Alec Hill: Planting new chapters

Few things in life excite me more than the planting of new InterVarsity chapters. I love the fact that mission-focused risk-taking staff are taking the Gospel to new groups of students and faculty across the nation.

In 2005, when we had 829 chapters, we began to ask what it would take to plant 100 new chapters over the next five years. Was this the Lord’s will? Would we be able to identify and train enough planters? How much would it cost?

In our Father’s good providence, Jim Lundgren, our Senior VP/Director of Collegiate Ministries, connected with the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC). The ECC, he discovered, has a marvelous track record of planting ethnically diverse churches. Jim called together a Chapter Planting Task Force that contextualized the ECC approach for InterVarsity and put together the following chart – spelling out the seven essential elements of a successful plant:

The key, they discovered, was to find “missional Christians” and then deeply invest in them. In turn, these leaders would reach out to their peers.

This approach has proven to be very effective. To date, a total of 63 new chapter plants have been successfully launched via four national cohorts. Our first three cohorts (2006, 2007 & 2008) have already reached 1,539* core students and faculty of whom 115 came to faith in Jesus last school year (the total for all three years is 183). We expect these figures to continue to increase as the chapters mature.

Each plant is provided with $33,000 in seed money. The majority of these funds is allocated to planters via a matching grant that enables them to transition to their new focus. Other funds provide for a coach, on-going training, and resource materials (e.g. banners, brochures). I well remember when Jim and I presented the vision to our first major donor. His gift of $200,000 funded six new chapters – half of the first (2006) cohort.

We are deeply thankful for the partnership of a dozen donors who have funded the first four cohorts. And, we are diligently praying for the remaining funds necessary for our 2010 and 2011 cohorts.
2007 Cohort (12 chapter plants)
2009 Cohort (22 chapter plants – launching this fall!)

The 63 new chapters contain a remarkable variety of campus outreaches. Thanks be to God for the students and faculty who are being impacted by the Gospel. Please pray for the following campuses:

Traditional Undergraduates

  • Oklahoma, Temple, Georgia State, Iowa, Cal—State Long Beach, East Carolina, Creighton, U Mass—Boston, Missouri at St. Louis, Charleston, Towson State, Texas Pan American, Florida International, Wright State, Aurora U, Alvernia College, Lynchburg College, Missouri at Kansas City, Champlain College, Allan Hancock College, Jacksonville U, Rutgers (New Brunswick campus), West Connecticut State U, Cal—Merced, Bloomsburg U


  • Clemson, New Hampshire, Virginia, Georgia, James Madison, Central Michigan, Texas, Washington State, North Carolina State, University of Pennsylvania


Graduate Students and Faculty

  • Wake Forest, Colorado, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Emory, Vanderbilt, Babson, Carnegie Mellon, University of California—Irvine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Professional Schools Ministry)


International Students

  • Memphis, Oregon, UCLA, Michigan, North Carolina


Community Colleges

  • Portland CC, Fresno City College, San Diego Mesa CC, Pasadena CC


Ethnic Specific

  • Missouri @ Columbia (Asian American), Bowie State (Black), Yale (Black), Central Florida (South Asian)



  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College



  • New Hampshire


You can make a direct financial donation to support witnessing communities being planted on more campuses by following this link.

*Core students and faculty are involved in at least 50% of a chapter’s activities.