Urbana missions conference will offer purpose for students’ lives


By Jeremy Reynalds

Photo at Urbana 09
Photo at Urbana 09

Students who attend college to find meaning and purpose in life will sharpen their focus by attending InterVarsity’s Urbana Student Missions Conference, which is held every three years between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Urbana 12 will be held Dec. 27-31 at the America’s Center and Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

Today’s students may differ from students of earlier years by the number of online classes they’ve taken, by their proficiency in social media, and perhaps by their level of concern over the amount of educational loan debt they’re carrying.

However, students still seek a career that will make a difference in today’s world. Providing answers for that search is what Urbana 12 is all about.

“Our vision is to catalyze students towards God’s global mission,” said InterVarsity’s Urbana Director and Vice President for Missions Tom Lin.

He added, “Over the years, God has uniquely used Urbana to help students to discern God’s calling for their lives.”

Three years ago at Urbana 09, 4,990 attendees committed to follow God in short-term service of one week to two years. InterVarsity said a 2,676 committed to follow God in long-term service; two years or longer.

At Urbana 12 students will hear such plenary speakers as David Platt, pastor of the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama, and Chai Ling, author of Heart for Freedom, and founder of All Girls Allowed, a campaign to end the human rights violations caused by China’s One-Child Policy.

Also featured will be Terry LeBlanc, director of My People International, Ziel Machado, Free Methodist pastor from São Paulo, Brazil, and Calisto Odede, senior pastor, Nairobi Pentecostal Church.

Beyond the plenary sessions, the news release said there will also be a large number of tracks and seminars relating to missions, evangelism, and making a positive change in the world. Dozens of leading experts in these fields will be sharing their experiences at Urbana 12.

According to the news release, this Urbana will also host many firsts, including a unique evening session that will encourage participants to become active with missions issues, as well as a Launch Lab to try out missions innovations.

InterVarsity’s Urbana Student Missions Conference has been held every three years since 2006 at the America’s Center and Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. Before that it was held on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Urbana attendance since 1946-when InterVarsity’s first missions conference was held in Toronto-totals more than 250,000.

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship has worked with students and faculty on U.S. campuses for more than 72 years, and has almost 900 chapters active at 576 U.S. colleges and universities. — ASSIST News