Poland (MNN) — Today marks day four of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) World Assembly in Krakow, Poland.
The Assembly is a quadrennial event that gathers 150 student movements in the IFES to meet to share, plan, learn and motivate each other in student ministry worldwide. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is just one of the student movements involved in IFES and represented at the World Assembly this week.
Tom Lin, InterVarsity Vice President of Missions and Director of Urbana '12, is one of the 650 delegates at the World Assembly. He's one of a few representing InterVarsity and learning about how to more effectively do ministry with college students.
Lin is looking forward to learning and forming new international partnerships, but one thing that has excited him in particular is the number of students involved in the delegation.
"130 of the 650 delegates here are students," Lin says. "We have students who are actually running an important part of this conference." The students will organize one entire day of the World Assembly.
Lin says this is fitting for an IFES gathering. "I think in many ways, that reflects one of the very important and unique values of IFES which is student initiative."
The numerous student ministries from around the globe that comprise IFES–especially including InterVarsity–all focus toward not only reaching out to students, but actually involving the students in their work. Many groups allow students to take significant leadership roles in the campus ministry.
"Students often in various countries around the world are doing the teaching, are doing the leading, are doing the leadership development. They're doing everything ministry wise on the campuses."
Lin says one instance of this particularly stands out. "I remember seeing and speaking with an Ethiopian student leader last year who essentially was leading a 6,000 person campus ministry with four of his friends."
Many of these student leaders involved in IFES ministries across the world will move on to become government, company, and ministry leaders, shaping the world for Christ wherever God takes them.
The World Assembly will accomplish a lot by its August 3 end, but it is all, first and foremost, for the furthering of outreach to college students around the world.
Pray that InterVarsity delegates in particular would come back refreshed and filled with new ideas for better outreach and leadership training, that more future leaders in politics, in the workplace and in the church might be filled with Christ and empowered to spread His name to the ends of the earth.