USA (MNN) — It's only been a few weeks, but already InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is excited about a new season of ministry on college campuses around the United States.
Vice President of InterVarsity Jim Lundgren says, "We're on 557 campuses across the United States. We have 866 chapters that involve about 37,000 core students and faculty."
While thousands of dollars are spent on getting a quality education, Lundgren says, "You can graduate from college with a bachelor of science or a phd in your field–and almost a kindergarten Christianity. And that's a tragedy if that happens."
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is combating that by meeting students any way they can. That's why they're holding "meet and greet" parties all around the country as students flock to school. Lundgren says the goal is to draw them in "to a Bible study, draw them in to one-on-one interaction about their faith, draw them into campus-wide meetings. For instance, at the University of California, San Diego, 50 students became Christians at a campus-wide meeting."
According to Lundgren, this is a prime time for university students to think about their future. "Many of the non-Christians who come to campus have very little experience with Christ, Christianity, or the church. And so, we want to be there to talk to them personally about how Christ can make a huge difference in their lives and in their college years."
Because of that influence, InterVarsity hopes to reach international students for Christ. With the anniversary of 9-11 approaching, many are praying that Muslims will be seeking for truth as they pursue an education.
While ministry potential is great, funding needs are equally great. Lindgren says many student leaders aren't fully supported financially. "The problem is: that pulls them off campus and pulls them out of those relationships while they go to work for Starbucks or another place that will provide them with some extra income."
Is it a new trend? Lundgren says, "It's not new in one sense, but it's getting worse right now because of the economy. There have always been struggles in raising support to be on campus, but the struggles are even more significant now."
While funding is vital, so is prayer for openness on college campuses. "Last year on more than a dozen campuses, the university authority threatened to kick our groups off campus because we require our Christian student leaders to live a life that's worth of the Gospel. The rate of this happening is about six times what it's been ordinarily."
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