Urbana 12 brings art to missions

By November 23, 2012

USA (MNN) — French writer Emile Zola once said, “The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without the work.”

For Christian artists, knowing the passion God has gifted you with isn’t always the hard part. The insatiable need to sing or dance, perform or create is clear. But knowing how to direct your gift and working to have a Kingdom impact can be difficult.

Urbana 12, a triennial missions conference sponsored by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, is coming alongside young artists to enhance their program this year. The conference will be in St. Louis, Missouri from November 27-31 with the focus on enabling young people to spread the Gospel wherever they are called.

For artists at the conference, Urbana 12 will be offering an Arts Lounge for young people to process their Urbana experience artistically.

“It’s just inspiring to walk in and see the different ways that God is speaking to artists,” says Nikki Toyama-Szeto, Program Director for Urbana 12. “Artists can sometimes express and process things that [don’t] come through a lecture or a sermon…but can be equally profound.”

Several art forms are welcome to the Arts Lounge like dancing, visual arts, writing, theater, music, and many other media.

The Arts Lounge will also have onsite artists interpreting young people’s artistic expression and experience.
Toyama-Szeto says the onsite artists are helpful as they’ll be able “to kind of go, ‘Oh yes, that is what God said to us as a group.’”

Giving young people the ability to join the Lord’s Great Commission through the arts is just one of the ways Urbana is trying to bring a more hands-on conference experience to today’s college generation.

Other experiential additions at the Urbana 12 include a hands-on Manuscript Bible Study kicking off each day, The Launch Lab where students can go to a consultant with a ministry idea and get coaching, and an Exhibit Hall where students can interact with over 260 mission groups and seminaries.

“That time between Christmas and New Years is a valuable time to set aside and say, ‘Lord, before this next year starts, let me think about what You’ve been doing this last year,’” Toyama-Szeto states. “To me, it feels like the best way to start the year is being commissioned out to be His light and salt in the world.”

The time to register is now. Click here to claim a spot at Urbana 12.

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