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Published on 21 October, 2004

Urbana student missions event changing venues

USA (MNN) — Alec Hill, President of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship , announced that InterVarsity’s 21st Urbana Student Mission Convention will have a new look and a new location when it convenes in December 2006. This time it will be in St. Louis, Missouri. It will, however, continue the tradition of offering college students and recent graduates a world-class exposure to global missions in a unique five-day event between Christmas and New Year’s.

Jim Tebbe, InterVarsity Vice-President and Director of Missions, is looking forward to innovations for Urbana ’06 at its new location in downtown St. Louis, He says changing Urbana is an exciting opportunity to further the convention’s unique legacy in North America and around the world.

Tebbe says there are a couple of reasons for the change. “Moving to a new location gives you an opportunity to look at the program through new eyes and new ways of doing things. Another thing is growth. At any given time we get 20,000 people who attend Urbana. Well, there are 15-million students in the United States and we’ve been maxed out for the past 20 years.”

The move will also cut the number of full-time staff and volunteers needed to run the event from 1,600 to a fraction of that, allowing them to spend quality time with the students.

This change will allow Urbana to expand the program offerings, thus allowing them to provide more insight into world missions. Tebbe says, “We see an enormous interest in the world and God’s purposes in the world in young people. They have something to offer. And, I don’t believe that our old paradigm for missions is sufficient for what it is that God wants to do among His people. And, every person who comes to Urbana should be a part of God’s mission.”

Christians are being asked to pray now for Urbana ’06 as planning is under way for the program. Tebbe says pray, “That it brings students front and center, that they are the ones who are being called of God and that they’re being challenged to think from their paradigms and their understanding of the way God works in their lives and do a new and quite different thing in the years to come.”

Urbana 06 hopes to include a commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Haystack Prayer Meeting, a student gathering that marked the beginning of the modern missions movement in North America. Tebbe is confident that the emphases of the Word, the world, and prayer, will continue to be the hallmarks of future Urbana conventions.

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