i'm really trying to listen to God and His will for me. i have never considered missions. not even for a second. i just believe that i can work with those around me. just a week ago, my friend asked me if i wanted to go to urbana...what i want to know is, what exactly i would do as a missionary, and how i would gain spiritually from urbana. i'm hesitant to go just because everyone else in my christian fellowship is going. thanks for your time.
Thanks for your questions. They may be slightly irrelevant now since as of today all applications for registration are wait listed. We have now received over 18,000 registrants. Things are filling up quickly. They started a waitlist yesterday, and will continue to accept a few more delegates.
I commend you for wanting to listen to God. This is always the heart of the matter, plus a willingness to obey Him when He does speak to you.
Now let’s define some terms: “missionary”. We can use this word in at least two ways.
One, an individual who feels called of God to cross boundaries from church to non-church, and possibly from one’s own ethnic (and/or geographical) context to another to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Another, is a person who has a sense of “mission” - that is, called by God to serve Him wherever and however He may choose.
Therefore, since you have taken seriously working “with those around me”, we could say that you have a “mission” and are in the second sense noted above, a “missionary”. However, one purpose of the Urbana Missionary Convention is to expose to every generation of university students in the U.S. the reality of the world and how God looks at the world. For example, you would be exposed to the reality of literally billions of people who have never heard the Gospel. You would also see evidence of the incredible needs of those in the Third World whom the Lord loves and for whom He has compassion. The Lord will be saying to many as He did to Isaiah long ago: “Whom shall I send, and who swill go for us?” Many, we trust, will also respond: “Here am I, send me.” As a result, most probably, many of the delegates will find the Lord calling them to be “missionaries”, according to the first definition I noted above.
What do missionaries do? Well Gina, they do all kinds of things, according to their gifting, interests, experience, and call. At Urbana you would have the opportunity to visit over 300 exhibits of agencies who have work all over the world and are looking for an amazing variety of people to do an almost unlimited array of things!
I think you will find Urbana to be spiritually challenging, as you do the individual Bible Studies in your quiet time, share with your small group, and listen to challenging speakers who will expound the Scripture and share from their personal experiences. Then there is the unique experience of living these days with friends, reviewing with them what the Lord is saying to each of you, and trusting the Lord to help you put all these impressions and ideas into practice when you return. For many it has been life changing. It expanded my vision when I was a college student.
May the Lord guide you. However, if you want to go, you better attempt to register immediately - and pray that the Lord will save you a spot!
In His Fellowship,