This is an article from the January-February 2007 issue: God’s Patchwork Quilt

Urbana and Perspectives

Meant to Go Together

Urbana and Perspectives

Peanut butter and jelly, lattes and biscotti, Urbana and Perspectives: things that go great together. The Perspectives course has enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with the Urbana student mission convention since Perspectives began. In fact, the whole idea for Perspectives grew out of the unexpected and dramatic surge of mission interest among students at Urbana ’73.

During the tumultuous 1960s mission interest among students had nosedived, yet the wind of the Holy Spirit began to blow on a new generation. Observers at Urbana ’73 were stunned when Billy Graham issued the call for students to commit to world evangelization and thousands stood to their feet. That year 28% of Urbana’s participants signed mission commitment cards – four times the response from the previous convention.

Mission leader Ralph Winter pondered: Could this be the beginning of another Student Volunteer Movement? The Student Volunteer Movement of the early 20th century swept across college campuses, producing tens of thousands of mission recruits – the largest student mission movement in history. How, Winter wondered, can we encourage and inform this new movement, helping students know how to act on their early commitment? What will sustain their commitment once they return to busy campus life with all its distractions? Winter envisioned a course where students could be exposed to the current state of the world, God’s work to accomplish His purposes in the world, and avenues to discover their roles in the Father’s plan. A prototype of Perspectives thus emerged in the summer of 1974.

At Urbana ’76 an incredible 50% of the students signed cards indicating their willingness to pursue whatever God’s purposes were for them in world mission. Ralph and Roberta Winter were at Urbana ’76, calling students to face the challenge of unreached peoples. A young man named Steve Hawthorne was also at Urbana ’76, and that Urbana and the follow-up Perspectives course changed the direct

on of his life. Hawthorne and Winter went on to edit the first edition of the Perspectives Reader and published it just in time for its debut at Urbana ’81.
The Perspectives course has been challenging and equipping students ever since. But today Perspectives has impacted not only students, but also pastors, laypeople, and others in the U.S. and across the globe. In North America alone more than 80,000 Perspectives alumni are now working out their roles in the fulfillment of God’s purposes.

Are you a student with a commitment to pursue God’s global purposes? Maybe you are not a student, yet you seek a stronger framework for your obedience in mission. Out of the vast array of mission opportunities and agencies, where do you begin? With expectations and pressures from family, friends and finances, how can you keep your commitment alive? Perspectives is designed for you – to help you take the next steps. Urbana and Perspectives: some things just go together!


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