Urbana 18 Seminars
Business and Technology
God is moving powerfully in the Himalayas using STEM!
Technology and innovation are critical in addressing the world’s social, economic, and environmental problems.
Many of the urban issues we face are too complex and large for any one organization to tackle.
When many think of missionaries, engineers and architects usually don’t come to mind right away.
American church planters and business leaders often face adversity in launching new enterprises.
As Christians, we readily accept that we are called to give of our wealth, but we also need to recognize that we are often called to create wealth, especially those who are gifted as entrepreneurs
Wherever you go in the world, you encounter power structures. They can be a blessing or oppressive.
Technology has radically changed everything: our work, our lifestyles, our relationships, and even our faith. As faithful witnesses, we need to examine the role of technology in our lives.
Today’s technology enables us to connect instantaneously with someone on the opposite side of the world.
See redemptive entrepreneurism in action. Be inspired by a story of 10,000 volunteers being mobilized to beautify 300 city blocks in six days in Detroit, Michigan.
Entrepreneurs are changing the world. But are Christians helping or hurting their cause by what we create?
What if you didn't need to leave your job or raise support to do missions?
Learn the key steps in starting a for-profit, social business that can expand God’s kingdom in places of poverty.
Many of the workforce’s changing trends—structures growing more complex and less geographically based—apply to the future of missions.
In Luke 10, Jesus calls 72 ordinary disciples for mission training. He selects these faithful (and anonymous) disciples and trains them in four mission tasks. The results were earthshaking.
When you talk about Jesus, are you worried that you may sound too pushy? Come learn how to navigate the tensions that arise when talking with your friends about God.
Living, serving, and sharing the gospel in different cultures can be challenging, especially when you’re part of the minority.
Jesus courageously gave his life for us. How can we do the same for him?
How can Catholics and Protestants walk hand in hand when we can’t see eye to eye?
Original sin led to shame, fear, and guilt. So how does the Father’s unconditional love meet us in these conditions? How can we read the Bible with an honor and shame lens?
Often the hardest part about sharing the gospel is getting from “How’s your day?” to “Can I tell you about Jesus?” Come gain the skills to comfortably and confidently guide conversations from small
Come learn how to lead dynamic, InterVarsity-style Bible studies back home. Share how you have experienced God through Revelation with your friends and family.
We need to be ready to follow Jesus and equip others as we have been equipped.
Living in the shadow of the empire, messages about the good life come to us in many different ways. Some are subtle. Some are powerful, but it never stops.
More and more Millennials are “nones,” claiming no religion, or “dones,” having broken off any ties with the institutional church.
Each of our lives tells a story of God’s redemptive love, and these stories are entry points for sharing the gospel.
Our current culture pits freedom of speech against safe spaces. Yet we know that God provides both perfect safety and the gift of free will—which includes speech.
We often learn languages to share the gospel to different cultures. But while we speak so the ears can hear, do we miss speaking in a way the heart can understand?
Everyday conversations are the foundational unit of evangelism. Join us to grow in your ability to share Jesus in the off-the-cuff, spontaneous interactions of your daily life.
Global secularization presents a challenge to missions worldwide. As a result, a large cultural gap exists between the Church and secularized society.
Learn from students like you who have already used Reveal cards to share the good news of the gospel.
Generations have swung back and forth between the extremes of a Christian faith that emphasizes either evangelism or justice. But we are called to be holistic, incarnational witnesses.
Every Campus, Every Country
There are many areas of great gospel need on campuses around the world. As college students, you are uniquely placed to take advantage of these opportunities.
Not every campus will welcome a Christian witness with open arms.
UNESCO estimates there are now 207 million college students around the world. This presents an incredible opportunity to reach the world with the gospel.
Few cultural areas have gone untouched by the #MeToo movement.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is anti-racist. Faithful Christian witness demands a biblical understanding and articulation of racial justice.
The needs and challenges facing our communities are immense; however, the opportunities and signs of hope are just as present.
Most Christians agree that we should steward God’s creation, but how are we supposed to fit another thing into our lives? And why?
