The International Urbana Movement

Urbana 09 News Release #4
For Immediate Release

(Madison) –- The influence of InterVarsity’s Urbana student missions conference, the longest running student conference in the world, is being multiplied by a wave of new Urbana-type conferences in many other countries. What began as a movement of North American students in 1946 in Toronto is being increasingly owned by university students from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Urbana 09, InterVarsity’s 22nd triennial conference, will be held in St. Louis December 27-31, 2009. More than 20,000 attendees are expected to come to Urbana to learn more about God’s mission in the world and how they could be a part of it. (The early registration deadline, for the best conference rate, is June 30, 2009.)

The number of men and women who have gone onto the mission field, or even the number of lives that have been redirected, because God spoke to them at Urbana, is uncountable. Some began preparing for their mission immediately after their Urbana experience, others answered God’s call only after years or even decades had passed. But in recent years a multiplier effect has been observed. Some who have attended Urbana came to see how they could replicate the conference in their own country.

Lindsay Brown, former General Secretary of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES), has stated that “The spin-off of other conferences may have a greater impact on the spread of the gospel than all of the American missionaries sent overseas from Urbana.” These conferences are growing in number, frequency, and impact.

The missions offering taken at each Urbana conference has traditionally been directed towards student ministry in other countries. Sixteen percent of the $1.2 million offering from Urbana 06 was dedicated to nurturing other student missions conferences. Here are some of the conferences that benefitted from the Urbana 06 offering.

The Nigeria Fellowship of Evangelical Students 2007 Missions Conference was attended by 6,000 students and graduates.

The Francophone Africa Missions Conference over Christmas 2007 drew more than 400 students and staff from 14 countries.

Commission of FOCUS Kenya met over the Christmas holiday in 2008. The conference was delayed one year after the horrific events following the 2007 election; it was enthusiastically attended by over 2,500 students.

The South Asia Student Leaders’ Missions Conference, scheduled for Bangladesh in December, 2007 was relocated to Kathmandu, Nepal in January, 2008, due to devastation caused by tropical cyclone, Sidr. Sixty student leaders from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India and Nepal attended.

VIVE 2009 was presented by the IFES student ministry, COMPA, April 4-9, 2009, in Guadalajara, Mexico. About 700 students from Mexico and neighboring countries, gathered along with 200 professionals and church members.

Indonesian Students for the Harvest, held in July 2007, called on over 500 participants to make local missions their lifestyle and part of their daily walk with God.

The Mission-Live 2006 Conference was held in Herrnhut, Germany. Students attending Mission-Live came from eastern Germany, the Czech Republic and elsewhere in Europe. About 350 attendees decided to become missionaries.

The second South-American International Mission Conference, CIMA2010, will meet in Cordoba, Argentina next January. The organizers, CEC (international and inter-denominational workers among local evangelical Latin-American churches), anticipate 2,000 students attending from countries in the ‘Southern Cone’ of Latin America.

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is an interdenominational ministry to university students in the United States with over 32,000 students involved on 550 campuses nationwide. InterVarsity is a founding member of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, advancing Christian student work in 150 countries.

For more information go to or contact:
Christy Chappell