John Wesley’s aim was to revitalize dead religion.

That’s also the driving passion of the New Room Conference, a gathering of over 2,300 Christian leaders from various Wesleyan denominations in Nashville, TN.

Nineteen ministry majors and two faculty sponsors from OKWU drove twelve hours to participate to the conference, with the goal of “Sowing for a Great Awakening.” The event was organized by Seedbed—a ministry out of Asbury Theological Seminary committed to working for revival and revitalization.

The New Room conference featured music led by Chris Tomlin and messages by Christian leaders from diverse backgrounds. While many gatherings offer fantastic sermons by well-known communicators, a unique facet of New Room is a focus on prayer, and a renewed belief in the power of the Holy Spirit to transform churches and communities to bring hope and holiness.

This year also featured a Collegiate Track, giving Wesleyan students funding and free lodging to attend the conference, connect with peers, and learn from leaders from around the world.

On Thursday evening, OKWU students and professors joined a group from Southern Wesleyan University and leaders from The Wesleyan Church’s headquarters for a shared meal, as well as a chance to be encouraged for shared mission together.

“I haven’t known … so much peace in a long time,” said Abby Powell, a BS in Pastoral Ministry with an emphasis in Worship Arts at OKWU. “God loves me and He wants me to do something with that love through ministry. What an amazing few days it’s been.”

Graduating senior Jabin Umfleet expressed similar words of gratitude. “When you’re up till 2 AM talking with your buddies about all that you’ve seen, you know it’s been a good conference,” he said.

A featured resource at the conference was a book by OKWU’s own Dr. Josh McNall: Long Story Short: The Bible in Six Simple Movements. The work was published by Seedbed, and was promoted to hundreds of churches and small groups as an invitation for regular people to encounter big story of Scripture and be drawn in to the Bible’s beauty and mission.

“On top of the music and speakers,” McNall said, “the real value of the trip was a chance to grow closer to students we’ve taught for four years, and to launch them out into ministry with a blessing.”