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InterVarsity Sees Growth Despite Challenge
August 25, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Madison, WI) – Across the country colleges and universities are beginning a new school year. Leaders of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship anticipate another exciting year of growth in campus ministry despite some uncertainty created by a recent Supreme Court decision.
Taking note of five years of steadily increasing numbers of on-campus conversions, and the largest-ever class of new staff trained in June, InterVarsity president Alec Hill said, “This is a good season for InterVarsity right now, the climate for campus ministry has never been better.”
In the past five years InterVarsity staff members have seen an increase of 68 percent in the number of students we work with becoming followers of Jesus Christ. The number of non-Christians involved in chapter activities has increased by 44 percent. Despite the fact that field staff must raise their financial support in the worst economy of the past half-century, a record number of 134 new staff attended InterVarsity’s Orientation of New Staff conference in June.
As part of its focus campaign to reach new campuses, InterVarsity has planted 69 new chapters over the past four years. More than 2,160 students and faculty are active in those new chapters. This fall an additional 17 new chapters are being planted at campuses across the country, from Iowa Central Community College to the University of Connecticut.
Questions about campus ministry were raised by the June ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, in which the justices decided in a 5-4 decision that the University of California Hastings College of Law could deny official recognition to the Christian Legal Society (CLS) as a campus organization. The denial was based on CLS’s requirement that members of the organization affirm a statement of faith and on Hastings’ “all comers” anti-discrimination policy which states that all student organizations must accept all students who apply for membership.
InterVarsity does not have a strict membership policy, but we do require our leaders to affirm our Doctrinal Statement. However Hastings’ “all comers” policy seems to be unique among colleges. So the impact of the CLS v. Martinez decision on InterVarsity’s campus ministry is still unclear. It is our hope that we will be able to continue to operate as freely as any other campus organization.
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA is an interdenominational ministry working with 35,000 core students and faculty in 850 chapters on U.S. college and university campuses. “Core” is defined as 50 percent participation or more. Founded in 1941, InterVarsity is a member of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, advancing Christian student work in 150 countries.
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