InterVarsity Staff Return from IFES World Assembly
The results of the World Assembly of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students will be seen around the globe, as God works in the lives of the 600 representatives from 150 countries who gathered in Krakow, Poland, at the end of July and through the beginning of August.
Ramez Atallah, the outgoing president of IFES, issued a final challenge to students and IFES workers to avoid being overly focused on their gifts and talents. “The successful are usually task rather than gift oriented,” he said. “Focus on the task that God is calling you to. He will enable you to apply the gifts he has given you to that task he is calling you to.”
In addition to a challenge, there was a final reminder to stay focused on the cross of Christ and all that it symbolizes. “The cross is inescapable, essential, relevant and powerful,” said Femi Adeleye, Associate General Secretary for Partnership and Collaboration. “We have all been called to follow the Lord Jesus. If he is to be Lord, then there can be no compromise in our commitment to the cross.”
World Assembly participants from InterVarsity/USA used their time in Krakow to educate themselves on how God is working on campuses in other countries. “We have learned so much from the other IFES movements, our sister movements around the world,” said Tom Lin, InterVarsity’s Vice President for Missions and the Director of Urbana 12.
Tom was particularly interested in what other IFES movements are doing in three areas: planting new chapters (“Which is a priority for us now in the U.S.”), evangelism (“It encourages us to be bolder on our own campuses.”), and dealing with restricted access to campuses (“They figure out ways to grow student witness even in the midst of those difficult circumstances.”).
InterVarsity president Alec Hill said the interconnectedness of the global Christian movement is clearly on display at World Assembly. “There are student workers in Mozambique, in Peru, and in Singapore, who though they look different and have different languages, are one in sharing the gospel and building Christian community among students and faculty,” he said.
Alec used the World Assembly to develop relationships and learn about student ministry in other contexts. “What’s wonderful being with 600 people from 150 plus nations, is that you see Jesus as Lord in a much broader, transcendent context,” he said. “Just for this week we’re elevated to seeing something that I don’t know that I’ll see again until I get to heaven.”