Urbana is a catalytic event bringing together a diverse mix of college and graduate students, faculty, recent graduates, pastors, church and ministry leaders, missions organizations and schools.
God uses Urbana to reveal his glory and call generations to surrender to Christ’s lordship. Urbana is a sacred space where students find calling and joining the Lord’s global mission whether across campus, zip codes, or the world. During this five-day conference, participants engage in a kaleidoscope of experiences including 16,000-person worship sessions, Bible exposition, messages and seminars, manuscript Bible studies, testimonies from the global church, and prayer ministry.
Urbana’s first conference took place in 1946 in Toronto, Canada with 575 students. The conference’s director Stacey Woods envisioned it “as just the beginning of a mighty missionary movement…an instrument in God’s hands, not only as a home mission, preaching the Gospel to America’s college students, but also as…a pool of consecrated manpower for the evangelization of the world.” With total registration of 1,331 and 254 schools represented, the next conference in 1948 took place in Urbana-Champaign (hence the name Urbana). A tradition had begun.
Over the years, many notable speakers like Billy Graham, George Verwer, Elisabeth Elliot, John Stott, and Helen Roseveare have taught at what has become the largest student missions conference in North America. Since 2006, Urbana has taken place in St. Louis, MO. Urbana 18 will be the 25th Urbana Student Missions Conference.
Over the Years
God has used Urbana as a space for 300,000 people to encounter God, experience his global church, enter into his call, and engage in community. Through Urbana, movements have been born, lives saved, and unreached peoples touched by Christ’s hands and feet.
To God be the glory!