(Start by watching this powerful Urbana ’18 Summary Video... https://urbana.org/video/summary-ii-our-faithful-witness )
I bet my mother never imagined as she was sitting at Urbana ’70, that almost 50 years later her daughter would be on that very platform, preaching to thousands of college students!!
Our stories of faithfulness never just begin with us – they rewind to the witnesses who came before – those who faithfully answered God’s call of “Whom shall I send and who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6).
Ruth Hubbard opened Urbana (https://urbana.org/video/ruth-hubbard-directors-welcome ) with the chilling question that lingers unspoken in many of this generations’ heart – in light of the ‘offensive’ nature of conversion in our culture today, in light of the atrocities committed by well-meaning missions in the past, in light of all the resistance and challenges, should we still be having a mission’s conference? Her charge, “… we MUST” set a bold call that thousands of attendees resonated with, and by week’s end they emphatically cried, “Here I am, Send me!”
Fifteen years ago my heart cried out “Send me” as I sat in the audience of Urbana 2003. I wanted to adventure overseas, but I realized that my surrender to God included letting go of that dream. I, somewhat reluctantly, embraced the mission context of my hometown in Fresno and then quickly found meaning in the never-dull journey of everyday faithfulness. In God’s great delight, I JOYFULLY received the privilege of preaching Revelation 7 and giving a call to faith on the 3rd day of Urbana.
That call was purposely framed in a collective manner – God has called people to join God’s mission of redemption – it has not faltered through the pages of history, it has reached every corner of the globe, it includes women and men, young and old. Josh coordinated the New Believer’s Room in the Dome, and helped to receive the hundreds of students who stood in response to that call. He shares:
As I walked into the dome to be with my team… a young IV staff who was assigned to be a proctor (take care of tech needs) for the Ferrara theater came up beside me. He said, “I just couldn’t wait down in the theater, man ~ I’ve got to see this.” Tears welled up in his eyes and my eyes as we watched hundreds wave their flags for Jesus and descend to the floor. I had the privilege of leading the group out of Entry A to the theater. “Penny” was the first one there who walked with me. She was a young woman from China who had made a decision for Christ that day. As we walked, people cheered us on and I saw dozens, then hundreds behind me, waving flags, surrendering their lives for Christ.
Young Millennials and Gen Z are counting the cost to announce and demonstrate their faith in God by following Jesus out of Babylon and into the Kingdom arenas of marketplace, technology, medicine, education- out to global cities, into local neighborhoods…. Vibrantly ready to share the compelling transformation of Jesus and the Gospel message! They will be the witnesses who lead the way for yet another generation to walk faithful.