rest assured that regardless of the outcome of the brand association, your reservations are and will remain secure throughout this process no action is needed from any individuals with existing reservations.

We apologize for any inconvenience or misunderstanding that the letter may have caused. We understand this has been somewhat challenging and concerning to everyone and a sincere thank you for working with us every step of the way.

Fairfield Inn & Suites – Peoria East

200 Eastlight Court, East Peoria, IL 61611
PHONE: 309-699-4100

ICOM Rates$125.00 and includes complimentary hot breakfast, complimentary WI-FI and airport shuttle.

Reservations:  PHONE ONLY 309-699-4100.  Reservations cannot be made online.
Callers need to tell the reservations agent that they want to book a room for the ICOM Conference.
Rooms must be reserved by October 16, 2017.



Holiday Inn & Suites East Peoria

101 Holiday Street, East Peoria, IL 61611

ICOM Rates$125.00 and includes complimentary “Grab & Go” Breakfast and complimentary WI-FI

Reservations: Reserve online or call 309-698-3333. Rooms must be reserved by October 16, 2017. *use the Group Code ICM

Reserve Online



Quality Inns & Suites

4112 N Brandywine Dr, Peoria, IL 61614

ICOM Rates$104.99 and includes Full American Breakfast, complimentary parking and complimentary Wi-Fi

Reservations: Call 309-685-2556. Rooms must be reserved by October 24, 2017. *When calling please reference ICOM 2017 to get the ICOM rate.


Courtyard Peoria War Memorial Parkway

1928 W War Memorial Drive, Peoria, IL 61614

ICOM Rates$132.00 and includes complimentary WI-FI

Reservations: Call 309-686-1900. Rooms must be reserved by October 16, 2017. *When calling please reference ICOM 2017 to get the ICOM rate.



Residence Inn

2000 W War Memorial Drive, Peoria, IL 61614

ICOM Rates$139.99 and includes complimentary hot breakfast and complimentary WI-FI

Reservations: Call 309-681-9000. Rooms must be reserved by October 16, 2017. *When calling please reference ICOM 2017 to get the ICOM rate.

Peoria Marriott Pere Marquette – SOLD OUT

501 Main Street, Peoria, IL 61602

ICOM Rates: Standard Room is $124.00 and Suites are $182.00







Courtyard Peoria Downtown – SOLD OUT

533 Main Street, Peoria, IL 61602

ICOM Rates$119.00

(Please Note: There was a error in the information previously listed – the following is NOT included: Hot Breakfast Buffet and complimentary high-speed internet, complimentary parking, access to the pool and Fitness Center and IHG Rewards Points. All rooms have a microwave, refrigerator, Keurig coffee maker, flat-screen HDTV)



Staybridge Suites – SOLD OUT

300 West Romeo B Garrett Avenue, Peoria, IL 61605

ICOM Rates$159.00 per suite includes Hot Breakfast Buffet, free Wi-Fi, airport shuttle and parking



Embassy Suites East Peoria – SOLD OUT

100 Conference Center Drive, East Peoria, IL 61611

ICOM Rates$139.00 and includes a made to order breakfast buffet, evening reception featuring beverages and light snacks, complimentary ground-level parking, complimentary internet for all Hilton HHonors members.

Reservations: Reserve online or call 1-800-EMBASSY. Rooms must be reserved by October 24, 2017. *use the Group Code NMC

Reserve Online

Holiday Inns Express East Peoria – Riverfront – SOLD OUT

1100 Bass Pro Drive, Peoria, IL 61611

ICOM Rates$119.00 and includes Hot Breakfast Buffet, complimentary WI-FI, complimentary parking, access to the pool and Fitness Center and IHG Rewards Points. All rooms have a microwave, refrigerator, Keurig coffee maker, flat-screen HDTV

Reservations: Reserve online or call 309-694-9800. Rooms must be reserved by October 15, 2017. *use the Group Code ICM

Reserve Online

Mark Twain Hotel – SOLD OUT

225 NE Adams St, Peoria, IL 61602

ICOM Rates$109.00 and includes complimentary Breakfast, complimentary Wi-Fi available throughout the hotel, Complimentary parking and Complimentary Shuttle service available for Registered Guests.  Shuttle service to and from the Peoria International Airport and within a 5mi. radius of the hotel

Reservations: Call (309) 676-3600 | Toll Free: 866-325-6351Rooms must be reserved by October 14, 2017. *use the Group Code ICOM17




We Believe

ICOM’s Mission Statement:

ICOM exists to encourage, equip, and enlist new workers for the Harvest.

