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Published on 09 November, 2012

What is Urbana 12?

USA (MNN) — Urbana 12 is right around the corner. It's a triennial student missions conference sponsored by Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. Each year has a unique focus on the current college generation.

"Today's college generation loves the world," says Urbana 12 program director Nikki Toyama-Szeto. "They are service-oriented and volunteer-oriented.

"There's something that God planted within this generation's heart that's actually very much His heart, and that's a love for the world and a love for all the peoples of the world."

Toyama-Szeto notes the tendency of today's college students to advocate a cause, as well as their involvement through contributions of time and money. She says Urbana 12 calls students to bring their passion to another level.

"How do they really wrestle with God about…the call that He has on their lives," says Toyama-Szeto, "and how do they reorient their life to be both proclaimers and demonstrators of the Good News that Jesus brings?"

This year Urbana will be creating activities that accommodate an experientially-oriented generation.

"We really want people not to just sit and listen. We believe that this generation has a lot to give, and so we're trying to create spaces for them to participate," Toyama-Szeto explains. The spaces she's referring to include an Arts Lounge and something called a Launch Lab.

"This is an idea incubator for people who feel that they might have something to contribute, or an idea that they've been thinking of in terms of a creative way of sharing the Gospel," said Toyama-Szeto.

Urbana 12 is held in St. Louis, Missouri from December 27 through the 31. Why is the conference held during Christmas Break?

"That time between Christmas and the New Year is a valuable time. But it's also an amazing time to set aside and say, 'Lord, before this next year starts, let me think about what You’ve been doing this last year or this last season'," says Toyama-Szeto.

"We end Urbana with an amazing New Year's Eve celebration. To me, it seems like the best way to start the year, being commissioned to be His light and salt in the world."

If you want to go, you need to register soon. Registration is going up on November 12, 2012. Click here to secure your seat at Urbana 12.


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