The conference officially began with the evening plenary, which focused on origin. Albert and Christine Hung, the Northern California District superintendent and director of pastoral development, respectively, spoke on evangelism and what it means to embody the gospel rather than just talk about it.
They argued this was possible when evangelism begins by first sharing the origin story of humanity found in Genesis 2 rather than its fallen nature found in Genesis 3.
“Yes, we are sinners, but God formed us in His image first,” Christine said.
They took turns speaking on what it looks like to share the gospel through this perspective.
“It is not enough to know the gospel or preach the gospel if we don’t embody the gospel,” Albert said.
Albert went on to explain some of the statistics gathered from a survey where non-Christians were asked about their first impression of Christians. None of the top five responses were positive or related to love.
“The first word that people should think of when they hear the word Christian is love,” Albert said.
The Hungs ended their time by calling conference participants out of their comfort zones to meet non-Christians where they are instead of waiting for them to come to church first.
This plenary session was full of worship and prayer, with representatives from across USA/Canada leading participants in individual and group prayers, as well as worship through song.