We believe…

We believe in one God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit
(Matthew 5:16,45; 6:1,4,8,9; James 1:17/John 1:1; 14:9 / Genesis 1:2; John 4:24; 14:16-20; 2 Peter 1:21)

We believe Jesus Created of all things, visible and invisible
(Genesis 1:1; Acts 17:24-28; Hebrews 11:3; John 1:1; Col. 1:15-16)

We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s one and only Son, my one and only Savior
(John 1:14; 1 John 4:9 / John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:18)

Who was born Jesus of Nazareth, both fully human and fully divine, conceived of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary
(Matthew 21:11; John 19:19 / John 1:14; Romans 5;15-17; Colossians 2:9; 1 John 1:1 / Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:26-38)

Who suffered and was crucified under Pontius Pilate
(Luke 23:1-46)

Who died and was buried, and Who rose again bodily from the dead on the third day
(Luke 23:44 – 24:8; John 20:24-29; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8)

Who ascended into Heaven and now sits at the right hand of the Father
(Luke 22:69; Acts 1:1-9; Colossians 3:1)

Who will return to earth to judge both the living and the dead
(Matthew 24:36-42; John 14:1-3, Acts 1:10-11; 10:39-42; 1 Peter 4:5)

We believe in the Holy Spirit

Who is an active and operative part of the triune God or godhead.
(John 16:5-15; Acts 1:7-8; Romans 8:26-27)

Who indwells every Christian
(1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; 2 Timothy 1:14)

We believe in the Bible—God’s Holy Word, Scripture is without error.
(Mark 12:36; John 14:26; 16:12-15; Acts 1:16; 1 Corinthians 2:12-13; 2 Timothy 3:14-16; 2 Peter 1:20-21)

We accept the Bible as the final authority for all matters of faith and practice
(Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 5:18; 24:35; Romans 15:4; Hebrews 4:12)

We believe the Bible teaches that man, created by God, willfully sinned against God and is consequently lost and without hope apart from Jesus Christ
(Acts 4:12; Romans 3:23)

We believe the Bible teaches that salvation—the forgiveness of sins—is only by grace through the blood of Jesus Christ
(Matthew 26:28; Romans 5:9; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 John 1:7)

We believe the Bible teaches that one receives God’s grace by putting faith in Christ, repenting of sin, confessing Christ and being immersed into Christ
(Romans 5:1-2 / Luke 24:45-47; Acts 3:19; 17:30; 2 Peter 3:9 / Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:9; Philippians 2:11; 1 John 4:15 / Acts 2:38, Romans 6:1-7; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21)

We believe in the Church of Jesus Christ, founded on the Day of Pentecost and consisting of all Christians everywhere
(Matthew 16:13-18; Acts 2:14-47)

We believe the Bible teaches that the Elders are to exercise authority over the local congregation
(Acts 20:28; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-4)


ICOM Staff

John Clausen
John Clausen – Development Director

John Clausen started as the Director of Development with ICOM in September of 2017. John has 17 years of fund development experience with both United Way of Central Indiana and Federated Campaign Stewards, where he managed a program of the Federal government called the Combined Federal Campaign. He is pursuing his Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) international certification. He and his wife, Nancy, are graduates of Milligan College and live in Jamestown, Indiana. They have four children; Andrew (1999), Benjamin (2000), James (2003) and Kathryn (2005). They worship at New Brunswick Church of Christ, where John serves as a Deacon and the two serve as youth group leaders, amongst other ministries. John has a heart for the unborn and for the homeless. John is very excited to have joined the ICOM team and to use his skills and talents for God’s mission.

Fun Facts About John

  1. I enjoy hiking in the wilderness, whether that be in southern Indiana, the Smokey Mountains or the Rocky Mountains.
  2. I am a big fan of Chicago sports; Bulls, Bears, Blackhawks and White Sox. But not those north siders.
  3. I enjoy play a board game called Joker and almost any form of cards, including euchre.


Kelsey Cooper
Kelsey Cooper – Administrative Assistant

Kelsey Cooper joined the ICOM staff in September of 2014 part time to help prepare for conference. She fell in love with ICOM, the staff, world missions, and being able to serve the Lord everyday. Since then, she has become the full time executive assistant and taken on many new and exciting roles. Kelsey attended Indiana University for Recreational Sport Management but felt the Lord calling her in a different direction. She finished her schooling at IUPUI completing a certificate for Event Planning just months before coming to ICOM! Kelsey was born and raised in Clayton, IN where she currently resides and has attended Hazelwood Christian Church her entire life, serving in Kidz Town and with the Homeless ministry. Kelsey was a competitive cheerleader and dancer for 17 years and has had the privilege of coaching all-star cheerleading for many years now. Kelsey loves being a dog mom to her adorable toy poodle, Tater Tot. In her spare time, Kelsey loves playing with her pup, spending time with her family and friends, shopping, riding four wheelers, and watching movies.

Fun Facts About Kelsey

  1. I’m allergic to chocolate and coffee.
  2. I was a cheerleader at Indiana University.
  3. I am overly obsessed with Chick-Fil-A!


Emily - ICOM_2015_Color-1324
Emily Drayne – Operations Administrator

Emily Drayne is an Indiana native living in North Carolina. She is married to her spectacular husband Robby (May of 2015). She lives in Kernersville, NC where they attend First Christian Church. Emily graduated from Kentucky Christian University & has a Bachelor’s degree in History & Biblical Studies. Emily enjoys concerts, sporting events, walks with her dogs, bonfires, hanging out with friends, 3D movies, & lounging with her family. Her favorite teams are the Indianapolis Colts, Kentucky Wildcats and the Clemson Tigers! She is a lover of traveling internationally, bike rides, rainy Saturday afternoons, reading, writing, and singing/playing music. Robby & Emily are dog-parents to two black labs, Tux & Darcy!Emily has been working for ICOM since September of 2011 and started working remotely in May of 2015. It’s been a wild ride so far! She has a heart for world missions and for those serving for the cause of Christ. She loves her job & feels truly blessed to work with such incredibly talented people at ICOM!

