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Published on 10 March, 2017

Cultural shifts: a challenge, opportunity for the Church

USA (MNN) — We are at a point in history when cultural shifts happen fast and happen often. The exchange of ideas and the advancements in technology are bringing questions to the forefront of society that haven’t been discussed in this way before. In the United States, these conversations currently circle around the topics of sexuality and abortion, for instance. But as moral issues are discussed and decided upon, it makes the unity of the Church that much more important. That is why InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is making the move to partner with Christian colleges around the country.

(Photo courtesy of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship)

York Moore of InterVarsity says, “We’ve always been perceived as a Kingdom partner [and] contributor to the education, say, of Christian colleges and universities even though we don’t have chapters on most of the CCCU schools in the country.”

He says that the ministry and Christian schools need each other now more than ever before. The Christian community is not immune to the cultural and societal discussions that are going on.

“When we think about the external pressures on ministry today, whether those are coming from the federal government, new policies, new rules and regulations, when we think about cultural differences that people are facing today, more than ever, the Church needs to partner with others to get the job done.”

Searching for a narrative

Moore explains that the United States has for many decades loosely followed a Judeo-Christian influenced narrative. Today, the world is looking for a new narrative. And that broad search encompasses many skirmishes over definitions, values, and morality.

“The idea of human sexuality is at the very, very forefront of cultural change. But I think it would be a misstep to frame the entire challenge that the Church in North America’s facing just around human sexuality. I think human sexuality is a symptom of a much larger shift.”

He says this shift was born out of a post-modern worldview in the last few decades. Along with the discussion on sexuality, there is a question of equality, civility, and what it means to value different ethnicities. But these topics all have one thing in common.

“At the core of these causes, at the core of these conversations is a value battle about what it actually means to be human. And the Church, I think, has probably the most important aspect to contribute in that dialogue, but most of the time we’re not even at the table.”

Why is that?

“Because we’re so concerned with safeguarding, with shoring up, with protecting ourselves that we’re not looking at the crisis we’re in as an opportunity,” Moore says.

What is InterVarsity doing different?

InterVarsity is celebrating their 75th year as a ministry. They have over 1,000 chapters and are visible on over 900 college and university campuses. And, they are growing. So, why is InterVarsity expanding while maintaining its commitment to the truths of the Gospel?

“Many of the opportunities that are leading to growth are coming from those specific areas where we are taking the risk of pressing into hardship, complication, the kinds of things that most Americans are avoiding.”

(Photo courtesy of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship)

Rather than avoid the hot button topics where disagreement could mean hurt feelings, they are pressing in. Because of this, InterVarsity has a reputation of valuing people. They are authentic and show genuine care.

And, even though they are focused on secular campuses, they know it’s time to begin working with the Christian schools, too.

“Our Christian colleges are full of young people who want to have an impact on the world, who want to do missions and rightly think of missions as including the United States. And so I think more than ever, InterVarsity is a place where we desperately need our Christian colleges.”

The Church’s commitment to pray for our young people

If you’re not a college student and can’t join an InterVarsity chapter, and you can’t volunteer with the organization, there is still one way you can help this ministry as they work to spread the love and truth of the Gospel to the next generation of leaders. You can pray.

“The harvest is there. The people who want to tell you that God is dead on the American college campus haven’t been on a college campus lately. We are seeing so many students come to faith,” Moore says.

InterVarsity hosts a conference called “Greek InterVarsity” for fraternity students. The most recent took place in Indianapolis. Moore says around 800 students attended, and about 80 percent were unbelievers.

What wowed Moore was the long line of people waiting day-after-day to have someone pray for them. What wowed him was the heartfelt worship, and the presence of the Holy Spirit among the students weeping. What wowed him was that over 70 students gave their life to Jesus.

(Photo courtesy of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship)

He says this story is encouraging because it highlights a microcosm for schools across the nation. People are looking for truth, they are looking for meaning, and they are looking for the narrative that appropriately defines their value as a human being. The only narrative that fits is that of Christ Jesus.

So, whether or not God brings about a revival in this country, we know the harvest is ready. Would you ask God to raise up the workers to go and meet students in loving conversation as they share the Gospel? Ask God to change hearts. Pray for His glory to be known on campuses all over the country.

Ask God to bless the partnerships between InterVarsity and Christian institutions. Ask God to give them courage to step into the tough conversations.

2 responses to “Cultural shifts: a challenge, opportunity for the Church”

  1. Ted Veer says:

    Praise the Lord, may He grant revival in His church that will shake our nation.

  2. Linda says:

    Praise God for what he is doing and will do on both christian and secular colleges May students more students find Jesus and in turn take His word to a desperate world. Send more workers Lord! Make them bold and fearless in proclaiming Jesus!

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