Reaching Refugees

Seeking opportunities to welcome newcomers is a godly trait, and hospitality is a spiritual gift. Refugees have a story of incredible perseverance and resilience 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. With potentially 85,000 people with refugee status arriving in 2016, what is the Lord’s expectation of His Church regarding this opportunity? Learn more at


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!


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.


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!



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

Who would play you in a movie? Mark Ruffalo
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 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 National Missionary Convention (NMC) in 1998. As Windows grew, David became the first full time student director for the National Missionary Convention, operating from central Indiana while the home office of the NMC was in Copeland, KS. In 2004, David was named the successor upon the retirement of Walter Birney. That change took place in 2008. David and Sherree have two daughters, Emily Drayne (who also works at ICOM) and Jenny Beth Empson.


Keith - ICOM_2015_Color-1319
Keith Wood – Associate Director


Keith Wood has been married to his college sweetheart, Nicole, since 1991. They have three children: Corbin (20), Brency (9), and Evan (8). He graduated from Mid-Atlantic Christian University (MACU) in 1993, and served 12 years in located ministries (youth and preaching).  He has served as Director of Development with IDES and VP for Institutional Advancement at MACU.






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.


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!


Kelsey - ICOM_2015_Color-1329
Kelsey Davis – Administrative Assistant

Kelsey Davis was recently married (September of 2014) to her high school sweetheart Tylor Davis. She joined the ICOM staff that same month as an administrative assistant. She currently resides in Clayton, IN and has attended Hazelwood Christian Church her entire life, where she is also involved in Kidz Town. Kelsey is 22 years old and attended IUPUI for Event Planning. One of her life-long passions has been cheerleading, and she has had the privilege of coaching all-star cheerleading for many years now. She also enjoys spending my Tuesday nights feeding the homeless in downtown Indianapolis. In her spare time, Kelsey loves to hang out with her husband, friends and family. She loves to go shopping and ride four wheelers.



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.


Vicki Hacker – Administrative Assistant


ICOM Corporate Officers


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