Urbana 15 Seminars
Business and Technology
How might a for-profit business bear witness to God’s reign?
Globalization and global openness to capitalism has opened up new opportunities for creative approaches to missions. By pursuing excellence in our vocations and leading in the secular marketplace, we can bring economic empowerment to communities, establishing a legitimate presence to win people with the gospel and plant healthy churches.
For over 30 years, engineers, architects, surveyors, and others have gone into the developing world to assist in the global objective of seeing the Great Commission/Great Commandment go forward han
International lifestyle and business practices can create physical, social, spiritual, and business challenges. How does a Christian leader remain salt and light in a country that’s not their own?
A new breed of digital missionaries is desperately needed—those with creativity and inventiveness, who dare to maximize their digital talents and expertise to make a huge impact for Jesus.
Learn the key steps to starting a for-profit social business that can expand God’s kingdom in places of poverty.
Learn about the crucial issues in effectively mobilizing and deploying seven forms of strategic, patient capital into kingdom business ventures.
Should we Instagram worship? What do disciples snap? Can Twitter nurture faith? Can someone convert on Facebook? Why does my data matter? How many connections are too many?
The future of missions is on the wings of business. Increasingly, people are joining church planting teams around the world using their careers.
Having started/run three startups ($120M+ in financing), I’ve done some impossibly stupid things and squandered all sorts of opportunities to share God’s love. But God has taught me much.
We live in an unprecedented time when technology enables us to connect instantaneously with someone on the opposite side of the world.
This seminar will offer an in-depth look at human trafficking/slavery in our world today, from personal accounts to big-picture research.
This seminar tells the story of Ukrainian Christians becoming part the largest revolutionary events in the Western world since the breakdown of Berlin Wall.
We will look into the tragic stories of women silenced by sex-selective abortion and infanticide.
Many young people in the Church have been sexually abused by those whom they have been taught to love, trust, and obey.
How can faith deal honestly with the brokenness in our world--and in our everyday lives? Kent has worked for fifteen years in places of extreme poverty. In this seminar he will share ideas about how we can find better ways to cope than losing our faith, or numbing ourselves with clichés about God’s plan.
The term “unreached people group” is used a lot. What exactly does it mean? How do we identify the unreached groups, and how many are left? What does it mean to “finish the task”?
The traditional approach and understanding of missions as a commodity of the West “exported” to the rest of the world has largely disappeared! Missions is now “from everywhere to everywhere”!
Native Christianity explores how Amerindians have taken the gospel and made it their own.
Come and wrestle with the hard reality a person faces when they have no mother or father. But Jesus walks faithfully with those living this reality.
Join our panel discussion in which St Louis faith leaders reflect on some lessons they have learned from their engagement with the #Blacklivesmatter movement. The discussion will include an opportunity to ask questions and engage around issues of #Blacklivesmatter and the Gospel, solidarity with the oppressed, and engaging the broader Christian community.
Climate change is a mounting injustice impacting communities across the world. It remains a polarizing and confusing issue in much of the American church. What's going on, what needs to be done, and how are Christians on the forefront of responding to this growing humanitarian and environmental crisis?
From the war in Uganda, thousands of children were raped, forced to inflict unspeakable violence on others, and exposed to human trafficking as they sought a better life.
Similar to the development of medical missions in the last century, environmental missions is a growing frontier with unique opportunities for service and witness at home and abroad.
In this decade of the refugee-migrant, how do we respond biblically to what is becoming a global crisis with a frighteningly high human cost?
We live in a borderless world with people constantly on the move—refugees, migrant workers, international students, people moving their families from their home country to another location.
Relationships, identities, orientations, mores, and even such seemingly straightforward concepts like gender are creating battle lines between the Church and broader society.
We will explore some aspects of prayer as spiritual warfare—the wardrobe, the warriors, the war-field, the warfare, and winners—in our call to be effective witnesses and soldiers for Christ in glob
Headlines have focused the world's attention on the plight of persecuted religious minorities in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Meanwhile in Western societies, religion is on the decline and increasingly seen as the problem. How do Christians respond gracefully and with a positive message in the face of threats to religious freedom?
Have you ever viewed refugees as a part of Jesus’ family?
A common framework for Scripture translation is emerging that addresses the urgency of the need with faster access to usable Scriptures.
