Reflections on Campus Ministry from Nigeria

Tom Lin, president, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA
January 31, 2017

A few weeks ago, I was with InterVarsity’s sister movement in Nigeria, at their student missions conference, which is similar to our Urbana Student Missions Conference. Nigerian staff and students worshiped loudly, passionately, hopefully, at a conference center guarded by security forces with automatic machine guns. A terrorist attack was possible at any moment.

In the midst of persecution by Boko Haram, where 1.5 million have already been forced from their homes and are without food in the Muslim North, thousands of students accepted the call to intentionally move to the North because, as they shared with me: “We won’t give in to fear. The gospel is worth sacrificing our lives.”

Tom Lin Named InterVarsity President

May 16, 2016

For Immediate Release

(Madison, WI) --- InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA announces that Tom Lin has been selected by the InterVarsity Board of Trustees to become the next president of the campus ministry. He will start on August 10.

Tom has been vice president and director of missions for InterVarsity since February 2011, and also director of Urbana 12 and Urbana 15, InterVarsity’s triennial student missions conference. He succeeds Jim Lundgren, who has served as InterVarsity’s interim president for the past year.

InterVarsity Seeks Urbana Director

February 24, 2016

For Immediate Release

(Madison, WI) – InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s triennial Urbana Student Missions conference will have new leadership when Urbana 18 takes place in St. Louis, Missouri, in December 2018. Tom Lin, InterVarsity vice president and director of missions, has announced the search for a new Urbana director.

Lin and his predecessor, Jim Tebbe, both held the job of Urbana director and director of missions simultaneously. But at other times in the past, the two jobs have been separated. “Global and generational transitions have created new opportunities in missions,” Lin said. “We want to bring increased creativity, spiritual leadership, and cross-cultural savvy to meet this God-given opportunity. A full-time director will enable Urbana to innovate new ways to mobilize this ethnically diverse student generation to give their whole lives to God’s global mission.”

A New Generation of Stories

January 7, 2016

 (Madison, WI) ---Attendees were asked, “What Story Will You Tell?” at Urbana 15, InterVarsity’s triennial student missions conference. And they answered with bold commitments to let God direct their stories.

“At Urbana 15, we challenged this generation to tell the Jesus' story with their lives, and to learn from stories that are different than theirs,” said Urbana director Tom Lin. “I pray that this generation will give their whole hearts to Jesus and surrender their lives for God's global mission.”

Urbana 15 Commissioning Service

December 16, 2015

Eleven days in advance of the opening of Urbana 15, InterVarsity’s triennial student missions conference, leaders and staff gathered at InterVarsity’s National Service Center in Madison, Wisconsin, for a Commissioning Service. "I'm excited about the fruit of our labor that we'll be able to see in just over a week," said Urbana director Tom Lin.

Tom compared the Urbana team to the Israelites, getting ready to cross the Jordan River. “We’re not quite there yet, we’re at a Joshua 3 moment,” he said. In Joshua 3:5, the leader of the Israelites tells his people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”

Tom noted that the verse doesn’t talk about persevering, or what to pack, or what not to worry about. “Consecration is setting ourselves apart completely for the Lord,” he said. “We’re making space for God to do his work in us, making us holy.”  

Technology & Missions Intersect at Urbana 15

November 9, 2015


(Madison, WI) – Tech-savvy participants at InterVarsity’s Urbana 15 will be challenged by Hack4Missions, Urbana’s first ever hackathon December 27-31, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. Students will prototype new ideas and create real-time solutions to challenges confronting missions organizations. 

Urbana Is Not Like Other Conferences

October 13, 2015


(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.

Read the rest of this news release at urbana.org.

The Redemptive Power of Suffering

Cora Ebley
July 28, 2015

“I could feel myself dying.”

Reid Satterfield lay on the floor of his mud hut, feeling the life bleeding out of him. He had already tied a tourniquet of sorts on his friend Erik’s arm, whose artery had been severed by a bullet wound. But now Erik had passed out and Reid was left alone, with no one to tend the gunshot wound to his shoulder and medical help four hours away. Surprisingly, he felt a tremendous peace about dying.

Then the Lord spoke to Reid: “You’re not going to die. Ask me to stop the bleeding.” Reid asked, and within moments, the huge wound clotted itself.

This was not Reid’s first experience with suffering as a missionary to the Aringa people in Uganda. He and April, his wife, had moved to Uganda in 1999 and then into an Aringa village just after Easter in 2000. But Reid had spent two to three of their first eight months there in bed with malaria.

Elisabeth Elliot - Serving God's Global Mission

June 16, 2015

Elisabeth Elliot lived her life in service to God and his global mission. She lived responsive to God's call and echoed that call at the four Urbana Student Missions Conferences at which she spoke (Urbana 73, 76, 79 and Urbana 96). Each time, she challenged her listeners to obey the call of God on their lives. She was 88 when her earthly life of obedience ended on June 15, 2015.

Read the rest of this story on InterVarsity's Urbana blog.

Escape from Poverty

Jessica Fick
April 14, 2015

“I don’t think I’d ever thought about a poor person.”

As a senior from the University of Illinois at Urbana 96, Marie Koch sat in the auditorium spellbound by the short video on the screen about the poor. “It was haunting,” she said. “I was crying and overwhelmed. I felt powerless—this is happening and I didn’t even care.”

Majoring in finance, Marie was prepared to help companies grow their businesses. But at Urbana she realized that she had never considered the plight of the poor.

Ironically, just three years earlier Marie was frustrated that students—Christian students—would be taking over her dorm room during Christmas break to attend Urbana, hosted at that time by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “They stayed in my dorm and then left us Jesus literature that I read in a mocking voice to girls on my hall,” she recalled.

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