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InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

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InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA is an interdenominational, evangelical Christian student-led ministry dedicated to establishing witnessing communities on college and university campuses. Over 1200 staff members minister with over 34,000 students and faculty on 573 campuses in the United States, with the purpose of developing their love for God, God’s Word, and for people of every ethnicity and culture around the world. InterVarsity is governed by a Board of Trustees and is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. Alec Hill is the president of InterVarsity/USA, presiding over a six-member cabinet. InterVarsity is a charter member of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, a network of similar ministries around the world.

Paul Byer was one of the founding members of, and staff workers for, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA. Through his innovative approach to Bible Study, extensive mentoring, and long tenure he helped shape the theology and culture of the entire movement.

Purpose statement

In response to God's love, grace and truth:
The Purpose of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA
is to establish and advance at colleges and universities
witnessing communities of students and faculty
who follow Jesus as Savior and Lord:
growing in love for God,
God's Word,
God's people of every ethnicity and culture
and God's purposes in the world.

Ministries

College ministry

In 2005-06, InterVarsity had 735 undergraduate chapters on 499 college campuses around the country, with some campuses having multiple chapters with different focuses. These include approximately fifty ethnic-specific chapters ministering to Blacks, Asians, Native Americans, and Latinos.

Fifty-eight campuses have a ministry specifically for sorority and fraternity members. InterVarsity also ministers to international students on 123 campuses, either through a specific chapter or as a part of a multiethnic ministry. Over 125 Graduate & Faculty Ministry staff work with 153 chapters dedicated to graduate students, professional students, and faculty.

Nurses Christian Fellowship (NCF) is unique among the ministries of InterVarsity; it is a professional organization as well as a student ministry. In addition to campus ministry serving over 1,300 students, NCF offers continuing education courses and the professional publication, Journal of Christian Nursing, to practicing nurses.

InterVarsity activities on campus are varied. Weekly large group meetings include student led worship, a presentation on a topic of spiritual interest, and a social time. Small group Bible studies are organized around a dorm setting, or like-minded people such as members of a sports team or those interested in a particular topic of study. These are student led and foster a sense of belonging that today’s students desire. Some of the Bible studies are specifically designed for people interested in spirituality but who may not call themselves Christians. Known as GIGs, Groups Investigating God, these studies allow interested students to explore the claims of the Bible in an open, accepting atmosphere where their questions are taken seriously.

Missions

InterVarsity students regularly participate in both long- and short-term missions projects. During the summer of 2006, over 800 students participated in Global Urban Treks, ministering in some of the poorest cities of the world, or Global Projects, lingua-cultural or service ministries overseas. InterVarsity also sponsored Urban Projects in 72 cities in the United States, helping students understand God’s love for all people by working alongside existing ministries in the inner city. InterVarsity, as a member movement, participates in the global student ministry network, the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES), by sending staff and recent graduates to work under the authority of local IFES staff in countries around the world. InterVarsity, Inter-Varsity Canada, and Groupes Bibliques Universitaires et Collegiaux of French-speaking Canada co-host Urbana Missions Convention, a triennial student missions convention, named for the campus town where it was held for many years. In December 2006, approximately 22,500 attendees participated in the convention held in St. Louis, Missouri.

Training

InterVarsity operates four training centers, Campus by the Sea, Bear Trap Ranch, Toah Nipi, and Cedar Campus. These camps are used for weekend conferences during the school year, week-long training sessions at the beginning and end of summer break, and faculty and alumni retreats. Cedar Campus is the site of the InterVarsity Leadership Institute, a month-long summer program of Bible study, prayer and evangelism training.

In conjunction with InterVarsity’s missions program, the training centers offer Student Training in Missions, STIM. This program seeks to prepare students for cross-cultural missions through a series of weekend programs that offer lecture, discussion and cross-cultural simulations.

InterVarsity Press

In 1947 the InterVarsity/USA Board of Trustees determined that the Fellowship should develop its own publishing arm. With this action, Inter-Varsity Press (IVP) became an official part of InterVarsity’s ministry, overseeing the publication and distribution of books, booklets and Bible study guides in support of the campus work. For over 60 years IVP has published such important Christian authors as Francis Schaefer, John Stott and Bill Hybels. Their publication list includes many strong academic volumes, an excellent collection of titles dealing with racial reconciliation and a New York Times best seller. Over the years, many of the IVP books have received recognition by Christianity Today, the Canadian Word Guild and Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, among others.

Bibliography

  • "A Brief History Of The International Fellowship Of Evangelical Students" by Douglas Johnson, Lausanne, Switz.: IFES, 1964.
  • "The Day of His Power" by Pete Lowman, Leicester : Inter-Varsity, 1988, ISBN 0-85110-794-X.
  • "From the Campus to the World: Stories from the First Fifty Years of Student Foreign Missions Fellowship" by Alice Poynor, InterVarsity Press, 1986, ISBN 0-87784-947-1.
  • "Student Power in World Missions" by David M. Howard, InterVarsity Press, 1979, ISBN 0-87784-493-3. (Brief history of North American students in mission beginning with the Haystack Movement through the SVM to the SFMF.)
  • "The Growth of a Work of God" by C. Stacey Woods, InterVarsity Press, 1978, ISBN 0-87784-741-X. (Early history of InterVarsity/USA)
  • Hunt, Keith & Gladys (1991). For Christ and the University: The Story of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship of the U.S.A. 1940-1990. InterVarsity Press. ISBN 0830849963. 

 

See also

External links