Come hear from an experienced missionary how to seek environmental justice and create lasting change in communities that need it the most.
Ambition, love for riches, and a constant need to gather for tomorrow are the base of a destructive, overproducing, and abusive industry. As followers of Jesus, we are called to respond.
How do we live out our Christian faith when faced with the dual challenges of ensuring the world has enough to eat while not destroying our fragile planet?
It’s important to take an honest look at the history of Christian missions and reflect critically and prayerfully.
As followers of Christ, we are called to be stewards of creation.
As people familiar with power and privilege, how do we live out the call to ministry and missions with wisdom and discernment?
We want the world to recognize us as the children of God, a beautiful community living in harmony. Yet people so often call us by other names.
Many people see Christians and Muslims as opposites, two completely different groups that could never get along.
Is peace in the Middle East possible? We know that it is when we embrace biblical peace and justice instead of the world’s versions.
Individual and corporate confession and repentance occur consistently in Scripture, as do advocacy and redemptive justice.
Racial inequality, systemic barriers that disenfranchise people and perpetuate poverty—injustice is all around. In an age of #hashtag activism, raising awareness is not enough.
The ancient Near East did not separate life the way some of us do in the West.
A lot of conflict exists within the Church right now. But does it have to be that way? Discover how we can reconcile our differences and work together to advance Christ’s mission.
While people in power have been covering up sexual abuse for millennia, the Bible boldly records the tragic stories of Sarah, Hagar, two Tamars, and Bathsheba.
How does the church get so confused about what the gospel really is and what it calls us to?
It’s easy to interpret the Lord’s Prayer as, “Your kingdom come on Twitter, Facebook, etc., as it is in heaven.” Too often we post about justice, expecting to create change, but never move beyond a
Before you pack your bags to save the world, take some time to consider the impact of your voice and social location on how you engage with your home, the gospel, and missions.
Jesus is a person of resistance in his vision, life, death, and resurrection. See how activism can be one of the most effective forms of witness and discipleship in our time.
One out of seven people experiences some form of trauma during their lives. Discover how we can use the arts to help remove trauma’s negative effects.
All over the world, in societies with no knowledge of Scripture and those that have forgotten their roots, we encounter an alarming lack of respect for the sanctity of human life.
Come to a space for women of color in missions and ministry that includes a panel discussion and Q&A about the joys, challenges, and opportunities we face.
Asian American Christian medical professionals are often highly interested in medical missions. Yet relatively few of us serve as long-term medical missionaries.
Physical needs or spiritual needs? This is the age-old question when it comes to healthcare missions.
God has called us to serve the unreached all across the world. Forty-six million people live in rural areas. And places like rural North America have been neglected by healthcare missions.
You have a heart for God’s people and a passion for healthcare. But how do they connect? How do you prepare? Come hear practical steps to make your dream of serving a reality.
Come examine the motives of several people from the Bible who sought a path without keeping God first.
In the midst of poverty, hunger, war, and every other sign of our fallen world, local churches are strategically placed to love their neighbors well.
How is God at work in Nepal, Ghana, and Panama? What obstacles do Christians face around the world?
Whether you are married or single, your view of God and self can lead to challenges in Christian living and missions.
While society tries to be colorblind, God created each of us with an ethnic identity meant for our good. Come be empowered to use your ethnic story for gospel witness.
The top reason for missionaries leaving the field is other missionaries. The top struggle Millennials have is building deep friendships as adults. Two challenges. One solution.
The significant growth of the Church often obscures its lack of impact on culture and society.
“For such a time as this,” Christ-honoring, adult third culture kids are poised to cross deepening social, political, educational, economic, and religious divides.
Christians who identify as Queer/Same-Sex Attracted (QSSA) have always participated in God’s mission.
Jesus calls us to be faithful witnesses in both the small and surreal moments as we live cross-culturally.
Interpersonal conflict is often exacerbated by unspoken cultural differences. Explore different approaches in mediating conflict in cross-cultural contexts while cultivating mutual respect.
