“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.” – Psalm 107:13-15
On July 5-8, 2200 college students gathered at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center for ICMC 2018, “Break Every Chain.” The Convention Center sits on the banks of the Ohio River facing Cincinnati. Across the river from the Convention Center is the Freedom Center, home of the Underground Railroad Museum. During the days of slavery, crossing over the river from Kentucky into Ohio meant freedom for the victims of slavery. Breaking their physical chains, they had hope for freedom.
Today many are still in chains and in desperate need of the true freedom that only Jesus Christ can bring. This was the heart of ICMC. The conference had a special focus of relying on God to accomplish this mission of bringing the message of freedom to this generation of college students. There were powerful messages and classes delivered by campus leaders to a truly international gathering of students.
Saturday night there was an inspiring time of praise through music with a heart-moving message by Stuart Mains. The students united for two hours of worship to our Almighty God. After the worship ended in the ballroom, spontaneous groups continued in prayer and singing throughout the night outside in the streets and in the hotels.
The Saturday morning session of ICMC was modeled after the times of prayer at the 2017 Chicago delegates meeting (ICOC 3.0 “Forward by Faith”) . At ICMC, three introductory messages were given about HOPE worldwide, global missions and leadership. Each session was then followed by 20 minutes of prayer, with the students gathered in small groups. Marty Wilkerson led the dynamic final charge for the future leadership of our movement. He shared the desperate need for a new generation of full-time ministers and he urged students to attend the optional session following the prayer time. After the prayer time, hundreds of students swarmed into the meeting room which had been reserved for this class, “Hear the Call.” By faith, we had set up 340 chairs for this session. Every chair was filled, with students sitting on the floor, against the wall, and spilling out into the hall. We had to pipe the audio into the hall and into two adjoining rooms to accommodate the over 500 students who attended! Someone asked why the response for full-time leadership was so overwhelming compared to previous ICMCs. The only possible answer was that the Spirit of God moved in the hearts through the time of prayer.
Sunday morning the Cincinnati, Dayton, and Lexington, KY churches joined with the conference participants. Over 2800 heard Michael DeAquino, the ICMC director and campus evangelist in Cincinnati, inspire us all with a message on our final goal, heaven. One of the Convention Center staff summed up the impact of the conference: “After seeing all of these young people and how they are, I now have hope for the future.”
Thanks be to God
We are so grateful for all the disciples from the Cincinnati, Dayton and Lexington churches and others, who took time off of work to volunteer and serve at the conference. We are grateful for the I COC Campus Service Team , all the speakers and teachers and the worship team members who gave of themselves to make this such an awesome conference. (Click here for all conference audio and video.)
Most of all we are grateful for how God’s Spirit moved throughout the entire time. Our prayer had been that this would be a watershed moment for our movement and our campus ministries. God more than answered that prayer. The phrase “watershed moment” was repeated throughout the conference. Hearts were moved, lives were changed, the Cincinnati Church and area was impacted and a whole new generation of leaders and future leaders were inspired to change the world and break the chains of those in need and bring them the message of freedom in Christ. To God be the glory!