Urbana Is Not Like Other Conferences
October 13, 2015
For Immediate Release
(Madison, WI) --- Urbana 15, InterVarsity’s 24th Student Missions Conference, will take place December 27-31, 2015, in St. Louis, MO.
In the 69 years since InterVarsity’s first student missions conference, the number of options for attending similar events has exploded. But Urbana remains distinct in its ability to call students to engage in God’s global mission and provide them with practical resources to respond to the challenge.
Urbana is unique because it is the only conference in North America that has the convening power to gather global voices not only from various ethnicities and nationalities, but also from diverse fields, areas of expertise, and vocations. The speakers are exemplary Christian leaders who bring their global and domestic experiences to the Urbana audience. Urbana 15 speakers include the following:
- Patrick Fung, general director of OMF International and a medical doctor living in Singapore, will exposit passages of Scripture from the Gospel of Matthew.
- Christena Cleveland, a reconciliation professor and the director of the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School, will teach about the power of unity in a world of division.
- Francis Chan, a church planter and the founder of Radius International, will challenge participants to submit their whole lives to the lordship of Christ.
- Evelyne Reisacher, an Islamic studies professor at Fuller Theological Seminary and a French missiologist, will speak on joyful witness among Muslims.
- Allan Matamoros, a native of Costa Rica now serving as regional director with Partners International in Jordan, will invite participants into global partnership in missions.
- MaryKate Morse, a professor of leadership and spiritual formation at George Fox Evangelical Seminary, will teach on intercessory prayer as one way to partner with the global church.
- David Platt, president of the International Mission Board, will call participants to stay focused on Jesus as they follow him with their whole lives.
- Steve Colby, director of missions for Inter-Varsity Canada, will teach on the impact and value of short-term missions in discipleship.
- Michelle Higgins, director of worship and outreach for South City Church in St. Louis, will compel participants to think missiologically about the intersection and relationship between domestic involvement in missions and international service.
- Tom Lin, director of Urbana 15 and vice president of missions for InterVarsity/USA, will share his own story of commitment to Christ and to God’s mission and invite participants to join the journey.
The theme of Urbana 15, What Story Will You Tell?, comes from the Gospel of Matthew, which will be deeply studied at Urbana. Participants will be invited to allow God to shape their stories and to find their place in his mission by proclaiming the hope of Jesus in the midst of a dark world—on campus, in their local context, and around the world.
Worship at Urbana will include a variety of music and traditions, representing sisters and brothers in Christ from around the world and inviting participants to partner with them. There will also be 200 seminars led by scholars, missionaries, and practitioners who will offer insight gained through decades of experience. And participants will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from 250+ missions agencies and seminaries—more than at any other place and time.
Additionally, a select group of Urbana 15 participants will participate in experiential learning in an unprecedented way: a hackathon focusing on missions, guided by two NASA technologists.
The impact of Urbana is immeasurable as participants embrace God’s call to give their whole lives for his global mission. At the last Urbana, over 28 percent of participants committed to give more than two years of their lives to long-term missions, and 38 percent committed to short-term missions.
“While the world changes rapidly and each student generation changes, the purpose of Urbana has remained steadfast,” said Tom Lin. “Urbana has always focused on missions mobilization to the ends of the earth as well as to our own backyards in North America. At Urbana 15, we will challenge this generation to give their whole lives to God’s mission, proclaiming and demonstrating the gospel around the world.”
The Urbana Student Missions Conference began in Toronto in 1946 and is held every three years. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA is an interdenominational ministry to university students in the United States with 40,000 students involved on 649 campuses nationwide. InterVarsity is a founding member of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, which advances Christian student work in over 150 countries.
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