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Students Commit to Missions in Record Numbers

Some 4,224 students from U.S. and Canadian colleges pledged themselves to long-term missionary service at the close of Urbana 12 in St. Louis, MO, on New Year’s Eve. That is twice as many as the last student missionary conference in 2009. All the other measured outcomes of the conference broke records, making this the most responsive student conference for foreign missions since the end of World War II.

“This generation is soft-hearted and tender toward the Lord,” said Tom Lin, Urbana director for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. “They are ready to make commitments and respond to global challenges.”

Besides the participants who made long-term commits, 8,815 also checked boxes saying they will go on short- or mid-term missions. In addition, 3,700 students made personal recommitments of their faith and 96 made first-time decisions to follow Christ.

Urbana 2012 will be remembered for many innovations. More than half the music was in languages other than English—mostly Chinese, Hindi, Korean, and Spanish. For the first time, there was only one Anglo male presenter, David Platt. All the other preachers were African, Chinese, Native American, or female. More than 44 percent of the 16,000 participants were internationals or multi-ethnic Americans.

Social media and technology were utilized in new ways. Parts of the program were streamed on the Internet. Tweets from the audience ran live on five giant screens during sessions. There was also a live exchange with the International House of Prayer’s “One Thing” prayer conference being held simultaneously in Kansas City, MO.

Urbana prayer rooms were open 24 hours around the clock in 20 hotels. Students could also spend time in prayer rooms at the conference center. The missional prayer room was designed to foster ongoing listening to the Holy Spirit and intercession for campuses, cities, countries, and the world. The prayer ministry room was led by prayer ministers available to guide students in prayers of blessing, affirmation, confession, restoration, healing, and freedom. Students could also spend time in the worship room, proclaiming Jesus as the center of Urbana and Lord of the nations.

BILL BRAY is a special correspondent who frequently contributes to ASSIST News Service.

Prayer Connect magazine


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