InterVarsity Fellowship is choosing staff members who will be leading large, in-depth Bible studies at Urbana 06 - the world's premier student missions conference scheduled for Dec. 27-31.
Every past Urbana conference studied a scriptural theme in student-led small groups each morning and afterwards in a plenary session. Urbana 06 will still have a scriptural emphasis - the theme will surround the book of Ephesians but it will be different from the past. Rather than the small groups, manuscripts will be read in groups ranging from several hundreds to one thousand students. Leaders expect this to result in a quality Bible study experience for all.
"Manuscript Bible study is one of the hallmarks of InterVarsitys ministry with students," according to a statement by InterVarsity staff.
The change is possible because of the move to a larger venue at St. Louis, Missouri. The move was much needed, according to InterVarsity, since the missions conference had to turn away students because of space constraints in the past few years.
Urbana, Illinois, where the conference was held for the past 20 years, was "bursting at the seams," said Alec Hill, president of InterVarsity.
"We've maxed out Urbana. A university is not set up for a city to take over. We take over the busing, every hotel, and fill up all the dorms," said Scott Bessenecker, Director of Global Missions.
Next year, more than 20,000 delegates are expected to attend and Intervarsity hopes they will encounter God in new, exciting ways.
InterVarsity believes God speaks through the Bible, said Eastern Iowa Area Director Lindsay Olesberg.
Therefore studying the Bible is not primarily an intellectual activity, but a spiritual discipline which helps us encounter God.