Fun Facts About Emily

  1. I am deathly afraid of ladybugs – and most bugs in general
  2. My favorite restaurant is Chipotle…and I get the same thing every time!
  3. One of my favorite things to buy is notebooks, planners, notepads, journals etc.


David Empson
David Empson – Executive Director

David Empson is a native of Columbus, Indiana, where he was raised attending the New Hope Christian Church…where he was both baptized and ordained into the Christian ministry. He attended Kentucky Christian College (1977-1981) where he met Sherree Hunt and they married after graduation. David served as a youth minister Illinois, Kentucky and in Indiana from 1981 thru 2001. He  received a Master of Arts from Cincinnati Bible Seminary in Practical Ministries in 1991.During his youth ministry years, David led many student mission trips. This experience led him to be recommended to lead to the student program, creating the Windows of the World Teen Convention for the NMC in 1998. As Windows grew, David became the first full time student director, operating from central Indiana. Upon Walter Birney’s retirement in 2008, David took on the executive director role and moved operations from Copeland, KS to Indiana. That change took place in 2008. David and Sherree have two daughters, Emily Drayne (who also works at ICOM) and Jenny Empson.

Fun Facts About David

  1. My favorite spot is Aspen, CO – the golden Aspens on the mountains are beautiful in the fall!
  2. I love VW Bugs, like the one I had painted with a map of the world for the NMC.
  3. My highest Fitbit total step day was 27,000 at 2014 ICOM in Columbus, OH!


Sherree Empson
Sherree Empson

Sherree Empson has been involved with the NMC/ICOM since her husband, David Empson, started with the youth part of the NMC in the late 1990’s. She helped run registration for students during that time and then began to help with the adults as David became the executive director. Sherree was born in Pikeville, KY and graduated from Kentucky Christian College in 1981. She has been a teacher for the past 26 years in Clayton, IN. She has taught K-3 and then became the Reading Coach after receiving her Master’s Degree about 10 years ago. Sherree just retired from teaching this May with hopes of pursuing a ministry related job! Sherree and David have been married for 36 years and live in central Indiana. They have two daughters and a son-in-law, Emily, married to Robby, and Jenny who come with three spunky grand-pups, Tux, Toby and Darcy.

Fun Facts About Sherree

  1. I love to read ‘til 1 in the morning.
  2. I love to relax next to the water – lakes, oceans or rivers.
  3. I sing all day long. I always makes up a little “ditty” for family vacations


Vicki Hacker
Vicki Hacker – Administrative Assistant

Vicki Hacker is excited to join the ICOM team.  Her passion is serving and encouraging people. She married Clay Hacker in 1982 in Danville, IL and moved to California.  There they attended Christ Church of the Valley in Covina, CA.   In 1988, they moved to Plainfield, IN and now reside in Eminence, IN.   Clay and Vicki have three sons:  Kyle (29); Jared (27) and Wade (25). Her favorite past time is spending time with her family and friends.   She also enjoys biking, hiking, and gardening.  Clay and Vicki attend Plainfield Christian Church.

Fun Facts About Vicki

  1. I enjoy shooting hoops and playing pickleball.
  2. My favorite vacation spot is South Haven, Michigan.
  3. I like to laugh until I cry with my friends and family!


Teddy Haubner
Teddy Haubner – Student Director

Teddy Haubner is an honest leader with vision and drive in fulfilling what God has called him to do. He is passionate and committed to helping bring others to Christ. Teddy’s upbringing, education, experiences, talent, and heart have brought him to be a growing believer, successful leader, and shepherd to others. Teddy grew up as a missionary child in Brazil, South America, where his parents, Earl and RuthAnne Haubner, continue to lead Central Brasil Mission. Teddy’s perspective in building God’s Kingdom has been greatly impacted through missions; from planting churches, speaking two languages, traveling to camps, conferences, and supporting churches, reaching diverse cultures, to making personal sacrifices.In 2000, Teddy married his best friend and ministry partner, Jeri Rae (Gilliland). Teddy has three children; step-son Keenan (1999), daughter Brianna (2007), and son Brady (2009). Their family pet is a cocker spaniel, Lego, (2004) named after one of the family’s favorite things to do together. Teddy likes things to be clean and organized. He believes that the expectations of his standards should be met, not lower his standards to meet the expectations. Health and fitness, for his whole family, is important to him. Teddy is proud to be a ‘Mac’ man and keeping up-to-date with the latest technology. Most of all, Teddy enjoys soccer; watching, playing, and coaching.

