ST. LOUIS – How do you make sure 16,000 students attending a five-day missions conference have the best opportunity to engage in what God has planned for them? You "overlay" the event with social media, more specifically with Twitter, says Adam Jeske, who is leading a 14-member social media team during Urbana '12.
While perhaps breaking new ground with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's triennial Student Missions Conference held through New Year's Eve, Jeske and his "squad," as they like to be called, do more than tweet announcements or post photos on Facebook or Instagram. They engage in real-time dialogue about matters of faith. Additionally, groups of similar interest and focus can connect with each other by simply following specific Twitter feeds. The conference hashtag (#u12) is just the beginning.
"We want to be a conduit for participants to connect with one another, with the program content, and with exhibitors more than they've ever been able to before," said Jeske, who is InterVarsity's director of New Media. "Social media overlays all of the conference programming. For example, if I'm interested in church planting in India, they can tweet to that affect hashtag U12 conference (#u12), hashtag India (#India), and hashtag church planting (#churchplanting) and you can connect with people around areas of interest and areas of calling at a much more focused level than has ever been possible before." more >>
ST. LOUIS – Author and pastor David Platt gave an impassioned plea to thousands of mostly college-age students to commit their lives to Jesus Christ regardless of the cost to their lives while preaching during Urbana 2012, a triennial student missions conference. Platt warned that many Christians have reduced the eternal significance of Jesus.
"Jesus is the alpha and the omega. He is the beginning and the end. He is the first and the last. He is the final amen … Christ our Creator, our deliverer, our everlasting father, He is God," said Platt from the stage inside the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis before an estimated 16,000. "Jesus is the very word of God made flesh … Jesus is all of these things and [yet] we have reduced Him to a poor, puny savior who is just begging for us to accept Him into our hearts."
Platt, who is the lead pastor at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., made the point that people (believers and nonbelievers) need Jesus more than they realize. more >>
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.
"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. more >>
A prominent leader within the United Methodist Church believes that pagan origins for certain parts of the Christmas observance are a non-issue.
Taylor Burton-Edwards, director of Worship Resources with the General Board of Discipleship of the UMC, told The Christian Post that using older pagan symbols is not the same as worshipping as a pagan.
"The United Methodist Church has no ritual for Christmas with explicit pagan grounding," said Burton-Edwards, who also serves as an elder in the North Indiana Conference of the UMC. more >>
Several faith leaders gathered for a press conference on the issue of fire arms laws at the Washington National Cathedral where bell-ringing was held in remembrance of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
The bells of the DC Cathedral sounded at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, one week after the tragedy took place that resulted in 26 deaths, including 20 children. Another victim was found at a residence. The news conference held involved an interfaith coalition of faith leaders who called for action against gun violence.
"There is hope because this tragedy will move us to action," said the Rev. Michael Livingston, former president of the National Council of Churches, in a statement Friday morning just outside the cathedral. more >>
Lecrae released a new music video for his song "Mayday" off his Gravity album that features rapper Big K.R.I.T. and singer Ashton Jones today.
The track marks Lecrae's first major collaboration with a secular rapper as him and Big K.R.I.T. go back and forth speaking about their experiences with fellow believers and the church.
Big K.R.I.T. confesses his lack of church attendance during his verse and expresses his frustrations with the church in general with Lecrae basically delivering the response at the end of the song. more >>