USA (MNN) — More than 16,000 people are in Saint Louis, Missouri, for the largest student missions event in North America: Urbana 09 with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. For the second time, it's being held at the Edward Jones Dome and the America's Center through December 31. The theme for this year's convention is "Go Into the World."
The convention got started last night with praise and worship, a message by leaders, and the Word of God brought by Ramez Atallah General Secretary, Bible Society of Egypt, Cairo, Egypt who began Urbana speaking from John chapter 1.
College students want to change the world, today more than ever. The study-abroad statistics from the Institute of International Education indicate a growing desire for a global perspective. More than 262,000 Americans studied abroad in 2007-2008–an increase of 8.5-percent from the previous year and four times the number of two decades ago.
Changing the world is what Urbana 09 is all about.
President of InterVarsity, Alex Hill, says this year's Urbana won't be any different. "Each Urbana is significant. And we've always trusted God's Spirit to guide Urbana conferences so that many students will hear the call to missions, both here in the United States and in countries abroad. But this year we envision God using this conference to call students not only to God's mission, but to lives with missional intention."
Hill adds, "Our participation in God's mission requires us to pay attention to people–to their needs, both physical and spiritual. At Urbana, we hope to deepen our awareness of what it means to intentionally participate in God's mission, whether that's overcoming one's fear of rejection when reaching out to someone in a dorm room, or intentionally majoring in an academic discipline that prepares one for servant-leadership in the marketplace."
Each day will feature Bible study, morning and evening plenary sessions, afternoon tracks and seminars, and will conclude New Year's Eve with a massive communion service.
Mission Network News will have regular updates on Mission Network News.org. Just follow the links to special audio, video and photos of the event.