Urbana 15 Raises $940K for Missions Partners, Announces 2018 Dates

(Photo: InterVarsity)Urbana 15, held in St. Louis, Missouri from December 27-31, 2015, was the largest student missions conference of its kind in the world, drawing over 16,000 attendees.
(Photo: InterVarsity)Students respond to the call to commitment at Urbana 15, held in St. Louis, Missouri from December 27-31, 2015. Urbana is the largest student missions conference of its kind in the world, drawing over 16,000 attendees.
(Photo: InterVarsity)Patrick Fung, MD, director of OMF International, addresses attendees of Urbana 15, held in St. Louis, Missouri from December 27-31, 2015.
(Photo: InterVarsity)Evelyne Reisacher, associate professor of Islamic Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary, talks about ministry to Muslims before crowds at Urbana 15, held in St. Louis, Missouri from December 27-31, 2015.

Following its five-day student missions conference which drew 16,000 attendees, Urbana 15 released figures on New Year's Day summarizing major milestones reached by the organization and its participants — among those accomplishments, raising over $940,000.

Urbana announced the fundraising feat via Twitter, sharing the good news with more than 11,000 followers. "$940K+ Raised for our missions partners around the world," read the graphic posted to the social media site on Jan. 1.

The funds were raised "the old fashioned way," said InterVarsity Internet editor and media relations liaison Gordon Govier in an email shared with The Christian Post Wednesday.

During a single night of Urbana 15, donations were deposited into collection buckets dispersed throughout the Edward Jones Dome where the conference was held, Govier explained. "Of course, some people also gave online."

Funds raised from Urbana 15 surpassed totals collected during Urbana 12 when $800,000 was donated by attendees, according to the InterVarsity website.

Govier said the funds raised will go to Urbana's many missions partners, in both the U.S. and abroad. At least 12 organizations were listed on the Urbana website, from the Boys and Girls Club located in Ferguson, Missouri, and Wycliffe Bible Translators with offices worldwide, to organizations overseas in the Middle East, such as Elam Ministries in Iran and Jerusalem Evangelistic Outreach situated in Palestine.

For each organization, Urbana provides details on its website as to how the funds it donates will be put to use. For example, monies donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater St. Louis will be used to " … strengthen and bring healing to specifically the Ferguson community through youth mentoring, leadership development, and educational programs."

For the Jerusalem Evangelistic Outreach "the Urbana 15 offering will go towards production of audio visuals and multimedia Christian material that will be used to teach the people that Jerusalem Evangelist[ic] Outreach encounters."

Generous monetary donations were only one of the many positives that resulted from the triennial conference. Along with the fundraising milestone, Urbana 15 also announced that there were 681 "decisions of faith," 5,058 students who had committed to short-term missions, 9,524 students who had committed to pray for the global church, and 5,418 students committed to "taking the book of Matthew back to campus."

"InterVarsity places a high value on Bible study," Govier said in regards to students taking the book of Matthew back to campus. "It was emphasized at Urbana and it's emphasized on campus."

Govier shared a statement from Urbana Director Tom Lin about his hopes for conference attendees and for furthering God's global mission.

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

On New Year's Day, Lin tweeted that the next Urbana student missions conference will be Dec. 27-31, 2018, in St. Louis, Missouri.

Urbana is co-hosted by InterVarsity/USA, Inter-Varsity Canada, and Groupes Bibliques Universitaires et Collégiaux du Canada.

Founded in 1941, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA is an inter-denominational, Evangelical campus ministry that establishes and promotes witnessing communities of students and faculty.

Email me: kevin.porter@christianpost.com
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