Fun Facts About Teddy

  1. I have a black belt in karate.
  2. I once tried out for Menudo and got beat by Ricky Martin.
  3. I once was bald.


ICOM Corporate Officers


Pictured from left to right: John Caldwell, Curt Nordhielm, Gayla Congdon, Ben Simms & David Empson



Church On Fire – Following Up

by Aaron Saufley

Back in the spring of this year (2015), I saw multiple reports from different sources on persecution of Christians in three different regions of the world.  I knew persecution was increasing, but I did some research just to check.  What I discovered shocked me:  persecution of Christians is at its highest level in the history of the church.  Christians are being persecuted in more places and in more violent ways than ever before.

From that research, I had an idea—my church needs to know this.  We need to raise awareness, start praying, and send some financial support to an organization that helps the persecuted.  

God, however, wasn’t satisfied with this.

At the prodding of the Holy Spirit, I called two college buddies to gage their interest.  They both said yes immediately.  We decided to set up a Facebook page and invite other Christians to join us.  Several other college friends said they would also do a message series with us.  And ‘Church on Fire’ was born.

One of those Christians who joined the Facebook group was Keith Wood, who graciously offered ICOM’s help in spreading the world.  They sent their first email out in August, and our Facebook group exploded with requests to join.

Most of us did the series at the same time—the first four weeks of November, immediately following ICOM.  A few churches did the series before this time, and there are some churches that will do the series in 2016. We aren’t completely sure how many churches did this with us.  Our best guess is somewhere between 30-70.  Church from all across North America raised awareness of our suffering family.

Here’s what we learned:

  • Unity is powerful.  We split tasks up between several of the early adopters—message outlines, small group material, graphics, and illustrations.  Through the Facebook page, we gave each other ideas for messages.  There was a palpable sense that God was in this venture, and he was uniting his church around the plight of persecuted Christians.
  • Creativity helped reinforce the message.  Several churches did an underground church experience—they scrapped all of the “extras” (video, audio, chairs, even lights) to try to recreate what it is like for many Christians meeting secretly around the world.  Some churches created prayer walls with maps of where the persecution is the hottest.  Other churches gave out info cards with the names of countries where persecution occurs so that their people could pray for the persecuted church.  Facebook pages were updated with resources for further information and ways to support the persecuted church.  My church got together with another church across town to do a night of worship and prayer for the persecuted church.
  • Churches are, for the most part, ignorant of the level of persecution.  I heard so many in my church say, “I didn’t know it was this bad.”  Other preachers reported the same.  However…
  • Churches are, when challenged, prepared to pray, give, and maybe even go.  I’m proud of the guys that participated in this series.  It was an uncomfortable topic that some weren’t sure if their churches would accept.  We found out otherwise.  The churches that participated opened their hearts to their persecuted family.  Christians flooded heaven with prayer, and some took up special offerings to go to organizations that support persecuted Christians.  There are several who are considering going to Pakistan in 2017 to personally encourage the Christians there.  As a result of the series, several churches are increasing their missions giving.  Several churches saw multiple baptisms that resulted from the series.  From half a planet away, the persecuted church was inspiring discipleship—even as we did what we could to help them.
  • We cannot forget.  Now that we’re several weeks out from the series, it’s tempting to get swept up in the busyness of the holidays and planning for 2016.  We must keep this issue before our people through a variety of means:  social media, prayer lists, video, future message series, etc.

Persecution did not end with the series.  Neither must our resolve to love and support our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

If your church would like to do the ‘Church on Fire’ series, here is the link to the resources:  Church on Fire Resources.

Here are some resources for learning more about persecution throughout the world, along with ways to support persecuted Christians:

Voice of the Martyrs:

Open Doors USA:

Aaron is the preaching minister at the Friends in Fellowship Christian Church in Winterville, North Carolina and is a content provider on the Plaid Dad Blog. You can follow him on Twitter @AaronSaufley.



2016 ICOM – MOBILIZE: Disciples Making Disciples

by Mike Schrage

The theme for ICOM 2016 is “MOBILIZE: Disciples Making Disciples.” When I looked up the word, mobilize, in an online dictionary, the three big ideas were:

  1. To call up reservists for active duty.
  2. To encourage people to act in a concerted way.
  3. To make something capable of movement again.

This word beautifully and powerfully illustrates for us, the Church, how we are being called into active duty with Jesus. In order to receive the blessing of spiritual freedom, we must move together to redeem the time and to reach those who are still outside His Kingdom. Our fellowship with like-minded followers of Christ should equip us to love our communities. If we are currently in a space of apathy, complacency, or immobilization, we need to figure out how to rally ourselves to go into the world for the sake of God’s honor and the salvation of others!

ICOM 2016 “MOBILIZE: Disciples Making Disciples” hopes to do just that next year! From now until November 17, 2016, I will have the honor of sharing more on this blog. I hope to ignite and excite all of us to reach our full potential in Christ for His purposes. Please join me in reading, praying, giving, and going to this cause.




  1. (of a country or its government) prepare and organize (troops) for active service.

“the government mobilized regular forces, reservists, and militia”
synonyms: marshal, deploy, muster, rally, call up, assemble, mass, organize, prepare

“the government mobilized the troops”

  • organize and encourage (people) to act in a concerted way in order to bring about a particular political objective.

