USA (MNN) — It’s that time of year again, when parents become empty nesters and students taste a new freedom moving into college. It’s another school year, but at InterVarsity, it’s a special one.
School Year Vision
InterVarsity works on campuses to encourage students who are already Christians, and to share with those who aren’t.
Tom Lin is now InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s new president. So what is his dream and vision for the Christian ministry?
“As I enter into the president’s role, I hope that we build on the significant growth that we’ve enjoyed in the last decade…We’ve had record numbers of students and faculty that we’re reaching. So, really just building on that foundation,” Lin explains.
“But I think the other way I can answer that questions is that I recently reminded our staff that, we have an amazing opportunity right now as InterVarsity. Not just as growth, but we’re poised to be people of hope.”
InterVarsity works school campuses, giving hope in four different ways by courageously sharing the Gospel through various conversations on campuses.
It’s also offering hope by developing books and resources, influencing the world for Christ, and published through InterVarsity’s very own press. But, the ministry is also offering hope by listening to God’s word and raising up young Christian leaders.
And in a world facing some of these worst humanitarian crisis it’s seen since World War II, people need the real hope of the Gospel. But, even without the world’s concerning state, it’d still need the Gospel.
“You know, we work through what we call witnessing communities on campus. We call them chapters, but essentially, they’re witnessing communities,” Lin explains.
“[We have] over 1,000 of them across the country, they are safe places for students to be transformed by Christ, as well as to be missional on campus. They’re places where students can explore Jesus in deeper ways, or even begin to follow Him for the first time.”
InterVarsity focuses on three areas with students: discipleship, being centered in scripture through Bible studies, and missional experiences by applying God’s word.
Lin says students apply God’s word by maybe serving a dorm mate, or sharing the Gospel with a fellow student. Then, they get to debrief with a student leader or staff worker.
These three areas create a hear, do, debrief cycle that’s growing and stretching the students in Christ all the while training them up to be leaders. It’s also teaching them how to evangelize, listen to others, and share their faith.
Advice for the School Year
In fact, college is a crucial time in young people’s lives. They’re building lifelong habits of pursuing God on their own, or struggling to do so. To help, Lin has some advice for students.
- Keep Your Eyes on Jesus: Even when things are difficult, it’s important to not get distracted by new classes, friends, and everything else that is changing. Despite the frustrations, God is still there and he’s still working.
- Make Time for Scripture and Prayer: In the midst of the busyness, commit to spending time in God’s word and in prayer each day. Be firm about this time and uncompromising. For more on the topic, Lin recommends the book, “Too Busy Not to Pray,” by Bill Hybels.
- Fellowship: Grow in God with other believers, find fellowship and community with students who desire and are committed to following Jesus together.
- Be Humble: College campuses grow students in academics, athletics, and more, but there’s still always the need to be humble. Remember to serve, take on a servant’s heart, learn from others, and live for Christ.
But if you’re not headed back to the college campus this year, will you pray? Pray for students to grow in Christ, engage with Him, and be fearless about sharing the Gospel.
Also, pray for InterVarsity’s new student outreach in these early weeks. Finally, pray for the InterVarsity’s staff’s funding to be met so they too can keep reaching students.
To find more ways to pray or get involved with InterVarsity, click here!
Looking to join an InterVarsity chapter? Find one here!