December 3, 2012 | 12:55 p.m.
By Nicole Finsaas, '14
The Bethel Board of Trustees is sponsoring a 55-passenger bus to transport students to Urbana 12, an Intervarsity student missions conference held December 27-31 in St. Louis. The five-day conference will draw approximately 18,000 people from around the world. Students can participate in Bible studies and prayer sessions, and choose from 140 different seminars to attend.
Bethel Associate Campus Pastor Matt Runion says the free transportation is a great relief for students. “It literally paves the way for them to commit to attending the conference,” he says. “Once there, God will use Urbana to capture their hearts for His global mission.” Bethel’s Board of Trustees has supported student transportation to Urbana for years. An anonymous Bethel donor couple also supports the effort; this year their scholarships were able to minimize the cost of Urbana for ten students. More than 1,000 Bethel students have participated in Urbana over the years, and more than 40 students are already registered for this year’s event.
Urbana is the largest student missions conference in the country. Students are taught about God’s love for the world and encouraged to live out God’s global mission. According to Urbana’s website, “Participants are challenged by missions leaders, are able to speak with hundreds of missions organizations, get to attend an amazing selection of seminars and tracks, and study the Bible inductively with other students listening for God’s call on their lives.”
According to Runion, Urbana furthers Bethel’s core values, specifically to be Christ-followers and reconcilers. “Urbana has provided an incredible opportunity for Bethel students to seek God’s will for their lives and worship with fellow students of diverse cultures,” he says.