Rethinking Missions Topic of Baylor University Conference Sept. 16-17

Sept. 13, 2013

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Contact: Lori Fogleman, (254) 710-6275

WACO, Texas (Sept. 13, 2013) - Ministers, educators, social workers, students and business professionals will discuss how American Christians can most effectively and respectfully partner with Christians around the world to address complex issues of poverty, injustice, and oppression during the Rethink Missions conference Sept. 16-17 on the Baylor University campus.

The conference is free and open to the public but requires registration. Online registration is available at

Diana Garland, Ph.D., professor and dean of the Baylor School of Social Work, said as the University begins to think more strategically about global and church engagement, the Rethink Missions conference will use the academic resources of Baylor to give serious thought, research and direction to missions in the 21st Century.

"Our hope is to begin a dialogue that will help us move our thinking from short-term charity to transformational development," Garland said. "We want to challenge how we think about and do missions in an era of fast transportation, fast communication and ever more complex challenges to sharing the Gospel."

Sponsors for the event include Baylor School of Social Work, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Hankamer School of Business, Baylor Spiritual Life and Baylor Missions.

The conference will include four keynote speakers from around the world, as well as a panel discussion and breakout sessions with professors and lecturers from Baylor. Speakers for the conference are Jayakumar Christian, Steve Corbett, Cindy Wiles and Dennis Wiles.

Jayakumar Christian

Christian is the national director of World Vision India, a child-focused, community-based agency seeking fullness of life for all children. He leads a team of 1,800 community workers and staff reaching more than 5,300 communities through programs addressing issues such as infant mortality, hunger, education and child labor.

Steve Corbett

Corbett is the community development specialist and distance learning trainer for the Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College in Georgia, in addition to serving as an assistant professor in the department of economic and community development at Covenant. He is the co-author of When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself.

Cindy Wiles

Cindy Wiles currently serves as the director of the Kinexxus Network, a network of churches committed to the preparation and sending of their people into the world. Kinexxus assists local churches through online training resources, networking and sending services. Cindy Wiles has served in ministry and missions for 31 years, primarily by mobilizing North American congregations to engage in cross-cultural missions.

Dennis Wiles

Dennis Wiles has served as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Arlington, Texas, since 2001. Under his leadership, the church has increased its weekend attendance by 60 percent and has greatly expanded its ministry base. Dennis Wiles has helped to establish many new ministries, including a global missions effort that now includes both short-term mission efforts and career missionary appointments.

Breakout sessions will be held Tuesday and include the following workshops:
• "The Local Church and Mission"
• "Rethinking Short-Term Mission Trips"
• "Developing Future Leaders [Global Mission Leadership Program]"
• "Business as Mission: A Zambian Initiative"

A prime example of challenging the old way of thinking about missions is the Global Mission Leadership (GML) program through the Baylor School of Social Work. According to Garland, GML seeks to bring global leaders to Baylor to receive a master's degree in social work education. Graduates then return to their homeland as a catalyst for holistic community transformation through servant leadership, strategic thinking and a heart for advocacy.

The event is largely funded by the Barbara Chafin Endowed Lectureship in Family Ministries, the Lynn A. and Jacqueline S. Harmon Endowment for Missions Week and Paul J. Meyer Christian Leadership in Business.

See the full schedule at


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


The Baylor University School of Social Work is home to one of the leading graduate social work programs in the nation with a research agenda focused on the integration of faith and practice. Upholding its mission of preparing social workers in a Christian context for worldwide service and leadership, the School offers a baccalaureate degree (BSW), a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree and three joint-degree options (MSW/Master of Business Administration, MSW/Master of Divinity and MSW/Master of Theological Studies) through a partnership with Baylor's Hankamer School of Business and George W. Truett Theological Seminary. Visit to learn more.

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