USA (MNN) – Over the weekend InterVarsity Christian Fellowship held its 3rd Ambition conference in Anaheim, California. InterVarsity had 700 students and 300 staff who attended the conference, which lasted from January 11-13. The conference was meant to empower these students and staff in reaching every corner of every college campus in the United States with the Gospel.
Campuses Confess and Serve
InterVarsity began the Ambition conference recognizing the need to first have an encounter with God before pursuing any form of ministry. This encounter can be preparing oneself for God’s work through confession, repentance, and simply dealing with life stuff which can sometimes be left buried in a closet rather than regularly addressed.
This very topic was the first thing to be discussed at the conference. In fact, early on a speaker told attendees that before they can do God’s work, they have to deal with what God is working on inside of them. The speaker then encouraged everyone to turn to their neighbor and in small groups, through prayer, urged them to confess to one another what God had laid on their hearts.
“The speaker said, ‘God is calling us to do ministry, to go places, at times doesn’t just mean doing ministry work and seeing fruit and growth. It also can mean suffering.’ And so, [it] just kind of prepar[ed] us for saying yes to God for the rest of this weekend, what that looks like, and getting ourselves ready for that,” InterVarsity’s Bethany Hovarth shares.
Ambition featured afternoon programs where students learned how to be planters and reach new campuses and even new areas on campuses. During this time students also worked through a ten step guide meant to help the students with the next steps to outreach.
Yet, this outreach training wasn’t only for students. Volunteers at Ambition also had a chance to learn how to get involved on college campuses and reach out to students too. And Horvath is excited to see how God will use these people and this training to impact campuses.
Reaching College Campuses
With that said, the Ambition conference is a conference which calls everyone to act. Everyone has a role they can play in reaching college campuses. And chances are, it looks different from what you’d expect.
“We’ve said from the stage, ‘Students, God is using you and you have spiritual authority. Walk in that.’ And one of our speakers said, ‘InterVarsity staff, you probably feel like I’ve told you, you don’t have a job anymore,’” Horvath explains.
“And everyone kind of laughed, but, the truth is that sometimes our students have more of a stronger faith and risk-taking than we do, and to trust in them and what God is leading them to do. And allow them to lead and empower them.”
Why Campuses Matter
For some, college campuses may seem like a cold institution where a person’s faith goes to die. However, that isn’t the case. And even if it were, wouldn’t it make campus ministry outreach that much more important?
“The four years a student is on campus are the most formative years of a person’s life. That is where they are going to make decisions based on what they truly believe, how they will live their life, what is important to them,” Horvath explains.
“If we can reach them there, then we’re impacting their next four years of life. We’re impacting how they engage with their faith. How they are involved with the Church. How they change the world.”
For Horvath, that’s the exciting part of college campus ministry. Because once these students earn their degree and turn the page to a next life chapter, their faith influences who they decide to be and what changes they decide to bring to their field, whether it be nursing, coding for Google, or even teaching.
“It’s exciting to think what God will do if each one of these attendees will leave and plant or go to a new corner of their campus—how we could reach the U.S. in the next three years,” Horvath says.
News, Prayers, and Ways to Get Involved
And now, InterVarsity and Cru, whose Executive Director of U.S. Campus Ministry, Mark Gauthier, spoke at Ambition, are joining together in efforts to see more students and faculty on campuses across the U.S. come to know Jesus as their savior. As a part of their joint work, the two ministries will be launching a website where individuals, churches, and other ministries can come together to see the Gospel spread on every U.S. campus.
Please pray for these students and staff who attended Ambition. Pray for them to be reminded and encouraged by the fact that nothing hinders what God is doing or has planned for them. Ask God to empower these students and for them to boldly return to their campuses, stepping out in faith.
Pray for InterVarsity staff, for doors to open for further ministry and the call God has on their lives. Also pray for InterVarsity and Cru’s partnership, for people to join the movement, and for the Gospel to quickly reach unreached campuses.