“he used the press to mobilize support for his party”
synonyms: generate, arouse, awaken, excite, incite, provoke, foment, prompt, stimulate, stir up, galvanize, encourage, inspire, whip up; literaryenkindle

“mobilizing support for the party”

  • bring (resources) into use in order to achieve a particular goal.

“at sea we will mobilize any amount of resources to undertake a rescue”

2. make (something) movable or capable of movement.

“doing yoga stretches to mobilize compacted joints”

  • make (a substance) able to be transported by or as a liquid.

“acid rain mobilizes the aluminum in forest soils”


Mike SchrageMike Schrage leads Good News Productions, Intl. and is the president of the 2016 International Conference On Missions which will be held in Lexington, KY on November 17-20, 2016. 

Find out more at


Watch Online

If you are unable to make it to the 2015 ICOM conference, we will be broadcasting each session live online. Use this link to be directed to the viewing site.


Church on Fire part 2 – A Sermon Series…

I’m excited about the theme for this year’s ICOM: “The Away Team.” As a football fan, I know the advantage that the home team usually has during a game: their own fans, their own field, maybe a little edge with the officials. For centuries, the church has been the “home team” in North American culture. We’ve enjoyed privileged status and influence, but now we find those things eroding. Many of us are trying to figure out how to cope with this cultural shift. How do we continue to have voice in our society? How do we handle changes in how the culture views faith, marriage, and the sanctity of life? We’re not used to being the away team.

As I thought about this on Friday, this thought hit me:

The persecuted church has never been the home team.

In the Middle East, northern and central Africa, Indonesia, China, North Korea, India and other places where persecution is the strongest, the church has nearly always been the minority. And now, as has always been the case, the persecuted church isn’t worried about a statue of the Ten Commandments being torn down or a non-believer with a blog making fun of them. They worry about their survival. They worry about the lives of their friends and families. And in some of these places, such as Iraq—where the church has been present since the late first century—they worry that, with their deaths, the faith will die out completely.

We must remember them. We must support them. We must pray for them.

We must do these things because God is at work—refining the faith of the persecuted, strengthening the faith of the suffering, and converting hundreds and thousands to Christ through their example.

This is what Church on Fire is about.

In just a few weeks, churches all across North America will unite to raise awareness and encourage practical support of the persecuted church around the world through this Church on Fire series. As we approach the launch of the series on November 1, please pray for the following:

  1. For the persecuted church—that God will grant them the strength to endure, and that, somehow, he will let them know that we love them and support them.
  2. For the persecutors—that God will use the example of the suffering church to draw them to Jesus.
  3. For the church in North America—that we will see beyond ourselves and not trivialize the suffering of people we cannot see because of the separation of geography and culture, and that we will stand firm with them.
  4. For the frontline workers who are helping the persecuted church—some of the most dangerous work in the world is being done by aid workers in areas where persecution is the most severe.
  5. For people coming to our churches who do not yet know Christ, that God will use the examples of the persecuted Christians to draw these people to Jesus.
  6. For the preachers and church staff preparing for this series, as Church on Fire will be very intense, emotionally draining.

There’s still time for your church to join us. Please go to the links below to join the Church on Fire Facebook group and to download all the materials for the series.

Finally, we’re also having a Church on Fire meet and greet at ICOM. We will be on the first floor in E10D of the Greater Richmond Convention Center from 8:30pm-9:30pm on Friday, October 30th.

Join our Facebook page at

Download Church on Fire materials and resources by clicking here.

Because Jesus lives,

Aaron Saufley
Preaching Minister
Friends in Fellowship Christian Church, Winterville NC

Students Info

SICOM Schedule

SICOM students are encouraged to stay at the Clarion Hotel in Lexington. Details can be found on our housing page.


Registration is currently closed. If you have not registered yet, you can still register onsite at the SICOM Registration Desk! Hope to see you there!


Students will be divided into groups. Each color coded group will follow it’s own schedule during SICOM.




Church on Fire – a sermon series on the…

Every Sunday, Christians in North America gather for worship (if you’re reading this, the chances are pretty good you’re one of them).  We sing.  We pray.  We give.  We listen to a message.  With rare exception, we do this without thinking someone would do harm to us.

Yet, around the world, it’s estimated that nearly 322 Christians die each month simply because they believe in Jesus.  That’s nearly 11 every day.  That means next Sunday, when you go home from church, it’s likely that someone in the world went to church and did not make it home.

Persecution is now truly global.  Christians are being persecuted all over Africa, the Middle East, in much of Asia, in several Pacific island nations, and in central and South America.

Most of us, before reading this post, did not know this.  We knew that persecution happened, but we did not know the extent.  The time has come to end our ignorance.

The writer of Hebrews tells us this in Hebrews 13:3, “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” This is why “Church on Fire” is happening—because God has called us to remember and support those suffering in the fires of persecution.  

In November, churches all around North America (from sizes ranging from twelve to well over 1,000) will join together to both raise awareness of our suffering brothers and sisters around the world and to practically support those in harm’s way.  They will do this through a message series, small groups, viewing the film “Love Costs Everything,” prayer services, and financially supporting Central India Christian Mission’s persecution fund and/or another ministry of your choice serving the persecuted church.  

