For Immediate Release
(St. Louis, MO) — Since Christianity is expanding rapidly in the non-western world, where seventy five percent of Protestant Christians now live, some people may conclude that missionaries are no longer needed. But not according to Oscar Muriu, the pastor of Nairobi Chapel in Nairobi, Kenya, who spoke at Thursday night’s plenary at the Urbana 06 Student Missions Convention, at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.
More than 22,000 registrants are attending Urbana 06 to learn about the status of world missions. The Urbana conventions have been hosted every three years since 1946 by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA and Inter-Varsity Fellowship of Canada.
Muriu said he believes western missionaries are still needed, based on the writings of the apostle Paul in the New Testament. There the church of God is described as a body, and he believes that the global church is also a body. “Every organ in the body gives and takes from other organs in the body,” he said. “We still need you, we’ll always need you.”
So even though African churches are sending missionaries to Europe and North America, western missionaries are still needed in Africa. “You must come as listeners and as learners, though,” he said. “Our goal is interdependence, not independence.”
When Americans come to Africa they must resist the urge to fix Africa. “This century must be the century of genuine partnerships,” he concluded.
God Offers a Choice
The challenge of saying yes or saying no to God was laid out before the attendees at Urbana 06 by Brenda Salter McNeil, in Thursday evening’s second plenary speech. Addressing an audience composed primarily of college students and recent grads, who are seeking direction for their post-college careers, Salter McNeil challenged, “Is it really about getting more stuff, or is it about significance and making a difference?”
A former InterVarsity coordinator of multiethnic training, and a leader in the field of racial and ethnic reconciliation, Salter McNeil told her Urbana audience that God’s plans are still being worked out in the world today. “God still has something that He wants the people of God to do. We’ve got a calling,” she said, echoing the theme of the Urbana 06 convention.
She told them that the patriarch Abraham faced the same choice between saying yes or no in the book of Genesis. “God would say to us that He is still looking for a people through whom He can bless all the families of the earth,” she continued. “He is asking you and me, ‘Can I bless the people of the earth through you?’ And I pray that our answer would be, ‘Yes.’”
InterVarsity’s Urbana 06 Student Missions Convention continues at the Edward Jones Dome and the America’s Center in St. Louis through New Years Eve.
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