Humanity is facing the tragedy of racial conflicts, and these conflicts are a hindrance to the mission of God.
Learn how real political or church decisions have affected the church in the Middle Eastern and North African regions.
Over a century ago, thousands of students shared the rallying cry “The evangelization of the world in this generation.” Is the end in sight or getting further away?
This seminar looks at the Christian presence in Palestine and the challenges of survival. How can one be a good follower of Christ?
In a world of unprecedented change, staying abreast of worldwide trends in Church and mission around the world is more essential yet more difficult than ever.
When disaster hits, there are messes to clean up, but there is also an opportunity to help local believers better connect to their communities.
God commissions us in Matthew 28 to perform several clear tasks. How can you prepare to be a disciple-maker in healthcare missions?
Children of the poor bear a disproportionate burden of death and disease. God’s heart for justice and mercy draws us to invest in reversing this trend.
The global Church is discovering its strategic role in healing the invisible wounds of trauma and mental illness as part of holistic mission.
What is the content of God’s call to those of us in healthcare? What does a “called” healthcare professional do?
God has called you into healthcare. It is easy to get distracted by the world, consumed with fear, and overwhelmed by the need.
A growing movement of Christian health professionals are choosing daily to engage broken and marginalized communities by showing and sharing Jesus’ love through healthcare.
With a dominant focus on treating physical ailments, healthcare can easily fragment people. Providers overlook that their patients are psychosocial and spiritual, as well as physical, beings.
Working for 22 years in East Africa means grappling with the same threats that face our neighbors. When are we called to face the dangers of war and disease?
This interactive session on the benefits of being a healthcare professional, both nationally and internationally, highlights the missions opportunities and long-term impacts—medically and spiritual
Poverty affects many people. Christians are called to be agents of change.
What is the biblical approach to dealing with a world full of problems?
Obeying God’s call to love mercy and do justice requires us to carry out whole gospel mission.
This seminar will feature youth activists from Hands Up United and prominent clergy leaders in Ferguson, Missouri, who were at the forefront of the Ferguson resistance to systemic racism and struct
Beth and Ivan Paz will share how the voice of Jesus has taken them on an exciting adventure through places like inner-city streets and prison.
Many of us value racial reconciliation, but few of us actually practice it.
Jesus was a powerful prophet and healer, and a humble gifted teacher. How do we lead like Jesus with power and with humility? We usually do this badly by becoming either too big or too little.
Learn to see violent injustice in our world today through the lens of the whole story of Scripture, allowing God to form us in Jesus Christ as he prepares, sends, and goes with us into his work of
What is Christ’s teaching about love, justice, and violence? This seminar will provide an overview of injustice and its impact on evangelism in developing countries.
Are you already exploring reconciliation? Move beyond introductory questions toward a greater understanding of reconciliation as a process and ongoing journey.
Now is the time to start practicing a lifetime commitment to thoughtful justice.
The opportunities to use legal knowledge and experience to implement justice in contexts outside the U.S. are real and plentiful. Come hear exciting examples from Uganda Christian University.
The understanding of “freedom” and “human rights” is a significant challenge to deal with.
Using the award winning film 3 1/2 Minutes as a primary source of shared experience and conversation, we’ll explore the intersection of justice, race, and faith.
I trust that God’s patient love can redeem White identity, enabling us to develop healthy interracial relationships and transforming unjust institutions.
A panel discussion with plenty of Q&A time about the joys, challenges, and day-to-day realities of being a woman ministering in urban slums around the world.
A call to join God’s mission team is not just a call to be an instrument of change in others. It is just as much a call to be changed ourselves.
Latinos have long played a critical role in expanding God’s kingdom as missionaries.
What challenges do Christian student ministries and the church in Russia face?
Tracing a brief history of the Caribbean church in the English-speaking (Anglo) Caribbean, we’ll highlight some of the major challenges which the church must confront today.
China’s cities will be one billion by 2030. This unprecedented surge is having a huge impact on society, with opportunities for the gospel.
Come and hear how God is bringing together prayer, mission, and research all in the context of Christian community, and how the kingdom of God is breaking through as a result.
“What is the good work to which we are called?” This seminar considers the six defining questions that we need to ask ourselves on our journey to discover the answer to this particular question.
