Back in 1996, I attended Urbana '96, the missions conference for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, which occurs every three years during the last week of the year. It remains one of the most memorable and powerful experiences of my college years and my faith walk. I recall being deeply moved during that time - it was a phenomenal experience! There were thousands and thousands of students gathered together in a large university stadium, worshipping together, listening to powerful and engaging speakers, attending workshops, praying and pursuing God on a more intimate level.
My parents had attended Urbana as college students as well... about 30 years before me. Although the make-up and style of the conference continues to change over time, the message and the moving experience remains the same - even after all these years. My dad still tells the story of how he got a speeding ticket while I was at Urbana, because he was listening to one of the speakers live on the radio, became overwhelmed with excitement and joy, stopped paying attention to the speedometer, got engrossed in the talk he was listening to, and bam! got pulled over. What goes on at Urbana really is exciting! Really. Really. Exciting! (and sometimes a little expensive!)
Anyways, we have good friends who are on staff with InterVarsity, and they just got back from Urbana '09. Our friend e-mailed us an update after the conference and shared some links of some of his favorite talks, presentations, and drama from this year's conference. I'm including the video below, which I encourage you to watch, if you have about 15 minutes to spare. I hope you'll be moved by this form of experiential worship. It is rich. And it's good.
This is what my friend said about this video: "This is the theatre and dance intro to the conference- literally the first thing we saw onstage. So well done, so beautiful. I wept at the artistry of it as I realized it's been a while since I've experienced really good art. The guy tap dancing is incredible."
I have to say I agree with him. The presentation "combines beat-boxing, spoken word, hand drums, tap and interpretive dance to bring the message of the Gospel of John to life in a musically and visually inspired performance." Take a peek!