Youth at conference urged to open their minds to a mission from God

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ST. LOUIS – An estimated 16,000 Christian youth attended opening night of Urbana 2012, a triennial student missions conference, at Edwards Jones Dome in St. Louis Thursday. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship organizers, who are hosting the event, hope that students will come to a decision about serving God locally or globally.

An estimated 16,000 Christian youth attended opening night of Urbana 2012, a student missions conference held at Edwards Jones Dome in St. Louis Thursday, Dec. 27. / InterVarsity USA / Micah Chiang

“Surrender your plans and allow God to surprise you. God’s invitation may be unexpected,” Tom Lin, who is the Urbana conference director and InterVarsity’s vice president, said from the stage. “You and I are called to share God’s Kingdom news not just for our campuses, not just for our cities, but also for the ends of the earth – the unfamiliar places, the unfamiliar cultures, and for unfamiliar friends.

“I encourage you to hear God’s voice this week. I encourage you to give yourself to areas of God’s mission that are unfamiliar to you,” Lin added.

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, a national ministry based in Madison, Wis., is keeping a rather low profile during the event, while hosting more than 250 exhibitors during the 5-day event. The fellowship has almost 900 chapters active at 576 U.S. colleges, from Ivy Leagues to community colleges. …

Statistics from the study, called “Hemorrhaging Faith,” show that only one in three young adults who attended church as a child still do so today. Out of those who are no longer in church, 50 percent no longer identify as Christian. However, young adults who had gone on a short-term mission or attended a Christian summer camp, were most likely still committed to their faith.

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