Women in World Missions: The Untold Story

mvXNU8IReflecting on the influence of the Urbana Student Missions Conference, Billy Graham once remarked that fully half of all American vocational missionaries could trace their sovereign call to an Urbana conference.

In other words, when it comes to missions, Urbana is no joke.

This year’s Urbana, which starts this coming Saturday, will be my 8th Urbana and 7th on staff with InterVarsity. As with the last several Urbanas, I’ll do my part to make the conference go by directing the conference office. That means 18 hour (or more) days, serving anyone and everyone that comes through our doors (virtual and actual), and, oh yeah, driving the golf cart all over the Edward Jones Dome.

I can’t wait!

This year, in addition to all of that, I’ll also be leading a seminar. It’s called “Women in World Missions: The Untold Story,” and I have three goals for the seminar:

First, I want to tell stories of some amazing female missionaries from the last 2,000 years. And so I’ll be introducing the crowd to heroines such as Mary Magdalene, Lydia, Junia, Donata, Blandina, Lioba, Brigitta, Ann Judson, Mother Mary and more. The goal is to have students leaving with a new set of heroines they can admire.

Second, I’ll be calling out the villain. After all, I have to explain why these stories have been untold for so long, and that means I’ll need to exposit the tragic history of patriarchy in the church. So I’ll be talking about mis-translated Scriptures, misogynistic quotes from otherwise revered theologians, and the systematic usurpation of women in missions by male-dominated individuals and structures.

Third, I’m going to talk implications. Specifically, I’ll call students to check their hearts for bias, to level the gender playing fields in their contexts, and to recover and remember the stories of valiant women who have advanced the Gospel over the generations.

All of that in about 40 minutes, give or take. And then there’s time for Q&A.

If you’re the praying type, hook me up at 2pm (central) on Monday the 28th. And if you’d like to pray for Urbana as a whole, sign up for daily prayer requests here.

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