Are you wondering if you can fully and freely serve as a single missionary? What are the benefits and challenges as a single person? Can you embrace a desire for marriage while serving unmarried?
In a world full of diverse worldviews, it is not easy to live as a disciple of Jesus.
Mentoring: Millennials want it. Boomers do it. How can we improve the process? A millennial will share how he connected with his mentor and the benefits he experienced from the relationship.
How do we avoid the objectification of those we want to serve? Many missional initiatives lack the accountability of relationships.
Beyond seeing partnership as an exchange of resources or going into other people’s context to do projects, how do we empower one another for kingdom purposes?
Learn about the current realities of engaging in missions globally and locally in Canada, hear stories of fresh expressions of glocal mission, and explore emerging horizons.
The Old Testament seems to portray God as capricious and malevolent, punishing enemies with extreme prejudice. Is this our God?
“My home is your home.” Come learn about the rich and diverse reality of student ministry in Latin America—both the stories and the challenges.
This seminar will challenge traditional mission paradigms as we explore the limitless possibilities for everyday people to join in the spread of the gospel to those who have never heard it.
Our citizenship is in heaven, not a single country. We’ll explore various aspects of living and working cross-culturally, including career, family, and personal dynamics.
Get a taste of God’s unchanging global purposes & how you can co-labor with him as he works to complete all he has planned. Using the key ideas of the Perspectives Course, this seminar will look at scripture, history, and culture to learn how God’s story is unfolding among all peoples.
When we engage in cross-cultural ministry, we will often wonder what is right, what is good, and what the wisest decision to make is.
Christians have been praying, studying Scripture, serving, and worshiping for centuries, yet many still run out of energy for the long haul. Why?
In a Catholic-dominant missions context, the many “Christianisms” that exist can cause confusion and lead observers to ask, Where can I find the true message of salvation—and what is it exactly?
Short-term mission can be one of the most powerful tools you can use to mobilize your church for mission. This, however, starts with a change in our understanding of short-term mission.
“Your words were found and I ate them, they became for me a joy and the delight of my heart” (Jer. 15:16).
Original sin led to shame, pain, and fear, as well as guilt. How does God’s unconditional love meet us in these conditions? How do we read the Bible with an honor/shame lens?
The challenges of serving cross-culturally demand that we first take good care of ourselves. What are the essentials of self-care?
How do we operate from a place of rest in the busyness of life?
God is at work among high school and college students in Cuba. How does this mission unfold in the midst of a complex context?
If you’ve enjoyed learning God’s story at Urbana 15, come receive training to lead manuscript study back home.
If we add the amazing growth of the church in the Majority World to the reality of the global missionary force (from Korea, Brazil, Nigeria, India, etc.) to the post-Christian, still-needy conditio
In addition to the gospel, Western missionaries often bring a spectrum of financial, educational, and cultural capital to the mission field, leading to imbalances of power between them and those th
By learning to focus on unity using John 17 as the plumb line, Catholics and non-Catholics can work together in sharing the gospel with the lost.
From the very beginning, women have had a long and glorious history of advancing God’s mission around the world. And yet too often, that history has been untold and hidden.
Jesus is Lord. This shattering truth is vibrating in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, where the cutting edge of the global Christian community is emerging.
Jesus prayed that his followers would be one, so that the world would know he was sent by the Father. Can Christians from various church bodies work together to proclaim the good news? How?
What does it mean to integrate life for Christ’s global purpose as a “world Christian”?
Missions in Every Sector
One of the most unreached people groups in the world is right here in North America. Less than 1 percent of the Québecois people are Christians.
Artists offer imagination and beauty to the body of Christ and bring shalom to the world.
Given the needs in our own community, is it unwise or hypocritical for us as black people to get involved in cross-cultural missions?
Join us to dialogue about the connections between arts ministry and its applications to worship, justice issues, trauma healing, community development, church planting, and more.
We are being handed opportunities to raise the standards of journalism and photography by highlighting unmet needs and by telling stories of God’s presence in this world.
What is a church? There are 3100+ language groups without one!
Boldly engage our beautiful and broken world while earning college credit.
Global poverty. Inter-faith engagement. Church planting. These require more than a prayerful spirit, a willing heart, and an available body.