In the coming weeks, ICOM will post materials on their website for the “Church on Fire” series:  message outlines, small group material, graphics, music suggestions, and other items to participate in the series.  I want to encourage you to change what you’re doing in November and join together with the churches who are doing this series.  If you already have something planned, change it.  This is an opportunity for the church to unite, for Christians to be challenged, and most importantly for our persecuted family to be encouraged.

Let’s join together to let them know that they are not alone.

Because Jesus lives,

Aaron Saufley
Preaching Minister
Friends in Fellowship Christian Church, Winterville NC

For more information, you can join our Facebook group at


To download all your Church on Fire materials click here:
Church on Fire materials


About ICOM

About ICOM

Mission Statement:

The International Conference on Missions exists to Encourage, Equip and Enlist workers for the Harvest.


Known as the National Missionary Convention until 2011, the International Conference On Missions has been serving missionaries and the Great Commission since 1948.  In March of 1948, J. Russell Morse was in the home of John T. Chase for dinner, and asked, “Why isn’t there a gathering for missionaries?” He went on to express the need for a time where missionaries can talk shop, fellowship and encourage each other.  So in 1948, the day prior to the NACC started, a few dozen missionaries got together.  That practice continued for several years growing to a few hundred people. Then in 1954, the National Missionary Convention was formed, as it’s own conference.

The NMC grew from several hundred to sometimes a few thousand.  It became big enough that, after many years with volunteer presidents, in 1966 Walter Birney was designated the first director while preaching in Copeland, Kansas.  Mr. Birney would stay in this role for 43 years.  Walter and his wife, Iva Lou, worked tirelessly while planning conventions all over the country.   Iva Lou retired in 2008 while Walter retired in 2009.

In 1998, David Empson became a volunteer student director, while maintaining a full-time youth ministry at the Hazelwood Christian Church in Clayton, Indiana.  The Windows of the World teen convention was created to meet inside the National Missionary Convention, drawing from the strengths of the adult program while offering “hands-on programming” for students.  In 2001, David joined the NMC staff full-time from an office graciously made available by Hazelwood Christian Church.

In 2007, during the transition time, Jim Chamberlin was hired to succeed David as the student director.  Other staff members have since joined to what makes up the current staff members.

In 2010, Fran Anderson was hired to help determine the advantages of changing the name of the National Missionary Convention.  The NMC had grown over the past several years close to 11,000 attendees in Indianapolis in 2006.  It was felt that the name no longer described what the NMC had grown to become for the following reasons:

  • It was no longer “national” since there were twenty plus countries represented every year.  It had become international.
  • The word “convention” gives the idea that there would be delegates and issues to vote on with some kind of authority to make decisions. That has never been the case. We are a conference.
  • It was very apparent that this was no longer a gathering for “only” missionaries; rather, the conference had become for those who love being on mission.

International + conference + on mission = ICOM.

After holding nine focus groups, it was decided to change the name and was announced in Atlanta, 2011, during the last National Missionary Convention, that the NMC would be called the “International Conference On Missions”.  The name change was well received.


Pre-Con Events

Join us for 2016 ICOM Pre-con!

We are so excited to be offering seven pre-con events this year at ICOM in Lexington, KY!   Be sure to head to conference early to join in the excitement!  Pre-con events will begin on Wednesday, November 16 and continue on Thursday, November 17.

Check out the variety of pre-con events we will be offering below:

For Missionaries Only (FMO)
Wed 5 – 9 pm & Thurs 8 am – 12 pm

This Pre-Con is a time for missionaries to minister to other missionaries.  We pray that this will be a time of personal and spiritual healing and growth for each one.  Sponsored by ICOM.  NO registration cost.  Led by Margaret and Paul Pennington.

Free Wednesday night hotel stay! (Reimbursement after forms submitted to ICOM)

Free Wednesday night dinner (sponsored by Kairos) & Thursday morning continental breakfast!

Community Health Evangelism (CHE)
Wed 9 am – 4 pm & Thurs 9 am – 3 pm

This seminar includes small-group interaction, problem solving, and self-discovery, while increasing understanding of the CHE process.  Sponsored by FAME.  $30 registration fee.  Led by Bill Warren, Terry Dalrymple & Bryan Benz.

Standards of Excellence In Short-Term Missions (SOE)
Wed 6 pm – 9 pm & Thurs 9 am – 5 pm

The Standards Introductory Workshop is an 8-10 hour seminar designed to help adoptive members understand how they can incorporate and achieve competence in all Seven Standards. It also provides a review of how to form and manage a Peer Review process, should a member organization desire to pursue full accreditation. The workshops are taught by experienced SOE trainers (usually two). They are interactive, use case studies and small group discussions. MISTM-grid theory and the supporting principles behind the standards are reviewed.

Muvement Seminar  

4 Chair Seminar
Thurs 10 am – 3 pm

This Pre-Con builds upon the material from the 4 Chair Discipling book by Dann Spader, shared during ICOM’s Reset 2 Tour, calling American Churches to disciple the way Jesus discipled. This is the first step in step in the Muvement Series. Dann Spader will begin this session  and then Randy Nash will teach the bulk of this seminar, having been trained and certified to do so.We will look at how Jesus built a movement of multiplying disciples.

