Int’l (MNN) – Sharing the Good News of Jesus is not just for full-time Christian workers. The International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) encourages university students to live out their faith wherever they are around the world, every day.
What is IFES?
Andy Moore, Head of Global Communications, explains a little more about who IFES is and what they do. “Well it’s a movement of students who are living out and sharing the good news of Jesus in different campuses around the world. We talk about doing that locally sort of at the campus level, any group of students who are gathering together who are part of or an expression of IFES, then nationally. National organizations like InterVarsity coordinate that work nationally and then globally as well. So part of what IFES does is connect movements together in over 160 countries around the world.”
These national movements operate autonomously, but share a common doctrinal basis with other regional and global IFES movements. Regional discussions and consultations help the global leadership of the organization support these national movements.
Like the well-known American organization InterVarsity, IFES encourages students to live a vibrant faith on their campuses. Through their encouragement and training, IFES now includes movements of students in 160 different countries around the globe. And currently their members are reaching more of their peers than ever with the Gospel.
Christ on Global Campuses.
Moore explains that with people moving more than ever, students with IFES are connecting with those from other nations.
“Many people don’t have to go anywhere these days to be involved in global mission. If you’re on a campus, you can be involved in global mission. I think one of the strengths of that as well is that we’re seeing people coming from countries that are closed to the Gospel. Who come to contexts where they hear the Gospel, and then are encouraged and equipped to take that back to their home contexts as well and live faithfully in that context.”
As people return to their own countries with God’s Word, new chapters of IFES spring up. At the World Meeting held every four years, Moore expects to see as many as twelve new movements officially joining IFES from new countries.
As these new movements join IFES, the organization seeks to understand and care for students and their surroundings better through intentional listening.
“Like a pond often we see the university as somewhere to go fish,” Moore explains. “So we go and fish for Jesus and bring the fish out of the ecosystem rather than actually caring for the ecosystem itself. So the principle of listening is really to demonstrate care for the whole environment, so it’s not just seeing students as objects to bring to Jesus. But actually saying, ‘What does God’s justice look like on the campus?’ ‘How do we start those conversations?’ ‘How do we care for the whole university context (so the people who work there, from the administrative staff to the lecturers and faculty staff as well)?’ Listening really comes from a sense wanting to demonstrate God’s care for all at the university.”
Sometimes local laws prohibit or limit sharing God’s Word openly. Yet, Moore notes that challenge often serves to help promote better conversations and ideas about offering hope and caring for others.
“I think it fosters creativity among students to think through how do we live the good news in a way, that doesn’t assume we have the right to speak of Jesus, but we need to live for Jesus and work that out. So sometimes that means where access to campus is restricted, continuing to have the meetings off campus and being creative about how you draw people to hear about Jesus in other ways.”
Responding to the Call.
IFES is seeing God work in students and campuses across the world. Join in their work through prayer and partnership. Recently some of their students attended InterVarsity’s event, Urbana. Please pray for those students as they return to their contexts. Pray that God will help them to live out the cross-cultural callings they experienced firsthand at the conference. Pray that they see the goal of the costly call of missions.
If you want to learn more about IFES, click here.
Header photo courtesy of IFES.