Urbana 18 kicks off in St. Louis, Missouri

By December 27, 2018

USA (MNN) — Today kicks off Urbana 18, the 25th triennial Student Missions Conference. Running through December 31st, the five-day event connects college students with Bible exposition, messages and seminars, manuscript Bible studies, testimonies from the global church, and prayer ministry.

Mission Network News has a team on the ground, and so does Wycliffe USA. (Follow us on Instagram for live Urbana updates.)

For Wycliffe’s Jessica Seymore, the connection to this Urbana is a personal one. She used to work with Ruth Hubbard, Urbana’s new Vice President.

“She was one of Wycliffe USA’s former executive leaders, so seeing her take on this role at Urbana is going to be really exciting for me,” Seymore states.

The table is set…

Seymore is excited to connect with students at Wycliffe’s booth in Urbana’s Exhibit Hall. If you’re there, it’ll be easy to find her; just look for the handcrafted table.

“Our theme is ‘you have a place at the table,’” Seymore explains as she describes Wycliffe’s display. “It looks at what it means to be invited to God’s table, His Kingdom, and how we can invite others into it as well.

“Everybody has a seat at the table of God’s Kingdom. He has equipped them with unique passions, skills, and abilities, and we want to encourage all the students to ‘find their seat’ with us.”

Wycliffe USA helps people around the world translate God’s Word into their own language. They’ve been working in Bible translation for more than 70 years, and have celebrated New Testament translations in over 1,000 languages. Learn about Wycliffe here.

“There’s going to be a free downloadable devotional called ‘A Place At The Table’ that dives a little deeper into the symbolic elements of our table and their biblical meaning,” Seymore adds.

…the guests are invited…

When describing the type of student Wycliffe wants to connect with at Urbana, Seymore says “anybody that is passionate about God’s Word that has been impacted by the Scripture, and that wants to see His Word go throughout the nations.”

(Photo credit Pixabay)

According to UrbanDictionary.com, people born between 1995 and 2009 comprise “Generation Z,” which means their “coming of age” occurs anywhere between 2013 and 2027. Urban Dictionary says they are the first “truly global” generation because “their characteristics and trend is more uniform across the globe as they become the most open minded generation to date.”

As noted earlier this year by Barna Research, personal achievement seems to be of greater importance than faith to this generation. Engaging Gen Z in the Great Commission might be a challenge, but it’s one Wycliffe is tackling with enthusiasm.

“One of the things that has been said about this next generation, Gen Z, is that they are researchers. They’re independent, they figure things out on their own,” explains Seymore.

“So…we’re [trying] to figure out, how do we reach that [demographic]? If they’re looking to do things on their own, how do we invite them to be part of a community and still explore in that independence?”

What can I do to help?

If you’re participating in Urbana, drop by Wycliffe’s booth and say hello. If you’re not attending but you know someone who is, encourage them to connect with Seymore and the Wycliffe USA team.

The most important way to help – whether you’re attending Urbana or not – is to pray. Use the prompts listed in the sidebar to begin your conversation with our Lord.

“I really appreciate that,” Seymore says. “There definitely are a lot of logistics. There [are] lots of details and plans that our team has worked almost an entire year on.”



Header image of Urbana 15 courtesy InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

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