Each of the 25 triennial Urbana Missions Conferences has been developed around a theme. My first Urbana? – Urbana ’84: Faithful in Christ Jesus. I was junior in mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois, where the convention at the time was being held. Thirty Four years later… here I am again!
Scripture has always been a core element of the Urbana experience. My first Urbana as a brand new IV staff member was all about the book of Jonah – “Should I not be Concerned?” This time we’re developing the theme Faithful Witness through the book of Revelation. Not a book you’d immediately turn to for missions themes, Revelation is proving itself rich and relevant. Jesus is THE FAITHFUL WITNESS followed by all who shrink-not in the face of persecution from a world of broken empires. Students considering mission today are fueled by the passion of overcomers who give their lives to the full in obedience to the Lamb of God.
Students have studied generous portions of the book of Revelation in their quiet times and small groups. Platform speakers have drawn out themes of sacrifice, the persecuted church, justice for a world bruised and broken by misguided empires. The evangelism task force I’ve gotten to be a part of developed a series of proxe station tools for engaging seekers and non-believers using the book of Revelation. The process is creative and artfully compelling. If you’re unfamiliar with a proxe station, think visual and conversational engagement between a Christian and a thoughtful seeker.
More to come on this event. As I’m writing this, we’re heading into the second half of the 4.5 day-long experience. I’ll get more images and stories out to you between my work-shifts! My job this time at Urbana is working the InterVarsity booth in the exhibitor’s hall.