InterVarsity hosted its 26th Urbana Student Missions Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, December 28-31, 2022, inviting almost 6,000 participants to see themselves as God has created and called them — as witnesses of his glory to the ends of the earth.
Through onstage testimonies of people living out their faith across vocations and nations each morning and Bible expositions from the book of Acts each evening, Urbana created a space for participants to see the Holy Spirit empowered witness of a global Church.
Students also had time to dig into God’s Word for themselves — through student-led Bible studies. In the months leading up to Urbana, InterVarsity equipped over 620 student leaders from chapters across the country to lead their peers through three morning Bible studies. “I really loved my group,” one student leader said. “I felt like we were all learning from each other, and it wasn’t just me leading. It was a group discussion we were all contributing to.”
A major highlight of the conference came when these student leaders gave an invitation to faith in response to the story of the Ethiopian and Philip (Acts 8:26-40). “These student leaders took a risky step of faith, and they saw their peers say yes to the good news of Jesus! They saw God work through their obedience,” said Greg Jao, Executive Vice President of Communications and Mobilization. “They are going back to their campuses excited and eager to invite more friends and classmates to know Jesus too.”
Students also got to hear from fellow students, like Naomi, during general sessions about the ways God has called them to say yes. Naomi shared about how much God has grown her faith since she started college from leading an InterVarsity small group, even though she was an introvert, to ultimately planting a Black Campus Ministries chapter during the pandemic. “When it comes to my faith journey, there has been this theme of trusting God, even when it feels like there is no way some things could happen,” she said.
In the afternoons, participants had a broad range of opportunities to explore how messages from Scripture and general session testimonies applied to their own lives, including prayer ministry and next steps coaching, a Connections Hall with 190-plus missions organizations and seminaries, and over 150 seminars on topics ranging from business as mission to local outreach.
Participants came to Urbana from all across the U.S. and even the globe, weathering storms and significant travel delays. For example, after their flight was cancelled, two students in California decided to drive 30-plus hours to Indianapolis — and even picked up another stranded student in Oklahoma. “Seeing God working in so many cool ways was something I didn’t want to miss,” one of them said.
On the final day of Urbana, participants were called to consider their next step following Urbana, including making a commitment to regularly praying for the global Church, inviting a friend to study Scripture, or cross-cultural or global missions.
“A next step of obedience the Lord is inviting me to is building relationships with people that I have in my circle, to be bold about my faith,” one student said.
“Urbana has invigorated that passion for missions in my heart,” another reflected. “I’m excited to see where the Lord takes me.”
For more information, visit urbana.org/conference for general session and summary videos, seminar recordings, and more.