We are now mere days away from Urbana, and I'm more excited than ever. For many of us, as we move past the final hurdles of exams and whatever is left from the semester, the reality that we're going to a weeklong conference is beginning to set in. For the purposes of this post, I want to move away from the style of my usual writings and suggest a few practical things to keep in mind during the conference.
1) Paper and Pen.
Write down the things that you learn.
Be it in large group sessions, your track, or additional seminars, trust me when I say that these are things you want to take back home with you once the conference is over. With an entire week jam packed with information, reflection, and prayerful convictions, it takes time to mull these things over and allow them to have a significant impact on your life. Do not let your attendance of this conference be for a spiritual high, but a spiritual transformation of your life for God's missional purpose.
Something else you may want to do with your notes is to prepare them in such a way that you can share them with others. Other attendees from your fellowship may be attending very different tracks and seminars, but much of this information is relevant to everybody. So think: How can you bring this information home in such a way that others may be blessed by it as well?
2) Take Time for Yourself.
It's easy to hang out with your friends throughout the duration of the entire conference. In fact, I'd encourage you to share any questions or thoughts you have with your roommates at the end of the day. Yet I'd also challenge you to take time for yourself throughout the conference. Take some seminars by yourself. Leave some space for yourself to go to the prayer room. Take the opportunity to talk to fellow attendees (we're all brothers and sisters, after all) and see what happens.
Use Urbana as a space for yourself where you can listen to God and what specific calling He is putting on your heart.
3) Maintain Perspective.
At the end of the day, I'm most excited for this conference because for many, it may be the very first time where a personal Christian faith intersects with a very real Kingdom calling. In many of my previous writings, I made a point to emphasize God's call to pray and witness to others. The Gospel is a living, breathing word not meant to be kept within the four walls of the church.
God is inviting us to listen to His heart for the nations. Maintain that kind of perspective during your time at Urbana. A missional faith is not reserved for the elite and anointed few. Our Christianity must be synonymous with missions. Our faithfulness must be intertwined with a witnessing lifestyle. What happens when you and I, along with eighteen thousand brothers and sisters, rise up to the call of bringing this Gospel message to the ends of the earth?
The student bloggers here at Urbana.org will be working to blog daily in response to God's working throughout the Urbana conference. I'm looking forward to this jam packed week and what God is going to do. Merry Christmas, safe travels, and see you all soon!