Twelve grueling hours in the car. Five different states. Gallons of rain. BUT WE MADE IT. We’re here, at Urbana 15. I’m excited, tired, and nervous all at once. Everything is still insanely hectic – from trying to figure out where to park,to navigating through downtown to find the Dome, to learning that my shoes aren’t waterproof. One of the toughest things so far has been struggling through the hotel’s hopelessly overpowered WiFi system. I wanted to write my first on-site Urbana post last night after the first session, but apparently our hotel was built before 27 floors of college students trying to check their facebook feeds was a thing. I’m in Hack4Missions, I kept telling myself. I can figure this out. Sadly, I kept encountering failed connection screens like the one below. I might be a nerd, but I have no idea what this means:
So right now I’m sitting in the lobby of the America’s Center, mooching off the free internet, and hoping this uploads before the first morning session starts. I’m telling myself something that I heard from God last night during the opening session, hoping that I don’t forget it once the spotlights start dancing around.
I’m sure that there are hundreds, probably thousands, of people here at Urbana15 who are new to Christianity and haven’t spent much time around church. That’s not the case for me – nor is it, I’d wager, the case for the majority of people here. Many of us “cradle Christians” grew up spending our free time volunteering with the youth group or going on missions trips. For me, it’s the worship itself that’s familiar. My parents are worship leaders at my home church, so I’ve spent a lot of time on stage singing and playing instruments, and much more time off stage immersed in the worship planning and rehearsing world. Being able to lead people to worship has been a wonderful experience, but it’s also made my own worship a little difficult when I’m not on stage. At the opening session last night, I couldn’t help but notice the light rigs, the order of songs, the different instruments and how they worked together, the positioning of the singers across the stage. I couldn’t help thinking what I would do differently, or how I’d like to implement certain techniques and songs back home. I couldn’t stop deconstructing the entire experience because I was too familiar with it.
So for me, and for all the other serial volunteers out there in the Dome today, I think God has a message for us: take, and eat. You’ve spent much of your Christian life helping serve others and lead them on the walk with Christ, but right now just accept what’s being given to you. The table is already set. Just sit down and eat. Soak in the seminars and the bible studies. Pour your heart out to Jesus in song. This place is overflowing with people who are dedicating the week to serving Christ, and through that, serving you. I’m praying for the humility to accept their offering. If we all do the same, what comes out of this week could be pretty special.