This December, Geri will address nearly 20,000 participants at Urbana 12, the largest student missions gathering in the world.
Geri Rodman is president of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship Canada. She was appointed to leadership in 2002, after spending 23 years leading the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA ministry in Northern California and Hawaii. Under Geri’s leadership, Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship Canada is focused on a 10-yeargoal of Launching 20,000 Extraordinary Kingdom Leaders by 2020.
Below is a short interview with Geri about why she is excited about Urbana 12:
Why are you excited to speak at Urbana?
Urbana gathers thousands of young people in one place – but it’s not just the number that is significant – it’s the openness of the young people who attend. They have come to hear from God. They are listening. To be able to speak into their lives is a privilege.
What role do you see Urbana playing for the North American Church?
At Urbana, young people respond to the call to serve God all over the world. This includes North America. Inspired young people can be a great blessing to the North America church – they can lead their churches into a more missional mindset.
What benefits do you think college students and recent grads will receive at Urbana?
Urbana equips and inspires students to be bolder witnesses among their friends. When they return to their campuses, those friends are invited to read scripture, to talk about faith, to become followers of Jesus.
Urbana also expands world view for students as they hear from Christian leaders from all over the world and meet mission representatives from all over the world. Students may come to Urbana with a narrow view of what they will do with their lives. They leave with much bigger and broader view because of the people they’ve heard from and talked to at Urbana.
How has involvement in God’s mission shaped you and your church?
I have given my life to helping young people meet Jesus and respond to his call to mission in the world. There is no other way to live one’s life than to live it in response to God’s mission in this world.
Why would you encourage the North American church to send young adults to Urbana?
We have so much in North America and sometimes that gets in the way of being able to see the needs of the world, whether those needs are in our own neighbourhbood, or further away. Urbana helps young adults see the world in all its need and with all its possibilities. Not so many people leave Urbana feeling complacent. If you want your church to be awaked to what God is doing in the world and what he wants us to do, then send them to Urbana and listen to them when they return.
How does Urbana fit into Inter-Varsity’s (the Canadian movement) ministry?
Inter-Varsity Canada has a goal to launch 20,000 Extraordinary Kingdom Leaders by 2020. These are young people who are committed to witness, scripture study and prayer. Their lives are marked by sacrifice and perseverance. They are influencers because they are constantly being transformed by Christ. Urbana is a place where Extraordinary Kingdom Leaders are shaped, so we try to get as many Canadian young adults there as we can.
The first Urbana was held in Toronto in 1946. It’s part of our history and we’re proud of that. But it’s also a very big part of what we are doing today as we seek the transformation of young people into fully committed followers of Jesus Christ.