Urbana Ripples Around the Globe


Madison WI — A small contingent attending InterVarsity’s Urbana 06 Student Missions Convention next December in St. Louis will be from Christian groups outside the U.S. that are planning their own student missions conventions.

Lindsay Brown, the General Secretary of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, told a briefing at InterVarsity’s National Service Center that he believes these events are one of the greatest legacies of Urbana. “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.”

A recent student missions convention held in Kenya attracted 2,500 delegates from 16 East African countries. Some delegates traveled for five days in order to get there.

“I have no doubt that God is raising up a whole phalanx of missions groups through these [other] Urbanas,” Lindsay said.

Between now and 2009, when another U.S. Urbana is scheduled, at least six large student missions conventions will be held in other parts of the world.

  • In India, September 2006, the conference will attract Christian students from across South Asia.
  • In Russia or Ukraine, the conference will be for students in Eurasia.
  • Rwanda will be the first such conference in French-speaking Africa. (Rwanda is the home of the biggest local student fellowship in the world. The student chapter at Butare University numbers about 3,000.) “This will be a watershed for missionary vision in Francophone Africa,” Lindsay said.
  • In Kenya or Nigeria, perhaps both, a conference for English-speaking African nations
  • A Bolivia or Colombia conference will focus on Latin America.
  • Jamaica’s conference will be for students from around the Caribbean.


“These events represent a growing missionary vision across the world,” Lindsay said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that Urbana has contributed to it.” The growth has been like a domino effect as students from one part of the world attend or learn about a missions convention elsewhere. They say “Why can’t we do this? It’s our turn now.” InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA is a founding member of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, which now has student works in 150 countries.