USA (MNN) — School is out for the summer for most college students in the United States. Time for sleeping in, cook-outs, and vacations.
The last thing most students probably want to do is pay over $300 for a week of intense training and personal challenges.
"We find oftentimes, students are reluctant to come because of the things that we've mentioned," says Marc Papai of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. "And yet, after they've been here for a week, they say, 'I would rather have been nowhere else.'
"Is it a sacrifice? Yes. We feel like it's probably the most important thing they'll do in the summer."
InterVarsity's Chapter Focus Weeks are going on across the nation. It's a time for InterVarsity chapter leaders to get away from it all and form a vision for their campus. Papai says students are invited to sit under valuable training.
"We actually have a 'cafeteria of training' that we do," explains Papai. There are leadership tracts, but some also focus on topics like evangelism, apologetics, cross-cultural training, and racial justice. See a full list of topics here.
"All of our tracts are oriented toward helping students take missional risks in growing the Kingdom of God on their campuses," Papai says.
Between the beginning of May and end of June, camps are held at InterVarsity's three training and retreat centers: Campus by the Sea in southern California; Cedar Campus in Michigan's Upper Peninsula; and Toah Nipi, located on the shores of a natural lake in New Hampshire.
The camps aren't just for leaders, though.
"Any student who would like to come here for a week and be away at a quiet place with God can get top-quality training in an absolutely beautiful setting," states Papai.
Speaking to MNN from Cedar Campus, Papai says he saw God at work last week. Over 100 students made a commitment to pursue specific risk-taking activity as Christians on-campus, and some 60 students recommitted their lives to Christ.
Another six gave their lives to Jesus for the first time. According to Papai, chapter camps are an eye-opening experience for non-believers.
"They see and taste what Christianity is like, and they're surprised, both by Christians and mostly by Jesus. They and He are different than they thought," he says. "They will come, on the basis of a friendship, to spend a week here. And they meet God in powerful ways."
Pray that God will move in the hearts of college students throughout the nation.
"All of our training here is intended to help them [students] grow into Christ, and then as Christians, to be missional, to be risk-takers on campus," Papai explains.
"We found an enormous spiritual hunger in students, and so we bring our students here to help equip them for reaching out to their friends, and to the campus as a whole."
Papai also says students often face a hostile environment on their campuses because Christianity isn't something that's looked upon favorably. Ask the Lord to protect students and give them discernment as they share the Gospel on their campuses.
Pray that the cultural attitude toward Christ in educational institutions will change.
"If we change the university, we can change the world," states Papai.