Tennessee Wesleyan students attend student mission conference

Posted on: January 28, 2013

Four Tennessee Wesleyan College students didn't take a break from their educations during their December winter break.

Four Tennessee Wesleyan College students didn’t take a break from their educations during their December winter break. Accompanied by TWC professors Dr. Chris Dover and Dr. Nancy Gregg, Meagen Akins, Tara Bugg, Kortni Lake and Sara Phelps were some of the more than 16,000 participants who gathered together in St. Louis, Mo. to attend Urbana 12, a large-scale, empowering missions event that aims to compel this generation to give their whole lives for God’s global mission.

“I went to Urbana looking for direction for my life after graduation,” said Bugg, a TWC senior majoring in church vocations with an emphasis in youth ministry. “It was a wonderful opportunity to worship, fellowship and do Bible study with more than 16,000 people. We were also given the opportunity to hear stories of missionaries from around the world.”

Founded in 1946 and targeted toward students, the Urbana conference is a diverse gathering of students, recent graduates, missions practitioners and church leaders in North America. The conference features a multicultural array of speakers, seminars, music, worship, prayer and Bible study.

“This trip to the Urbana student missions conference was a bit of a homecoming for me, as I had participated in the 1979 and 1981 conferences,” said Dr. Dover, TWC chaplain and instructor of religion and church vocations. “The contacts made at those events resulted in my spending a year in Japan, where I served as a short-term missionary, helping the Japanese churches expand their outreach through conversational English classes.”

Dr. Dover encouraged his students to follow in his footsteps and take advantage of the more than 250 missions organizations that were present at the conference to talk with participants about opportunities for service all around the world. From business and medical skills to teaching and evangelism, conference attendees learned how their specific interests and talents could be used in God’s service.

“Urbana was a great place to learn about the costs and joys that come along with the mission work that God is calling us to do here at home and all around the world,” said Phelps, a TWC sophomore majoring in church vocations with an emphasis in youth ministry. “We were able to talk to many mission agencies and missionaries about their organizations and the potential possibility of serving with them.”

Mission work is a cornerstone of the educational experience at Tennessee Wesleyan. Students are encouraged to serve in their local communities as well as globally. TWC students most recently have served all the way from stateside in Arkansas to out of the country in Guatemala.

“As a result of Urbana, I am now more aware of different theological schools and I am expanding the schools I will apply to,” said Akins, a TWC senior majoring in business administration and professional accountancy and marketing, who is looking to continue her education with a master’s degree.

“I am also open to applying for various internships at a few of the mission organizations. I feel more confident about my academic future and feel that I am heading in the right direction with my life. Urbana 12 was an amazing experience academically and personally and it opened my eyes to a lot of different ways to participate in mission work.”

Inspired by the success of the Urbana conference trip, Dr. Dover is making plans for more TWC student trips in the future.

“The Urbana conference provided Dr. Gregg and I with a list of contacts and leads to help us expand TWC’s study abroad, service-learning and short-term missions programs,” said Dr. Dover.  “Plans are already in the works to take a larger TWC contingent to the next conference in 2015.”

As a result of the contacts Dr. Dover and Dr. Gregg made at Urbana, TWC’s education department will be hosting a recruiting representative from the Network of International Christian Schools (www.nics.org) on Wednesday, February 27.  Anyone interested in global teaching positions may contact Dr. Gregg for a meeting schedule by phone at 423-746-5259 or by email at ngregg@twcnet.edu.

For more information on TWC mission trips and programs, contact Dr. Chris Dover by phone at 423-252-1110 or by email at cdover@twcnet.edu.