Sponsored by Reset.  $55 registration fee.

Thurs 9 am – 5 pm

(You must have previously completed the 4 Chair Seminar to attend) This will be from 9 am to 5 pm on Thursday.  As we have travelled the nation proclaiming that we should disciple as Jesus discipled, many attenders liked the idea, but wanted to quickly move to the “how to” conversation. This is that “how to”. Kevin Boll has been working with congregations for many years about how to structure your church organization to make disciples who make disciples. This seminar builds on top of the 4 Chair principles. You will need to have attended the 4 Chair seminar before you attend this seminar.

$55 Registration fee.

Mobilizing Your Church for International Student Outreach
Thurs 9 am – 3:30 pm

Come learn about how we can reach foreign college students for Jesus Christ and challenge them to serve His Kingdom.  Sponsored by Crossroads International. $10 registration fee.  Led by Greg Swinney.

Disciple Making Movements
Wed 8 am – 5 pm & Thurs 8 am – 5 pm

This Pre-Con will equip you to make reproducing disciples among the unreached peoples of the world (international focus).  Led by Eric Derry.  $35 registration fee (Limited to 36 people).

Mission Trainers
Thurs 9 am – 3 pm

This Forum is a gathering of those who train workers for field service, whether as professors, counselors, or mobilizers.  $25 registration fee (payable upon arrival).   Email Doug Priest, Executive Director of CMF, for more information and registration.


*Attention MK teens! Join Jessi Vance and Mosaik for a special program designed just for you throughout pre-cons and conference!  Mosaik will provide MK teens with training, debriefing, and spiritual development throughout this time.  Meet Jessi and her team at Pre-Con check-in Wednesday evening.
*Complementary child care will be provided from 6pm – 9pm on Wednesday and 9am – 12pm on Thursday.   
*Registration check-in will be located at the High St. entrance of the convention center.  It will be open from 7:30 am – 6:30 pm on Wednesday and 7:30 am – 10:00 am on Thursday.
*Questions about any of the Pre-Con events can be emailed to Kelsey Davis,

Meet the VEF, our host for ICOM in Richmond


The Virginia Evangelizing Fellowship, in collaboration with the Eastern Christian Conference, is playing host to ICOM in Richmond, Virginia Oct. 29 – Nov. 1. Tim Cole, the Executive Director of the VEF, shared this profile with us about who they are and what the VEF does in the Mid-Atlantic region:

The VEF is known in our region primarily as a strong force for church planting, but that only tells half our story. We’ve planted over 80 churches since our founding in the 1930’s. Since 1990 we’ve planted 31 projects around Virginia and in the adjoining states of North Carolina, Maryland, West Virginia and Tennessee. Those newer projects have celebrated more than 1000 baptisms in the past two years alone and have grown to average over 300 in attendance per plant each Sunday. We’re really proud of the work they do transforming lives and communities in our region.

The flip side of our story is the spectrum of services we provide to the 240+ existing churches around Virginia to help them accomplish their mission. The past decade has seen the development of programs like:

  • A Guest Services Seminar and training to help churches keep their guests coming back.
  • A Comprehensive Facilities Evaluation that provides churches with a fresh perspective on their most used ministry tool.
  • Fusion Groups: Peer learning communities of 4-5 ministers who covenant together for a 2-year journey to become better pastors together. We’ll have 24 of these groups active the Fall.
  • One-on-one Ministry Coaching from our team of trained, certified Ministry Coaches.
  • A regular schedule of Leadership Seminars and Retreats that raise the bar of leadership within our churches.
  • No-interest loans to help churches purchase property, make repairs or otherwise enhance their ministry.
  • Media and Branding Services that help churches design modern, relevant websites, logos, custom brochures and signage to enhance the graphic communication to their community.

All of these programs together along with the new churches we plant help us ambitiously accomplish our mission, Pursuing Kingdom Growth, through an environment of partnership and synergy among all the churches in Virginia.



ICOM Kids Zone


Children’s programming for Nursery thru 5th grade.

Thursday – 7:00 – 8:30 p
Friday & Sat – 9:00 – 11:45 a
2:00 – 5:00 p
7:00 – 8:30 p
No programming on Sunday

Kids zone


Future Conference Dates

ICOM 2017

November 16-19, 2017 – Peoria, IL • Enoch Nyador

ICOM 2018

November 15-18, 2018 – Cincinnati, OH

ICOM 2019

November 14-17, 2019 – Kansas City, MO

ICOM 2020

Indianapolis, IN

ICOM 2021

Richmond, VA
Students Info

CIY Engage to offer a free SICOM pre-con!

CIY Engage 1400x600

The CIY Engage pre-con will take place on Friday, October 29, from 10:00 am – 12:00 noon and 2:00 – 5:00 pm.  There is no cost to attend, but please indicate your attendance when you register for SICOM or by emailing Jim Chamberlin at

Here’s what the CIY Engage pre-con will feature:

10-12- IJM Experience: Students will have an opportunity through a role-playing activity to see what a member of the IJM staff goes through to try to bring about justice. They will interview witnesses/victims/potential perpetrators and will take their information gained and turn it into a legal argument that they will present before a judge. The team with the most compelling argument wins.

