I have been invited to lead a seminar at the Urbana Student Missions Conference, which convenes December 27-31 in St. Louis. With 16,000 attenders, Urbana is the largest student missions conference in the world. Held every three years, it brings together a diverse mix of college and graduate students, faculty, recent graduates, pastors, church and ministry leaders, and exhibitors. Urbana is hosted by Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and its international affiliates to challenge young people to surrender their entire lives to follow Jesus in everything, no matter the cost. At the last Urbana Conference in 2012, 10,000 students pledged themselves to global missions in one form or another. Learn more at urbana.org.
The working title for the seminar is “Mormonism: Cult or Culture? Contextualized Outreach to Latter-day Saints.” My aim is to explain why it is important to understand Mormonism as a complete cultural identity vs. merely a belief system, and to encourage attenders to think about how to share the good news of God’s grace in ways that make sense in light of Mormon culture and that sounds like good news to Mormons.
The ultimate objective of going to Urbana is to recruit interns to serve in Utah. I have applied for a booth in the exhibition hall to maximize my presence and influence there. Students at Urbana are looking for a next step in service. So I’ve been setting up an internship system to channel that energy and commitment to help the churches and ministries of Utah. I’ll explain more about internships in a future post, or you can check it out at utahadvance.org/internships.