History is about to repeat itself. Once again 17,000 collegians and their missionary counselors will gather at the University of Illinois at Urbana to spend Christmas week facing the challenge of the world’s three billion who do not acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Lord. They will come from all over North America for Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship’s triennial missionary convention. If history further repeats itself, probably some 10,000 of these college-age men and women will respond to the challenge to commit themselves to the magnificent task of proclaiming the gospel worldwide.

But there is one more if. If history repeats itself, many of those 10,000 will find it difficult actually to get into full-time missionary service overseas. If history repeats itself, sophomores and juniors and seniors may never find the path that leads from the soul-stirring experience in the halls of the University of Illinois to one of the world’s thousands of unreached peoples.

Whether history repeats itself depends in a large part on you and your church. Are you ready for Urbana?

IVCF does a magnificent job of challenging men and women to Christian service. But their work on campuses is only one leg of a three-legged stool. The other two legs are the mission agencies and local churches. Very few pastors understand this. Very few young people understand this. They respond to the challenge before them and the moving of the Spirit within them and assume that since God has called them, the way has been prepared. Doors will open. Funds will be provided. Their training and culture lead them to believe that a well-defined career path is at their feet, one well understood by both their home church and their pastor. Would that it were so! Future training ...

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