We will talk about the existence of spiritual warfare and how chains are broken by healing the whole heart and exercising the authority Jesus has given us.
Do we expect God to speak to us and through us when we pray? Come develop a biblical foundation and practice hearing from God in real time.
Jesus had a distinct way of connecting with those around him. Learn how to engage in missions the way he did.
Education is a basic need. It holds potential to develop nations and impact the world. Learn how educators with a biblical worldview can engage in incarnational ministry.
Do you sense God calling you to serve in Europe? But are you still unclear about the where, the how, or what this calling means exactly?
How many times have we been told to just “follow our passion” to discover our vocation? But this passion-first mentality has serious flaws.
In Genesis, we learn about God’s intent for men and women to work together to steward the created order.
Lord willing, there will be different chapters and seasons in lives after school. Discover how to live devoted to Jesus and his mission through all of life’s transitions.
Come learn how to follow Jesus and share the gospel in cultures that are not as direct as the one you live in.
Hear an overview of the Bible’s faithful witness to God’s creation of the nations (ethne). He has gathered together a multicultural, diverse kingdom people.
Come hear how God is at work in the Middle East. We’ll consider current issues and opportunities to reach this region with the gospel.
Many people think of God as wrathful, smiting people for no apparent reason. The Old Testament seems to portray God as malevolent, punishing enemies with extreme prejudice.
The world has approximately five billion non-Christians, and many do not even have a church or faith community nearby.
There are many ways to think about being involved overseas and cross-culturally.
Get an overview of how rapidly Christianity in China has spread in the last 30 years.
Jesus has gone global. What began in Jerusalem and spread to Asia and Europe has now reached over two billion people in every corner of the world.
We preach the gospel not in words or actions, but with our whole lives—for better or worse. We must be self-aware, especially when reaching across cultures.
Have you ever felt lost about the next step to take or how God may be leading you? A significant part of our Christian walk is learning how to listen to the Holy Spirit.
Jonah believed that God should only have redemptive purposes for his own people, and he actively hindered God’s plans. But his story proves that God loves all people.
Explore how to reach Caribbean students with the good news.
Although the Japanese are one of the world’s largest unreached people groups, most missionaries don’t even think about going to Japan.
Most missionaries can remember that one sermon, the one that inspired them to commit their lives to Jesus and his global purposes.
Missionaries can often enter a region with a “lone ranger” mindset, doing the work completely independent of local Christians or criticizing them for not having enough boldness to do evangelism the
Trends of imperialism, conquest, and the development of racist ideologies undoubtedly influenced the history of missions with repercussions that continue on even today.
What is the biblical model for sustained prayer? Is that model applicable today, and if so, where can it be found?
Understanding a person’s worldview is critical in effectively communicating the gospel.
Sabbath is more than just a day off. The culture and vision of Sabbath form a revolutionary core to our calling of justice and witness in the world.
A major challenge in missions is staying emotionally and spiritually healthy. Together we’ll examine obstacles to self-care and learn how to stay healthy in a cross-cultural context.
Many people have mixed feelings and flawed interpretations about the Old Testament. But when properly understood, it becomes a foundational part of Christian life and missions.
Going on a short-term missions trip? What will be the lasting impact for both you and your global partners? God means to disciple those he sends.
Sometimes we think that we’re called to do life on our own.
Serving and leading in God’s mission is a lot of fun—until it’s not. Are you wondering how to stay strong in Christ for the long haul?
Together we will consider the current cultural moment along with the recent changes and opportunities for Christians to engage in the midst of our increasingly outraged society.
Learn about the influence of gender and race in missions, and how diversity and inclusion need to be a best practice in order to reach everyone with the gospel.
An old proverb states, “Men resemble the times more than they resemble their fathers.” In this way, each generation comes with a different feel and flavor.
It’s often said that faith is spelled R-I-S-K. The greatest adventures with God are those where we push beyond what we can accomplish on our own and rely on Christ’s faithfulness.
