United States (MNN) — InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is in the business of mobilizing students for God’s mission. One way InterVarsity is doing this is through its triennial student missions conference, Urbana 18, held in St. Louis, Missouri. The conference will take place from December 27-31.
But what does it mean to mobilize students? InterVarsity’s Director of the Urbana Student Missions Conference Ruth Hubbard says she believes God is on a mission to restore His creation and that every generation is invited to be a part of the process.
“Sometimes I think we work so hard to extend that invitation in a way that meets the generation where they are, that we forget to call them in a prophetic and discipling way to what God is asking them to do,” Hubbard says.
Mobilizing Students at Urbana 18
Urbana lives into both places. The student missions conference leans into how God has uniquely made both the last of the Millennials and the first of Generation Z. God has created these students with specific passions and views which fit His calling for them. However, these things need to be nurtured by a firm framework of the Scriptures. Urbana 18 will challenge students in this.
“Every generation has been pushed beyond its comfort zone. I don’t believe God’s calling any of us to comfortable. But, He is calling us to a place of perfect peace in Him, often in the midst of some kind of chaos,” Hubbard shares.
Students will hear from speakers who show what it looks like to live a life buried in Christ. One example of this is Danielle Strickland. Strickland has worked in challenging areas across the globe. She has spent 22 years as an Officer with The Salvation Army, is an Ambassador with Compassion International, and has worked to bring the Gospel to the world of sex trafficking. Hubbard believes Strickland’s life reflects one of worship before God and will undoubtedly impact students.
Other speakers are expected to bring examples of a life of obedience, saying ‘yes’ to God, and how to live confidently as a Christ follower to Urbana stage.
“One of the ways we have to help a generation is to help them grow in the confidence that God is who He says He is, that He has created them, and He loves them. But, it’s not easy. It’s not going to be comfortable, and they’re going to be okay. Not because they’re great, but because God is good. So, I think that’s part of the message…can we show you who Jesus is again and trust in that,” Hubbard says.
Students will have the opportunity to attend seminars where they can dig deeper into specific areas. There will also be an exhibit hall filled with seminaries, Bible schools, and various types of organizations living out missions. It will be an opportunity for students to explore and ask difficult questions of recruiters and missionaries.
Challenges to Mobilization
Still, there are challenges to mobilizing today’s young people. Hubbard says one of these challenges is the temptation for older generations to look at the younger generations’ ‘deficiencies’. However, Hubbard urges people not to put their trust in the 20-something-year-olds, but to trust the Holy Spirit which is in these young people.
“No generation in its 20s has it all together yet. None of us did. No generation in its 30s has it all together yet. We can’t wait until people have it all together before we begin to give them [the] opportunity to be a part of what God is doing. God’s grace is great enough,” Hubbard says.
“But, we also have to look at who is this generation and what are the things that we can come up around the edges and shore up. Where does deep discipleship have to happen.”
It starts by identifying the unique gifting, talents, and skills these generations have and encouraging them to trust God. Urbana is a catalyst to just that. For Hubbard, it is clear the Holy Spirit is moving behind the scenes of Urbana 18. Where God is moving, there needs to be prayerful intercession. Will you pray?
Be Prayerful, Be Active
Start by praying for these younger generations and God’s work at Urbana. Pray for everyone at Urbana to be a faithful witness, to submit themselves before Jesus, and for their lives to reflect obedience. Pray for the Urbana team, the exhibitors, and the speakers. Ask God for Urbana to model a community growing in love and for students to see this and praise God for it.
To get more details about Urbana or to register, click here!