InterVarsity plans 2.5K college fellowships by 2030

Sunday, August 26, 2018
 | 
Michael F. Haverluck (OneNewsNow.com)

college campus night sceneThe college campus ministry InterVarsity announced that it is launching a campaign to plant 2,500 Christian fellowships on major college campuses across the United States within the next dozen years.

InterVarsity is stepping up its efforts via its “2030 Calling” to reach America’s young adults before they hit their career paths and substantially influence the direction of the nation.

“As more than 1,500 InterVarsity campus staff ministers – along with student and faculty leaders – return to campuses this fall, their focus is on the 2030 Calling – which states: ‘Longing for revival, we catalyze movements that call every corner of every campus to follow Jesus,’” InterVarsity announced in a news release it issued last week.

Spirit-filled plans for academia

InterVarsity President Tom Lin stressed that his ministry’s ambitious endeavor is looking to reach every college across America with a substantial student body population – as a majority of these campuses lack Christian groups.

“We want to see a witnessing community on all 2,500 U.S. campuses with 1,000 students or more by the year 2030,” Lin stated in its news release. “Right now, 53 percent of those 2,500 campuses do not have any known Christian ministry. We have seen that college students are still looking for hope and significance for their lives. In fact, the last 10 years have been among the most fruitful in InterVarsity’s 77-year history.”

With this new campaign, InterVarsity Director of External Relations Greg Jao – who also serves as Lin’s senior assistant – wants to make sure that no one leaves campus without being introduced to the Good News of Jesus Christ.

"Our deep conviction is that every student at every university and every faculty member at every university deserves an opportunity to hear the Gospel in a compelling, passionate and personal way from somebody that they know," Jao told The Christian Post (CP). "The best way to do that is to make sure that there is a campus fellowship at every one of those places."

He impressed how crucial this college movement is to America’s future.

“[T]he 2030 Calling is strategic because] today's college students represent the leaders in our churches, government, businesses and nonprofits of tomorrow," Jao added. "Reaching today's college students and introducing them to the Gospel and helping them to follow Jesus not only changes their lives – it changes the trajectory of our country over decades."

The dwindling faith of Millennials

The campus ministry laments that America’s young generation is turning from God to embrace the hopeless secular humanism preached from campus lecterns on a daily basis.

“Of the 20 million students in college right now, nearly one-third have no religious affiliation or identify as atheist, agnostic, or of no religion,” InterVarsity informed. “To reach more of these students, InterVarsity plans to accelerate the planting of new chapters throughout the country, partnering with other campus ministries – as well as churches, volunteers and InterVarsity alumni. In addition, InterVarsity is uniquely positioned to reach faculty members because of the nearly 2,000 faculty on campuses across the country involved with InterVarsity in the 2017–2018 academic year.”

Lin is excited to launch the revolutionary crusade and watch it radically change students’ lives.

“The 2030 Calling represents a new shift in how InterVarsity approaches campus ministry," the Christian leader pointed out. "More than ever before, InterVarsity is inviting partners from every part of God’s kingdom to participate in his work among students and faculty. This is not about planting InterVarsity’s flag on every campus; it’s about declaring God’s glory on every campus.”

The Christian campus movement is already alive and well from coast to coast, and its latest shift of resources from the West Coast to the Gulf Coast was administered to adapt to changing needs.

“InterVarsity has chapters in all 50 states – on a total of 695 campuses,” the Christian group divulged. “A recent highlight is the relocation of InterVarsity staff from Los Angeles to revive campus ministry along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana.”

Even bigger things are expected over the next decade-plus.

“We believe the Lord can use us – in partnership with others – to bring a powerful movement of the Spirit among a new generation of students and faculty,” Lin expressed. “We truly are longing for revival on campus, and we believe that – in the next 12 years – that’s exactly what God will do through the 2030 Calling.”

Godlessness pervading U.S college campuses

As was pointed out by Lin above, college students are losing their religion – or staying away from it – more than ever before. This is a trend that was recognized with college freshmen … and the latest statistics prove it.

A major nationwide survey by the Cooperative International Research Program (CIPR) indicated that the number and proportion of students who list their religious affiliation as “None” has skyrocketed on college campuses across the United States.

“The number of college students with no religious affiliation has tripled in the last 30 years – from 10 percent in 1986 to 31 percent in 2016,” the Scientific American revealed from the CIPR study. “Over the same period, the number who attended religious services dropped from 85 percent to 69 percent. These trends provide a snapshot of the current generation of young adults; they also provide a preview of rapid secularization in the U.S. over the next 30 years.”

Surveying incoming college students for more than half a century concerning their religious beliefs and preferences – along with their attendance of religious services – CIRP took to college campuses in 2016 to survey more than 137,000 college freshmen at 184 American colleges and universities, and found that a steady rate have been leaving the faith for decades … at a proliferating rate.

“[T]he number of students whose religious preference is ‘None’ has changed over time,” Scientific American’s Allen Downey revealed in May 2017 from the survey. “The retreat from religion starts around 1990 and accelerates – averaging almost 1 percentage point per year.”

Some of the data was broken down by various denominations.

“Most of this growth comes at the expense of Catholicism (which dropped from 32 percent to 23 percent), and mainstream Protestant denominations, including Baptists (from 17 percent to 7 percent), and Methodists (from 9 percent to 3 percent),” Downey pointed out. “At the same time, the number of students choosing ‘Other Christian’ increased from 5 percent to 13 percent.”

Details were also presented about the rates found at different types as academic institutions.

“The fraction of ‘Nones’ is higher at universities (36 percent) than at four-year colleges (26 percent) – mostly because more colleges than universities are religiously affiliated,” Downey noted. “Not surprisingly, religious colleges are more religious (with only 17 percent Nones) and historically, black colleges even more so, with 11 percent Nones.”

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