USA (MNN) — Can ministries be planted by students, or does it take a person with professional training?
Two InterVarsity Christian Fellowship students are answering that question in Alaska.
The journey began a year ago for Annie and Stephanie, two students involved in an InterVarsity chapter at the University of Fairbanks. The sophomores were told that classes they needed to graduate were only offered at the University of Anchorage. So, the friends took a trip.
Upon their arrival at the University of Anchorage, Annie and Stephanie discovered the school had no Christian organizations for its 900 students living on campus. That very day, the friends started toying with the idea of planting an InterVarsity chapter "to give all 900 students in these dorms the chance to follow Jesus."
As the idea grew, Annie and Stephanie were provided with a copy of "Start Something New." It's a practical handbook offering Bible studies, strategies, and more to walk students through the process of launching a missional group on their campus.
Annie and Stephanie started the 2012-2013 school year by walking through their handbook, praying for the campus and asking God to connect them with like-minded people. By the end of the fall semester, 10 students had joined the pair to launch Bible studies in three dorms.
Sharing Christ with others was a challenge for many students joining the fledgling chapter.
"It was a huge step for most of them," says Annie. "At first they were really timid about talking to people about Jesus, but they saw that people were open to talking, and they sensed God was working.
"Now they all want to do more. They want to start next year by engaging the campus with the Gospel."
Over 50 students are regularly involved in the InterVarsity chapter at the University of Anchorage. Annie and Stephanie have a few contacts from the Native Alaskan student community on campus, and the girls hope to reach out to this group next.
Praise God for the initiative of these young women to reach others with the Gospel. Pray that their contagious passion for Jesus Christ continues.
"It was exciting for me when I visited the Web site for InterVarsity and saw that there were now two chapters listed in Alaska. Anchorage is on the map!" Annie told Shawn Young, InterVarsity's National Director of Chapter Planting.