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InterVarsity reaches students of fraternity (and sorority) row

By September 2, 2010

USA (MNN) — There are many college ministries in the United States that reach a variety of students who are searching for more. Unfortunately, it seems that there is one large segment on many campuses that goes overlooked and unreached: the Greek community.

"We found that it's often kind of an overlooked segment of the campus, and it's a place that, if you're not involved in the Greek system, you tend not to tread," says Eric Holmer with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, regarding fraternities and sororities on college campuses.

Convinced that this is an important mission field, InterVarsity started a separate ministry to these Greek brothers and sisters several years ago. "Greek InterVarsity was created to reach out to this place that seemingly has it all together, but on the inside has a lot of needs, a lot of brokenness, and can often times be one of the darkest places on campus."

The stereotypes that go with Greek life are many, which may cause Christians to back away when it comes to outreach. Many Christians may even refrain from Greek life for themselves, but Holmer notes that many fraternities and sororities were originally built on Christian foundations, searching to create a strong community. Throughout their ministry, Holmer says Greek IV has watched many people realize not only that it's possible to be both Greek and a follower of Christ, but also that it's a wonderful opportunity to reach out in an intimate setting.

"The Greek students are worth it," explains Holmer. "God sees them as just as valuable as everyone else on campus, even though they have these stereotypes of being the partiers or the people who want nothing to do with any sort of relationship with God. But it's precisely because of that that they're worth any and every effort that we can extend to them."

Efforts in Greek IV look a little different than perhaps they might in a general InterVarsity chapter. Although many Greek IV chapters do combine with a larger InterVarsity chapter on campus, their ministry tends to have a more specific focus since students within Greek life are not as likely to join in large group InterVarsity events.

"Students in fraternities and sororities probably won't ever step into a large group meeting on campus. They won't go to church on a Sunday morning, but they will sit down with their fraternity or sorority brother or sister and have a spiritual conversation, read a Bible together, pray together, and do things that only in the relationship that exists in a fraternity or sorority they would do."

Knowing this, Greek IV encourages its members to get one-on-one with someone in their fraternity or sorority and study the Bible. They also urge students to invite their brothers and sisters to one of three annual Greek Conferences for various regions of the country.

Greek Conference has a number of purposes, including getting Greek Christians to a place where they understand that they can be followers of Christ in their setting, despite what others may say, and that other believers are in fact doing the same. The conference is also an exciting opportunity to invite nonbelievers into a relationship with Christ.

So is there fruit in that? Holmer says Yes. "Greek Conference is a jump-off point where we see a lot of people make decisions to come to faith."

The first Greek Conference of the year is for schools in the northeast part of the country, held October 22-24. Greek Conference will be filled with learning about the Lord, but also filled with games, dancing, and a whole lot of laughter.

As students involved in Greek life head back to school, pray that the believers among them would be bold enough to invite their peers to study the Word or to go to Greek Conference. Pray that more and more students in fraternities and sororities would come to the Lord as they see their brothers and sisters reach out to them intentionally and lovingly. Pray also specifically for more fraternity men to get involved with Greek IV, since it seems to be more difficult to get them involved than it does sorority women.

If you're interested in Greek IV but have no chapter on your campus, e-mail Eric Holmer at eholmer@intervarsity.org or head to the Greek IV facebook page and send them a note. To simply get resources to start a Bible study in a sorority or fraternity, click here. If you're interested in registering for the October Greek Conference, check it out at greekconferencene.com.

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