by Gordon T. Smith

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The Nov/Dec Faith Today features a Canadian’s Guide to Urbana 15.

There is a rather large cohort of folks heading to St. Louis immediately after Christmas for the triennial Urbana gathering. I join them to contribute a couple of seminars but also to serve as plenary speaker for the business track.

And as I contemplate this trip, I am struck by the following: the genius of this event, surely, is that we recognize the stunning — simply extraordinary — potential of the young people from across this continent who are gathering.

Their talent, their intelligence and their commitment to the cause of Christ is heartening. It is not enough to have intelligence, talent and dedication to the right cause. It is only where we begin.

Now, the genius of the moment is to leverage that capacity.

For those of us who serve as speakers — plenary or seminar — we are seeking, to use the classic phrase, “apt words in season.”

And more than anything else, I am struck by this: in a culture of fear, in a world that is marked by huge levels of anxiety and a generation of young people plagued with worry, the most crucial thing may simply be that without courage, their talent, dedication to Christ and their intelligence will be for naught.

The bottom line may well be that nothing is so crucial as this: encouragement. May those of us who are speakers brings words of hope that help us all cut the nerve of despair, cynicism and fearfulness.

Gordon T. Smith is president of Ambrose University, a 2015 Urbana speaker,  and is featured in Faith Today’s “Canadian’s Guide to Urbana.” Faith Today is offering a special subscription offer to those who have been and those who are going to Urbana.

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