Preparing for Urbana


Every three years, just after Christmas, over 20,000 college students gather for Urbana – InterVarsity’s student missions conference. Missionaries, missions agencies, and Christian leaders from around the world share their vision for bringing the Gospel to the world world. Every year, students commit their lives to Christ for the first time, renew their commitments to God, and hear God’s call to join the mission field.

This year, at Urbana 09, the Emerging Scholars Network will be calling students to a different kind of mission field: the university.

Urbana offers dozens of different seminars tailoring to students’ interests and passions. These are grouped together as “majors” to help students find the topics that fit their concerns. For the first time, one of the seminar majors will be In the Workplace & In the Academy, featuring seminars about following God’s call in, well, the workplace and the academy. Christian professors and professionals will be sharing their own experiences of living out the gospel in their daily lives. Speakers will also help students understand that the Bible speaks to the whole of their life, and that Jesus claims ownership over every realm.

I’ll be leading a seminar called “Serving Christ as a Professor: 10 Things You Need to Know.” I offered this seminar in 2006, and about 300 students came to listen. Many of these became new members of the Emerging Scholars Network. Because these are undergraduates, my talk leads them through the very basics – like how to know what God wants you to do with your life – and the practical steps of applying to graduate school, finishing a PhD, and finding a job as a professor.

Please pray for my preparations in the next few months, and pray especially for the students thinking about coming to Urbana. Pray for God to provide the funds and freedom to attend this important conference. Pray, too, that they will come to the conference with an open heart and a readiness to follow God’s call wherever it leads them.

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