InterVarsity: where once was crisis, is new growth

By February 9, 2017

USA (MNN) — About 20 years ago, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship was facing a crisis. The ministry was having a hard time reaching out to students with the Gospel. In fact, in one year the ministry only saw eight college students come to Christ within the whole San Diego area.

From Crisis to Growth

Now, decades later, InterVarsity has seen some incredible growth.

(Photo Courtesy InterVarsity Christian Fellowship) Faith decision growth trend in San Diego

Faith decision growth trend in San Diego. (Photo courtesy of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship)

InterVarsity’s San Diego Divisional Director Ryan Pfeiffer explains, “The last five [years] has been the most punctuated period of growth where most InterVarsity chapters, there’s like a weekly gathering with all the students where they invite their non-Christian friends and…there’s worship and a message. Well, we started giving invitations to faith in that space and students began to respond to that invitation of faith on campuses [where] people felt like that could never happen.”

Student leaders began mimicking the InterVarsity staff and also began to offer an invitation to faith to strangers and friends at their Bibles studies. A lot of these campuses where students had been coming to faith are known for supposedly being “too medical” or “too scientific.” There was the thought that students there would never be open to the Gospel, but they were. However, the life-changing effects of the Gospel on students’ lives didn’t come purely from an invitation to faith, but also a lot of prayers.

“We spent about six months in prayer and dedicated a handful of staff to just focus on evangelism and discern some lessons in reaching that generation on campus…there’s been a steady growth in students coming to faith all across San Diego,” Pfeiffer shares.

Just a couple years ago, Pfeiffer says InterVarsity in the San Diego area hit its highest number at around 615 of students coming to faith. To Pfeiffer, it almost felt like anything InterVarsity touched on these campuses turned to gold, all by God’s grace. After all, that’s a far cry from the few the ministry was reaching just a generation or two ago.

One InterVarsity Leader’s Story

“I can give you one example of a student who’s leading a Bible study of, like, twelve, thirteen Greek girls [who] have shown up. It’s her first Bible study of the year. They’re meeting at a yogurt shop near the campus,” Pfeiffer recounts. “And at the end, the student leader is named Ariel, invites students to respond to what they see about Jesus. That Jesus wants to heal you…and ten girls responded.”

To Ariel’s surprise, one by one, these Greek girls stood up in the yogurt shop declaring their faith in Jesus. The idea of sorority girls coming to faith in a yogurt shop may seem odd, but is just goes to show God’s power and love.

(Photo courtesy InterVarsity Christian Fellowship)

(Photo courtesy InterVarsity Christian Fellowship)

“There’s nothing better than seeing a student catch that excitement and that confidence that God can use them to lead their friends to faith,” Pfeiffer explains.

“I mean that’s why we’re on campus; it’s even more than to lead students to faith, it’s to empower and revive a generation of students who take their place on the field of the Kingdom of God and use the gifts God’s given them to usher in the Kingdom of God into their friends’ lives.”

Encouragement and Prayer

So as you pray today, will you also pray for the students and InterVarsity staff in San Diego? Pray for their strength and encouragement in the Lord. Pray for God’s confidence to be with them and for God to use them to reach students who have never heard His Word.

Also, InterVarsity staff make a lot of sacrifices to help encourage and enable students to have the opportunity to share the Gospel and to hear God’s Word. Would you consider supporting InterVarsity staff, not only in prayer, but also through encouragement and resources?

To donate to InterVarsity, click here!

To send a note of encouragement to staff, click here!

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