We are grateful for this article from veteran Graduate and Faculty staffer and Urbana 2022 emcee Anna Lee-Winans. The video at the end of this article summarizes what she writes here and is great to share with friends in your community.
Urbana 22 is InterVarsity’s tri-annual missions conference from December 28-31 in Indianapolis, Indiana. “But I am an emerging scholar,” you say, “what does a Missions Conference have to do with my life?”
Ephesians 2:10 says, “We are God’s masterpiece, created in Christ to do good work, which God has prepared in advance for us to do.” As you wonder about your vocational calling and what that has to do with God’s mission in the world, here are four reasons God might be calling you to Urbana 22:
- Urbana 22 grants you access to the voice of the global church and the church at the margins of society. What a rare and precious opportunity to experience God through the lived experiences of women and men who love and follow Jesus joyfully in some of the most challenging and dark situations. They are powerful teachers.
- Our Native American InterVarsity staff disciple us on how to “come in a good way” into God’s mission: how to discern the invitation of God and people, respond to God with trust versus suspicion or hubris, and how to enter humbly into a new culture. These are life skills we rehearse our entire lives and that are transferable into whatever work or academic appointment God will call you during your lifetime.
- Urbana will help you discern what in the world God is doing and your one next step to join God. This year’s Urbana features practical programmatic elements to help you do just that:
- Urbana 22 Pathways on our website offer thematic and vocationally-oriented filters to curate through the 154 seminars so that you can prayerfully choose between 6 to 7. The filter will help direct you to which “neighborhood” in the Connections Hall you should consider visiting to network among hundreds of organizations, educational institutions, NGOs, etc. about potential jobs, internships, and needs they see in the good work that they do.
- Next Steps Coaching: you can register for a 20 minute session with a trained career coach who will listen with you on what you may be hearing from God and guide you to next actions, conversations, and prayers.
- Community Processing Spaces are focused spaces for groups to connect in familiar, safe, and relational contexts to process the remarkable, profound, and provocative voice of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures and prayer, as well as from the testimonies and worship of the global church and church at the margins.
- For the rest of your life, you will be connected with people whom God loves, but who may not know or love God. Learn how to listen to God’s love for them, gather them into a small group community and open scripture to them and yourself through our World Changers Cohort – an asynchronous online course that will prepare you to lead 3 Bible studies from the Book of Acts at Urbana 22 as a rehearsal for skills that you will use wherever God takes you next. Also, pro-tip: participating in this cohort will not only grow your leadership but grant you the largest discount to Urbana 22.
Urbana is a galvanizing experience that you will not regret participating in. You can find out more information and register here. I have yet to meet any student or faculty who has not received a gift from God at Urbana, and I’ve been going since Urbana 96. Do not let money be an issue that keeps you from attendance – ask your local InterVarsity campus minister and local church for their help. There are discounts for IV students, alumni, churches, etc. We hope to see you there!
Anna on video:
About the author:
Anna Lee-Winans serves as the Director of Strategic Initiatives for InterVarsity’s Graduate & Faculty Ministries (GFM) and as the Emcee for Urbana 22. She has served in a variety of roles in her 20 years with InterVarsity and deeply enjoys the ones where she got to minister to students and faculty, develop leaders, and work on solving systemic problems. Anna graduated from NYU'97 and '01 with a BA in Journalism and Masters in Social Work respectively. She lives in NYC with her husband and two brilliant daughters.