Explore the joys, challenges, risks, and benefits of raising a family in another country. Discover how families can thrive in cross-cultural settings while pursuing God’s global mission.
Vocation is integral, not incidental, to the mission of God.
Opportunities abound for you to join God’s global mission! Discover some of the best opportunities to serve in obvious and obscure places in countries where the need for the gospel is great.
Ever wondered what it takes to translate the Bible? Come explore how Bible translation takes shape.
What if God could use you to influence the future government, business, and culture leaders in some of the least reached places in the world . . . before you graduate?
Christians believe faith without works is dead, but what happens when we take work too far?
Explore why the worldwide Church is divinely called to multicultural worship.
A culture where Jesus’ first commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart,” is prioritized empowers us to follow his second commandment well, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Join us t
We will explore the challenges and benefits of being an adult third culture kid as we seek our unique role in the kingdom of God.
Missions in Every Community
Join former Division I athletes for a candid conversation and Q&A session. Learn how to embrace your ethnic identity and influence as an athlete to share and live out the gospel.
A specialist in the study of culture discusses collective identity and the role it can play in the growth of the Church.
Recognize how we can survive and thrive together peaceably in spite of deep and sometimes irresolvable differences over politics, religion, sexuality, and other important matters.
Learn the Creator’s heart to be good guests in every land and with every people by honoring him, his creation, and his first stewards.
God has given us a spirit and body.
International student ministry must begin with the end in mind: preparing students to successfully reenter their home country and continue to grow in their faith in Christ.
Hear stories and experiences of how God has used an artist’s passion to go past the surface to move the hearts of those around her.
Christians from various countries are actively, positively engaging with the people of North Korea. Come hear tangible examples and personal stories of Christians serving this nation.
The scientific community is important but also can be intimidating. Discern how to confidently live out the gospel in this context.
Athletes have their own culture. They think with specific mindsets, have unique lifestyles, and struggle with their own set of issues.
Learn how foreign Christians living and working in North Korea can express their faith.
What do Martin Luther King Jr., Ronald Reagan, Condoleezza Rice, and Warren Buffet have in common? They were members of fraternities or sororities.
Is science an obstacle for faith and missions? Gain a fresh perspective on answering this difficult question.
When we arrive overseas to serve the Lord, we tend to make ministry plans based on our own culture and experience.
How do you find your place at Urbana? What does vocational calling mean for high school students?
Christians continue to be underrepresented and misrepresented in film and on TV. Come learn how we can better represent ourselves and reflect Christ’s image in our art.
Multiethnic witnessing communities on college campuses offer hope to a divided world.
Learn effective outreach strategies and how to share the gospel through the lens of reaching Japanese university students.
God’s mission to reach all people with his love includes Queer and Same-Sex Attracted (Q/SSA) people and communities.
The perceived conflict between science and Christianity causes many unchurched people to dispute Scripture and others to leave their faith.
God has hidden redemptive analogies in every culture of the world. Veiled in the arts, they are bridges to the gospel. The arts also help root Christianity in new cultures.
Writing about matters of faith and church can be a beautiful and challenging missional activity. We will explore the calling of the Christian writer and the intersection between writing and faith.
Hollywood influences and defines our culture—which is why Christians need to be working there.
Music continues to have a significant impact on our world. Discover why it’s important to consider cultural principles and norms before attempting to move across cultures musically.
Discover how Christians can maintain their faith, overcome obstacles, and develop a sense of calling within academia.
Sports are a space for fun, building relationships, and sharing life. They can also provide an excellent opportunity to share your faith.
Learn from a diverse panel of women in academia how to navigate challenges and opportunities in the university world while seeking to be a faithful witness.
Missions with the Marginalized
While trafficking and slavery target individual victims, they are rooted in systems of laws and policies that impact entire societies.
How does God call us to respond to the immigration crisis? What unique contributions are Christians called to make?
Our globalized world is borderless. Millions of people are migrating: immigrants, refugees, international students, business people.
Due to the greatest refugee crisis since World War II, millions of Muslims have been displaced.
