Many Hands Make Beautiful Feet
Last November, Concordia University hosted the Beautiful Feet 2016 conference here on the Portland campus. This annual student-led mission conference, whose location rotates among Concordia campuses nationwide, brings together Lutheran students from across the country. Though this was the first conference that Concordia-Portland has hosted in a decade, the feedback from participants was so positive that it likely won’t be another ten years before the conference returns to the City of Roses.
Cultivating ambassadors for Jesus
Scheduled throughout this three-day event were multiple speakers, breakout sessions, prayer and praise, exhibits, and service mission opportunities – all of which put the work of the church and the mission of Concordia at the forefront. The theme of the conference – “Beautiful Feet, Messy Hands” – acknowledged the truth that mission and ministry can be messy; in the service of others, one has to deal with the realities of life. This is the way of Christ, who came into our messy lives to serve and save us.
Planned for months by Concordia University-Portland‘s CLM students, Beautiful Feet 2016 explored God’s mission plan for the world. The idea behind the Beautiful Feet conferences is to bring mission work alive on a daily basis, giving students a sense of how, when, and where – locally and globally – they can get involved. This year’s conference focused on service opportunities in the city, including work with the homeless, an ongoing issue here in Portland.
Exploring a new city – and new opportunities
In addition to the mission activities and learning, visiting students had a chance to explore the beautiful Northwest. They were given the choice of going rural – visiting the mountains, waterfalls, and trails surrounding the city – or urban. Those who headed into downtown Portland saw for themselves why “Keep Portland Weird” isn’t just a catchy bumper sticker. Some even tried a little voodoo (Voodoo Doughnuts, that is). There was also time for the students to relax and get to know each other, enjoy some local entertainment, and experience lunch from a Portland staple: food trucks.
United in a desire to serve Christ, students at the conference made new friends from across the country. They also met leaders from various ministries who were able to connect them with the mission opportunities – local, national, or international – that personally appealed to them. For several attendees, this was their first trip to this part of the country, and the Portland experience proved eye-opening in many ways.
Regardless of where they’re hosted, perhaps the most important element of the Beautiful Feet conferences – and the reason they continue year after year – is that they always focus on ways to bring the love of Jesus in words and actions to real people. Beautiful Feet conferences illuminate and celebrate the idea that together with Jesus, Concordia students do make a difference in God’s kingdom.