InterVarsity trains new staff for campus ministry

By June 24, 2008

USA (MNN) — This Wednesday, new staff with InterVarsity Christian
Fellowship
will begin ten days of training in Madison,
Wisconsin to prepare them for ministry on U.S. college
campuses. 

Usually, new staff have already received training at the
local or regional levels of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship when they come to Orientation of New
Staff (ONS). Many of them are recent college
graduates. Director Keith Hirata compared the journey to ONS to a rollercoaster.

"That rollercoaster takes you in certain directions. And the
next thing you know, you're at this place, and you think, 'How did I get there?'"
he said. For this reason, the first
objective of ONS is to clarify and affirm the calling into ministry with
Intervarsity. 

"We help them to reflect on the journey that they've taken
to get here, and really affirm and encourage them in terms of the path that the
Spirit's taken them on to come to ONS," Hirata said. After that, "We try to really invest tools,
give them experiences, and try to help them understand the basics of what it
takes to be successful in the calling."

Veteran Intervarsity staff train the new staff in fund development,
chapter building, evangelism, and multi-ethnicity. One skill they emphasize is the ability to
take healthy risks, necessary for activities like evangelism and fundraising. 

"In working with students, you have to push students to take
risks or their faith isn't stretched, their ability to really trust the Lord
isn't deepened. Helping staff to really
engage in healthy risk is important," Hirata said. 

Hirata is impressed with the current generation's
willingness to take risks. 

"You show them how to do it, you tell them what needs to be
done, and they're ready to engage and do it. This generation of young people really seems willing to engage in things
right away and trust authority in a way that the prior generation didn't."

Some of the new staff plan to target particular groups of students: international students, ethnic minorities, and members of the Greek
system. Other staff will have
multi-ethnic ministries. 

Hirata is excited for the impact their ministry may
have. Since college is a time when
students are preparing for the future and open to new ideas, he believes the
college campus is a very strategic place of ministry. 

"Our vision is to really see the campus transformed and
every corner of the campus where students exist reached. Ultimately we'd
love to see those students graduate, join churches, enter the workforce, become
missionaries, go into full-time ministry, and really transform the world."

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