USA (MNN) — More than 22,000 students, pastors and missions leaders are gathered this week at InterVarsity’s Urbana 2006 student missions convention. Urbana leadership claimed that there is a new trend showing up in this generation of students. Today’s student’s naturally live out both the word and the deed of the Gospel, instead of the compartmentalization seen in former generations.
Mission Network News staff didn’t quite believe that claim, and so we went to hear what students were saying for themselves. This is what we found:
Marla from Calvary Chapel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, says, “It seems like this generation has a lot more, like we want to give more, it seems like we have a different perspective now on life and service. I think there’s a bigger heart in the youth today, it seems like our minds are more open to helping other people.”
From Church of the King in Santa Cruz, California, Abigail says, “Also being mission-minded, just wherever you are, people seeing God through you, what you’re doing in your work, and not just in preaching the Gospel, you don’t have to be “preaching” the Gospel to be a witness to people, just like the way you live your life.”
Also from Calvary Chapel in Fort Lauderdale, Brittany commented, “There’s some radical students, radical youth, radical people in this generation that just want to go out and are willing to drop their agendas, and just let the Lord give them a complete surrendered schedule of just what the Lord wants us to do, because it’s just like we give up our wills, and we’re like ‘Lord, take us.’ And that’s more adventurous than our own lives, and it’s so exciting and I couldn’t imagine living any other way.”
Attendees have come from far and wide, for many different reasons. Under the Urbana 2006 theme of “You have a Calling” and looking in depth at Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, students are being encouraged to recognize God’s call on their lives. Students gave a variety of reasons for coming and hopes for what God would do during the conference.
Sara (Calvary Chapel, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) “I’m here because I love missions, and I know the Lord has called me to missions sometime in my life; so I don’t know where, but hopefully, Urbana will help me with that.”
David (Church of the King, Santa Cruz, Calif.) “I really think this is a stepping stone for me, where I can learn more and gain more knowledge in it.”
Nicole (Church of the King, Santa Cruz, Calif.) “I don’t know if I want to go to the mission field, but more like being missions-minded, wherever you are is what I want to do.”
Mike (Youth Pastor at Calvary Chapel, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) “I’m also excited to see God’s body at work. Urbana to me is like the Christian ant hill. You know there’s lots of stuff going on, but you don’t quite know what everybody’s doing in their own specific corner of the ant hill, and this is the one time you get to kind of take a cross section and go ‘Oh wow! You’re doing that? That’s a great idea. That’s awesome!’ It’s the missions extravaganza. And it’s just going to be one of those fun things where if your heart’s bent toward that, you can’t help but be moved to excitement for what God’s doing across the world and across the globe. So that’s the heart behind why I’m here.”
Stephanie (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) “I’m basically here to discover what I can do to become part of God’s global story.”
Brian (Northwestern College, Minneapolis, Minn.) “I’m psyched for Urbana…yes!”
Pray for God to move mightily through Urbana 06, to raise up a host of missions-minded students.