God invites us to be prophetic agents of change, seeking to bring slavery to an end.
God is drawing the nations to North America. Come learn how he is calling you and your church or campus ministry to extend biblical hospitality to the displaced.
People of all ages from all over the world experience trauma caused by events like war, criminal activity, sexual abuse, human trafficking, natural disasters, and addictions.
Hear from a survivor of war—who found life in the midst of death—about how countries at war are opening their doors to outside help and missions work.
In a world of increased migration caused by conflict, disasters, and abject poverty, numerous opportunities exist to reach those from places with no access to the gospel.
Ending the injustice of human trafficking is a clarion call to this generation.
In war-torn refugee populations, adolescent girls are often the most traumatized and are highly vulnerable to the effects of gripping poverty, sexual violence, and trafficking.
Seventy to eighty percent of domestic sex trafficking victims in North America come from foster care and probationary systems. How can we change this?
Explore the history and foundation of mass incarceration, as well as Christianity’s role in its expansion.
We will explore the biblical foundation of justice, the current status of human trafficking around the world, and practical ways the church can engage in the fight to end modern slavery in our comm
The current immigration crisis is undoubtedly serious but not unprecedented. What does it say about our world and us? What issues of identity and idolatry may it uncover?
How do we help bring healing to wounded hearts and souls, especially among urban poor women?
Preparing to Go
Studying abroad isn’t just about taking classes or exploring new places. God wants to be involved in your study abroad experience and use it to shape you.
We are called to lead lives marked by faith, trust, and peace. Changing habits of worry means changing our perspective and welcoming God’s transformative work in our beliefs.
Have you ever hesitated to respond to God’s call, wondering what you could possibly do for his kingdom?
Poet Mary Oliver asks, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” As Christians, we long to respond to this question by faithfully stewarding God’s gift of life.
The need for leaders who love God and his mission in the world is greater than ever.
How do we live between “Fear not, you can only be killed" (Luke 12:4) and our desire to live comfortably? How do fear, passion, and obedience intertwine when accepting God’s calling?
God is raising up people of color in missions for such a time as this by blessing us with unique gifts in ministry.
Fundraising for missions can be very challenging, but God says he will meet our needs. How can these both be true?
Surrender to Jesus is life-defining, but fear, failure, and misunderstanding often keep us from following him.
Learn how to be equipped as emerging Latina leaders. Grow in your relationship with Jesus as you seek to maximize your influence in this world.
Paul wanted to know “the power of [Christ’s] resurrection and participation in his sufferings” (Philippians 3:10).
Today’s geopolitical realities mean it’s time for a new kind of missionary—you!
You’ve said yes to God’s call to overseas missions. Now what?
Deepen your biblical understanding of fundraising. Use this time and space to process some of the emotions and questions you might be wrestling with as you sense God’s call to ministry.
The saying goes that a man knocking on the door of a brothel is looking for God. Are sexuality and spirituality more connected than we think?
Learn what key abilities every missionary needs to build cross-cultural relationships and accomplish the gospel’s work when living abroad, based upon a groundbreaking study of 949 missionaries work
God is with us, even in our hardest moments. Come learn how to navigate through depression, trauma, and a sense of hopelessness.
Many of us think getting involved in missions requires you to be a certain type of person with a very specific skill set.
Understanding and Engaging Global Faiths
In an era with strong viewpoints on all sides and frequent misunderstandings, how can we look like Christ to Muslims?
Do you wish you could get into more spiritual conversations with Muslim friends? One of the best ways is through sharing gospel stories.
Learn how to have productive conversations with unbelieving friends, neighbors, and coworkers.
Muslim women on campus are a diverse group, coming from different countries with different longings, needs, and understandings of their faith.
Hindus are generally loving, hospitable, religious, and culturally diverse. However, it is not easy to reach them with the gospel.
The Church of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, constitutes a large, unreached people group, both globally and in the U.S.
In the last 20 years, more and more Muslims have chosen to follow Jesus despite social pressure and persecution.