Students disperse from university campus into all the world.

By May 30, 2006

USA (MNN) — This summer, 10,000 university students involved with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship will experience the unforgettable as they go through training camps and urban and global projects.

That’s one-third of the 30,000 students who are involved with InterVarsity groups during the year. InterVarsity’s Scott Wilson says, “We’re excited to see those students not just spending the entire summer just laying on the beach or playing volleyball, but actually doing the sorts of things that can grow their hearts and minds and serve other people.”

There are a variety of programs that students participate in. One of those are Chapter Camps, where student leaders get together to plan the next school year’s activities and talk through how to introduce students to Jesus at the beginning of next year. Many others spend a large amountof their summer studying God’s Word and learning how to be leaders, learning about evangelism, honing the skills needed to be strong Christians living in the university world and beyond.

Then there are another host of students involved with a series of projects that take students into the world, both around the US and overseas. It’s a time of experiential learning through urban or global projects.

It’s a lot more than just a summer program; it’s about investing in the future, says Wilson, “InterVarsity’s concerned not just that they might accomplish something this summer, but we’re really concerned for their entire lives. We see the university period in a person’s life as an incredibly important time in life.”

InterVarsity’s summer programs are designed to grow students’ faith and serve others, at home and abroad, through a two-pronged emphasis: to serve and love others, and to learn and grow for the future. It’s in an effort to help build godly, healthy habits and skills into students.

The investment is far-reaching, says Wilson, reaping lifelong benefits, “We kind of think of this a little bit as an investment, a really good investment in students. We spend a summer, or you think about InterVarsity’s whole ministry, four years, working with students on university campuses; we’re actually trying to get 40 years of service out of that at the other end.”

Wilson continues, “We think that if we can help these people become grounded in the Word of God, so they know how to study the Word of God and know how to hear and understand what God is saying to them through the Word of God, and if they develop the kinds of habits and patterns of study and prayer that help them, if they develop perspectives where they understand other people in the world, it’s going to reap benefits for the rest of their lives.”

The hope is that the students’ summer experiences will give them another perspective. “We long to see the hearts and minds of students transformed all over this country, and we long to see more and more students giving themselves to Jesus and deciding to follow Him and follow His ways in the world.”

That, in turn, says Wilson, will help transform university campuses. “We’re really hoping for these students, as they’re in these experiences, that they get a new vision of what God is calling them to, that they understand God’s mission in the world more completely and more fully, and that they come back to campus ready to work that out in the environment in which they live.”

Those individual transformed lives will spread out and have an impact on many others. That is InterVarsity’s ministry goal and where the greatest impact happens, “InterVarsity’s primary focus of its mission is the university campus, and we hope to see the entire university transformed by the living presence of Jesus in communities of faculty and students there. In order to do that, we think that Christians on the university campus need to be people with an outward focus.”

It’s crucial, says Wilson, that we include students in God’s work in the world, “We think they’re such an important part of what God is doing. When you look historically, again and again and again, major movements of God in the world have begun with young men and women, men and women who are college age. And we pray that that would continue to happen.”

Pray for God to move in the hearts of students this summer and that He would raise up a host of young people eager and passionate about Christ and spreading His kingdom and glory in the whole world.

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