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The Blog of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
November 13, 2012
David Platt to Speak at Urbana 12
David Platt wants you to follow Jesus and lead others to do the same.
As the pastor of the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama, and the author of Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, David calls people to Christ, the Bible, and the process of making disciples. Jesus’ call to his Church is not easy and it demands everything.
This December, David will address nearly 20,000 participants at Urbana 12, the largest student missions gathering in the world. With three advanced degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, David will bring a message that is as theologically grounded as it is practically challenging.
As part of the Urbana Leadership Team, I’d love for as many of you as possible to register for Urbana (it's not too late!) and hear the wisdom and truth David will speak to us there.
I'm also excited to share David's answers to a few questions about his thoughts on missions and Urbana 12:
How has involvement in God’s mission shaped you and your church?
The vision, mission, and goal of our church is summed up in one sentence: We glorify God by making disciples of all nations. Everything we do revolves around this statement. We exist to exalt the glory of God, and I want to shepherd people who love Christ more than they love their own lives. Flowing from this, we know that God is most glorified as we become like Christ and lead others to become like Christ, i.e., as we are disciples and we make disciples. Therefore, in my life and in the church God has entrusted me to lead, we want to constantly consider how we can most effectively make disciples of all nations as the body of Christ. And we know that this mission will not be complete until disciples are truly made among all the peoples of the earth.
Therefore, everything we do in the church I pastor, we want to do for the sake of God’s glory in all nations. Our sights are constantly set on getting the gospel to the unreached world, and we are sending out brothers and sisters short-term, mid-term, and long-term toward that end. All of this to say—God’s mission drives and directs absolutely everything we do as a church.
Why are you excited to speak at Urbana?
I am humbled and honored to be a part of a conference that for over sixty years has mobilized thousands upon thousands of students from across North America to give their lives to the spread of the gospel among the nations. Historically, God in His grace has chosen to bless this gathering for his glory in inexpressible ways, and I am overwhelmed by the privilege of simply being a part of it.
What role do you see Urbana playing for the North American Church?
In God’s mercy, the North American church has been exposed to the gospel. Yet so many people beyond North America (and increasing numbers of people within North America) have little or no access to the gospel. It is incumbent upon us, then, to consider strategically how each of our lives can best be spent for the spread of the gospel, particularly to those who have never heard it. In this vein, I see Urbana as a strategic gathering with limitless potential for mobilizing a missionary force of students who have been given the mercy of God for the accomplishment of the mission of God.
What benefits do you think college students and recent grads will receive at Urbana?
The benefits of a gathering like Urbana are numerous. First, simply joining in worship and study of the Word with close to 20,000 other students from across North America is simply invaluable. Glimpsing the glory of God together provides the spring from which mission flows. Then, driven by His glory, to have the opportunity to meet with others, hear from others, and consider alongside others specific ways that God has designed each of our lives for the spread of His gospel is extremely beneficial. I trust that students and recent grads will walk away from Urbana with a better grasp on how their lives fit into God’s grand, global, redemptive plan to save a people for himself from among every people group on the planet.
What is your prayer for students considering going?
I trust, hope, and pray that college students and recent grads will walk away from Urbana having seen the glory of God, holding fast to the gospel of God, and committed to spending their lives making disciples of all nations. I pray that God will do a work during this gathering that will resound to His praise on the lips of unreached peoples around the world in the days ahead.
Adam Jeske has served in Nicaragua, China, and South Africa and regularly contributes to Relevant. With his wife and co-author, Christine Jeske, he has written This Ordinary Adventure: Settling Down Without Settling. He blogs, tweets, and serves as the Associate Director of Communications for InterVarsity.