Though there are many challenges to reaching Asia’s inlands and frontiers with the gospel, a maturing East Asian church exists and is growing in mission awareness and involvement.
Over one million international students and scholars study in the U.S., and the number continues to increase. More than ever, our campuses reflect the diversity of the world’s cultures.
God made us in his image to work in his kingdom—it was meant to be fun, meaningful, and fruitful. But we all know how broken it is! Explore the opportunities for mission in any job you do.
We work. We sleep.
Go to the right school. Become a doctor or lawyer. Marry a nice Asian. These are some of the hopes our Asian parents have for us.
This is a space for trained dancers who are interested in exploring how their art can integrate with their lives of faith.
What does God’s global mission have to do with graduate school? Why would a mission-minded Christian choose to spend years in schooling?
We believe that God longs to see fraternity and sorority students’ lives transformed by Jesus so that they can be salt and light in their chapters and use their influence for kingdom purposes.
This seminar will tackle singular aspects of Christian mission in Latin America, including the concrete results of past decades as well as the challenges.
Holistic missions and community development from an African perspective involve going beyond just “evangelism” or “discipleship.” Real partnerships with people are needed to bring deep gospel trans
How can we learn to follow Jesus into mission? And how does the incarnation of God, in Jesus, inform how we go about our lives and our connections with people?
Has the Bible been interpreted incorrectly regarding gays and lesbians? Did the biblical authors correctly understand the modern phenomenon of a gay orientation? With grace and truth, Dr.
The emergence of the Latin American church is transforming the face of Christian missions.
“Flexing” is the art of switching between styles to engage people who are different from you. Our connected marketplace demands this ability.
Find out what you need to bring when entering into the hard places where Jesus, the radical, is calling you. Take this opportunity to get ready.
How can Christians pursue sexual purity in a sex-saturated world? Can there be freedom from deep-rooted, sinful temptations?
The Latino population is greatly increasing in the U.S., and its influence is being felt across the globe.
Artists are some of the most influential people in our society. They influence our society, but who is influencing their thinking and their soul?
Christian women are encouraged to see themselves in God’s bigger design and to use their gifts to further God’s kingdom.
The world tells us to get rich to find joy, but Jesus warns that riches can ruin your life. The world says that money is power, but Jesus says that money can corrupt, deceive, and destroy.
Beginning with a few practices and principles of biblically based worship, this seminar will highlight the impact of Western music on the history and life of the global Church and then present a mo
We are called to witness to the reign of Christ, that our work would be “kingdom work.” This seminar will consider how the prayer “thy kingdom come” can inform and infuse our daily lives with a vis
Hear from the experienced artists on the Performing Arts Team; then ask your questions too. What is art good for? How does art relate to missions?
“Where community is to be formed, common memory must be created.” Throughout U.S. history, the Declaration of Independence has been referenced as our foundation of equality.
Gain vision, identify resources, and learn strategies for starting and leading team outreach Bible studies that leverage your influence and utilize team relationships to give opportunities for ever
Africans are a people with very strong cultural beliefs that were inherited from their ancestors. Knowledge about African beliefs and culture is thus critical for effective missions work.
During the Ebola outbreak, students did not wait to graduate before responding to this global emergency.
The gay community is one of the most unreached people groups in North America.
How does the story of Christianity intersect with modern science? How can a Christian simultaneously believe the Bible and scientific theories? How can a credible scientist be Christian?
Perhaps the three most influential square feet on earth today are the three feet behind a university lectern. Equally influential is the research flowing out of these universities.
We can work toward seeing every tribe and tongue reconciled and celebrating diversity at the “table” of corporate worship.
Engage in dialogue with a faculty member, a researcher, and a campus minister regarding missional life in higher education.
Come learn how to integrate The Story Project to enhance telling your stories when you get back on your campus.
The gospel is rapidly advancing in spite of danger.
Culture profoundly impacts interpersonal dynamics including how one relates to peers, professors, and managers.
Come hear a biblical basis for diverse worship, some frameworks and values that shape the Urbana 15 Worship Team’s approach, and some practical ways to bring the Urbana worship experience back with
This seminar features a diverse faculty panel addressing issues facing women as they seek to be faithful to God’s call to be a redeeming influence in the university.
