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News Around the World
Published on 11 September, 2007

Growing interest in spirituality provides new ministry avenues

USA
(MNN) — A recent poll indicates that college students are very interested in
spirituality. 

A 2004 survey of college freshman by the Higher Education
Research Institute of the University
of California-Los Angeles found 80% have an interest in
spirituality.

Statistics from InterVarsity field reports for the 2006-2007
school year show more student conversions than any year in the last several
decades.

When polled on the question of whether students are becoming
more interested in spiritual issues, more than twice as many InterVarsity staff
respondents (41%) chose yes, over the choice of less interest (18%). And 23%
said there was no change.

However, that doesn't necessarily translate to an interest
in Christianity. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship President Alec Hill says the
Millennium Generation tends to follow spiritual issues cafeteria-style.
"My truth is my truth. Let's go through the smorgasbord and pick what we
like.  I think people have individualized
their religious philosophy in a way, and if you challenge it, then you've
stepped across the boundary line of tolerance. That probably is the
unforgivable sin on the college scene today–that is, being perceived as
'intolerant.'"   

Intervarsity's campus presence means questions can be asked.
It's through these conversations that students often realize that Jesus
provides the focus that vague spirituality lacks.

Young people are not only global, they're also interested in
social justice and humanitarian or compassion projects. That means InterVarsity has an acceptable
approach to the talking about truth.   

Hill explains, "We want to invite them
in so they belong first, but we also want to make sure that we present to them
the Gospel. And we do it in a way that they have to make a decision.  What's been exciting for us the last couple
years is that we've had record numbers of new believers."

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Madison, WI
53707-7895

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