Posted on February 8, 2023 Emerging Leaders at Urbana 22’ Rise Up

At the end of December 2022, International Ministries (IM) and the Emerging Leaders Cohort (ELC) attend the youth conference Urbana 22’ Rise Up. The Emerging Leaders Cohort took four of its members to participate and be stretched by this experience. The ELC members attended sessions focused on diversity, racial justice, inclusion, self-care, and more. They were a part of small group bible studies and visited with hundreds of other organizations in the exhibit hall. Each ELC member felt stretched by God’s presence, enriched by conversations with peers, and empowered through worship to be on fire for God. The paragraphs below were written by two of these young adults. Reflect with them as they share the impact this conference had on their journey.


Hi! I am Nicole, and I am a 2022-2024 ELC Connector. In December, I had the pleasure of traveling to Indianapolis, Indiana, to attend the Urbana Mission Conference. This was one of the most unique things I have ever experienced. On the first night of the conference, we got to experience a traditional ceremony that honored the local Miami people. I learned a lot about history, and it was nice to see people being respectful of other cultures. Another aspect of the conference that I was amazed by was the live worship music. The band was phenomenal, and it was so refreshing to see thousands of young adults on fire for Jesus.


During the day, I had the ability to attend seminars. I went to a few, including one discussing mental health in the mission field and how to read the Bible with people from other religions. The speakers were very insightful, and I find myself much better prepared to serve now. We also had the opportunity to walk around Connections Hall and meet people from many organizations. I met quite a few people who still communicate with me regularly and are helping me discern my call from God. Despite all these amazing things, I think my favorite part of Urbana was getting to meet my ELC team in person for the first time. I can tell these friendships will last for a lifetime! Thank you to the entire IM Family for making this trip possible!

By: Nicole, Connector 22


Urbana was a great experience for all involved. Once everyone arrived, we all clicked like old friends. The conference itself was amazing. Of the worship sessions, I personally preferred the songs that were sung in other languages. Surprisingly, I was more moved by those than by some of the English ones. The Seminars that I attended were very informational. Specifically, the seminar on racial justice I attended forced me to broaden my views on injustice and how we, as Christians, can effectively combat it in ourselves and our churches. The most memorable thing for me will be all the people and their stories. Whether I met them in the Connections Hall, at a booth, over a coffee, or after a seminar, talking and hearing where they were coming from and catching a glimpse of how they viewed their experiences was so precious. If I have the opportunity to go back someday, that will be what I most look forward to.

By: Ricky, Connector 22



As part of ELC’s time at Urbana 22’ these young adults took over the Short-Term Mission Desk’s podcast entitled Bridges for Mission (B4M).

These episodes are linked below.


Pre-Urbana with ELC

ELC Urbana Daily Reflections

Let’s talk: Global Servant to Emerging Leader

Let’s talk: Emerging Leader to Urbana participant

What did you think: debriefing Urbana 22’