How can we help more get from here to there?

This month thousands of students are returning to their campuses from the Inter-Varsity triennial missionary convention at Urbana, Illinois. They came from all over the United States and Canada, as well as from other countries of the world. They came from Christian homes and non-Christian homes, from strong churches and weak churches, from many denominational and independent groups. At the convention thousands of them made a spiritual commitment; for many, it was a commitment to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth.

The convention came at an opportune time, because a new wind is blowing, a wind of the Holy Spirit that promises to bring a new world consciousness to North American evangelicals. Young people are responding to the Spirit’s moving, and their response at Urbana was one indication of this. On many campuses students are banding together to study world needs, to pray for missionaries, to think about forming their own missionary teams, and to consider what it takes today to prepare for and actually launch a missionary career.

At Urbana, of course, there was a vivid demonstration of youth’s missionary enthusiasm. There were also many opportunities to counsel with missionaries and to take preparatory workshops on the wide variety of missionary vocations available. Meanwhile, there is a deep desire on the part of educators, missions leaders, and pastors to cultivate this enthusiasm, and to help young people face realistically how long the journey is from campus to mission field.

The students themselves in many cases will need to take the initiative to follow through on what they learned at Urbana. Those just beginning their education, as well as those in various ...

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