2-5: Engage Kingdom Worker Training: In 3, one hour segments, students will learn about the roles that identity, justice, and spiritual disciplines (with an emphasis on evangelism) play in being Kingdom workers. Through group activities, discussions, and video content, students will get a glimpse at how these three areas can equip them to live as Kingdom workers beyond the event. (This is a glimpse into the new ENGAGE programming being launched in 2016. While this gives a one hour snapshot of each training, the actual event will give the students 6 hours focused on one of the topics)

Please note: lunch is on your own.

About SICOM & CIY Engage:
SICOM, the Student International Conference On Missions, welcomes Engage, the missions arm of Christ In Youth (CIY), into a strategic partnership to broaden students’ hands-on experiences into Kingdom Worker training.   SICOM has a 16-year history of bringing missions and students together in a unique hands-on service conference dating back to when it was Windows of the World (2000-2011).  Christ In Youth has been a leader in youth ministry since its founding in 1968. CIY serves more than 70,000 students each year with more than 100 events nationwide, designed to amplify Christ’s call on student lives to become Kingdom workers. CIY’s Engage, now under the leadership of Rachel (Oblon) Grindle, seeks to help Kingdom workers engage people by connecting with missional leaders, global Kingdom works and cultural intelligence. Beginning with the 2015 SICOM in Richmond, VA, Engage and SICOM will work together to train students to become Kingdom Workers who engage as we seek to make Jesus famous.

As part of the International Conference On Missions that takes place this October 29 – November 1, 2015 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, the partnership between ICOM and the Virginia Evangelizing Fellowship combined with this new venture with Engage and SICOM have the potential to make the 2015 ICOM/SICOM a pivotal year in missions, in church planting and in local churches.

For more information,


Reset Tour

The International Conference On Missions presents RESET Tour 2 – The Disciple Making Tour


Registration Is Now OPEN!
Click the button to register for the 4 Chair Discipling and Metamorphosis Seminars!

Register For Reset 2


Due to low registrations – we are cancelling 3 stops on the Reset Tour:
Lincoln, IL  ~  Joplin, MO  ~  Lexington, KY

We will still proceed with Plainfield, IN, Columbus, OH and Council Bluffs, IA.

If you are currently registered for one of the seminars that has been cancelled, we will refund your money unless you’d like to go to one of the other seminars that is remaining open. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. If you have any questions, please email or”



Status of Reset 2: The Disciple Making Tour

Reset2June 7, 2016

The second Reset 2 Tour: The Disciple Making Tour is done and in the books; but oh, what a tour we had!  The first tour had 239 attendees in 10 stops. Following that tour, we asked one question: What largely exponential and irreversible changes have taken place in the North American Church community that are both uncertain and important to finishing the task of world evangelism?  

The #1 answer?  We are not effectively making disciples.  

The second tour drew in 450 attendees in 9 cities.  We shared that maybe we need to reexamine how we are making disciples. So we introduced the idea that Jesus modeled for us how to make disciples, who would in turn make more disciples.  Dann Spader, of Global Youth Initiative, shared with us what he has been teaching at the Southeast Christian Church (and for 35 years), that:

  • Jesus gave us an example of how to make disciples, the way he did it.
  • Jesus lived his life with an intention to create a movement of disciple making.

What are the NEXT STEPS?  

At this point, we are spreading our wings a little bit.  Dann has been amazing to work with on the last two Reset tours, but the response we have received and the direction we need to go is much bigger than Dann can give on his own.  We plan to continue sharing the 4 Chair seminar, but we need to move forward on implementing the ideas into life application. So, here are the next steps:

In 2017

Our plans are to have a tour that will share both the 4 Chair and the Metamorphosis material in the spring. We also want to repeat the same two workshops & pre-con sessions at ICOM in Peoria that are being given this year in Lexington.

2017 Metamorphosis Seminar Dates & Locations:

  • Wednesday, April 26th – Plainfield Christian Church, Indianapolis, IN – 8:30am – 4:30pm
  • Monday, May 1st – First Christian Church, Council Bluffs, IA – 8:30am – 4:30pm

2017 4 Chair Discipling Seminar Dates & Locations:

  • Tuesday, April 25th – Worthington Christian Church, Columbus, OH – 10:00am – 2:00pm
  • Wednesday, April 26th -Plainfield Christian Church, Indianapolis, IN – 10:00am – 2:00pm
  • Monday, May 1st – First Christian Church, Council Bluffs, IA – 10:00am – 2:00pm

Cost: $60

We have no sponsor to underwrite the expenses for this tour as we have had in the past. Price includes materials, lunch, & funds for group traveling.

Click the button to register for the 4 Chair Discipling and Metamorphosis Seminars!

Register For Reset 2


In 2018

Our plans are to hold our first event that will be for staff, elders and ministry leaders to come and learn about how other Christian Churches are implementing this new philosophy into the fabric of their churches.  This will begin in the spring of 2018. With this being our first time branching out into this kind of plan, we still have many ideas in the works! We will have more details to come on this later!