Can using my gifts and interests in writing and editing be a part of God’s mission?
Preparing to Go
Does the idea of sharing your faith bring up fear, tension, or awkwardness? This seminar can help you move beyond the awkward and into breakthrough with friends in your life.
Central Asia is comprised of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, all predominantly Muslim, former-Soviet-Union countries.
Building meaningful relationships in cross-cultural teams and projects is crucial.
Nicole has been a paraplegic since she was 10 years old. She spent two years in China ministering to university students and has been on mission trips to El Salvador and India.
This seminar is designed to help the ethnic minority community be more equipped to gather financial resources for the calling God has for them in the North American context.
Come and hear stories of how missions not only impacts those who are served, but also those who are part of the missionary’s support team.
Giving your whole life to God’s global purposes will likely take you outside your own culture. Find out what it means to cross cultures effectively.
Our culture puts pressure on us to live a safe and self-centered life. We have the freedom to make choices to that end, but it will cause us to miss out on the “life that is truly life” (1 Tim 6:19). Come learn how to fight against the norm and live in light of eternity.
Find out about the joys and challenges of serving God together in cross-cultural contexts.
You’ve surrendered and said “yes” to the call. Now what?
What does the Great Commission look like in everyday life? This seminar will explore what disciple-making looks like right where you live and wherever God leads.
Urbana can be a little bit like drinking from a firehose (#drenched). We are here to help you navigate the conference as a grade 12 student (#protips).
Romans 10:15 says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news,” yet many women feel like we are not cut out for evangelism.
Come hear stories about how God is using students to lead their friends to faith in their small groups in unprecedented numbers.
Learn tools and paradigms that will further equip you in reaching Latino students on college campuses.
In Acts 1:8, Jesus promised his disciples that they would receive power to be his witnesses.
Do you desire to share your faith with English learners? We will present and discuss how to use English clubs, movie nights, and camps in ministry.
How can we share the gospel in culturally relevant and sensitive ways?
Learn how to have conversations with atheists as we examine common atheist arguments and tactics.
Chinese are coming to North America in ever greater numbers, often as international students but increasingly as immigrants. Many of them are incredibly open to Christian faith.
Migration blurs the boundary between home and international missions. About twelve hundred unreached people groups live in the West.
Whether you are a student who wants to start a missional group on campus, a church leader who wants to reach your local college, or a faculty member who wants to mentor Christian students, this sem
Each year more Latino students arrive on campus and find few ministries that are intentionally welcoming and reaching them with the gospel.
Find out how to understand the values of the oral world and the key principles needed for the gospel to take root in this type of community in a sustainable way, as soon as it enters.
This seminar will suggest practical ways in which Christians can respond to militant Islamic groups, such as ISIS and Boko Haram.
The session will explore appropriate, biblical, Christlike ways Christians can respond to the different faces of Islam.
Come hear stories of Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims who have come to faith in Jesus as Lord. What drew them? What blocked them? What are differences between these faiths?
Does your circle of friends include Muslim women? This seminar will explore ways in which male and female Christians can meaningfully connect with Muslim women and their families.
Come learn how to study the mindset of your Hindu neighbor and engage them to find ways to present Christ through your lifestyle.
Learn about the Hindu belief system and discover how to present Christ in a Hindu context.
New ministry approaches to Mormonism take a missiological approach, treating Mormons not as cultists but as whole persons embedded in a cultural identity.
Do you find it difficult to connect with people from other cultures?
The unique characteristics of Confucian cultures and a Confucian mindset will be explored. And the lessons from historical interaction between Christianity and Confucianism will be cited.
Communication between Christians and Muslims tends to hit a dead end. Come and learn from our Savior’s example how to tell the story of salvation to Muslims.
Learn about the Quran, the Holy Book of Islam, and its relationship to Muslims. Come and learn how you can tell the story of Jesus in an effective way.
Who are the Jihadists and why do we need to know about militant Islam? What does Islam say about the violence in the Middle East? These are important questions. Despite the crushing realities happening in this part of the world, God is working. Come and listen to what Jesus is doing among Muslims in these dark times and find your role in sharing the story of hope to Muslims.
Cross-cultural communication is at the heart of our gospel method with people of other religious traditions like Jewish people.