Campus staff member Tina Aceti had big dreams for the Greek InterVarsity chapter at Central Michigan University (CMU). She arrived on campus this fall energized to meet new students and prepared to support InterVarsity students in their relationships with non-Christian Greek brothers and sisters. But as the first weeks of school came and went, Tina felt disappointed with the chapter’s growth.
One afternoon, she went for a run, venting her feelings to God. She was frustrated with the slow progress of making connections, few contacts among freshmen, and small group Bible studies struggling to take off. As she prayed, God prompted her to examine the causal way she asked her friends and donors to pray for the Greek students at CMU. Did she really depend on God to transform students’ lives or was asking people to pray an afterthought?
Tina realized that God needed to be placed at the heart of her work. She set a challenge for herself, her students, and her prayer partners to begin praying daily for specific opportunities to share the gospel with Greek students. She named the project “Operation Saturation.”
An Intimidating Population
For many students, initiating spiritual conversations with their Greek peers is intimidating. “Peer pressure is really intense in sororities and fraternities,” said Tina, who was a part of Alpha Chi Omega as a student and experienced the tension that sometimes arises from being both a Christian and a Greek. “Living out a vibrant Christian life while still loving and living with them is difficult.”
Part of the difficulty of witnessing in this environment is that many Greek students have attended church as children and believe that God exists. “They think they’re OK with God, but Jesus isn’t Lord over their lives,” said Tina.
In anticipation of Greek InterVarsity’s National Invitation Week, a week which encouraged InterVarsity students to invite their house members into a relationship with Jesus, Tina asked students to pray daily. She emphasized that as Christians, we rely on God’s strength, and she advised students to enlist family and friends to pray for the Greek houses as well. Students responded with an enthusiastic “yes.”
An Invitation to Live for Christ
Students began praying that they would have God’s desire for their Greek brothers and sisters to be reconciled to Him. As InterVarsity student Kaleo led a Bible study discussion, she felt the Holy Spirit leading her to share the transforming nature of the gospel with women who felt lukewarm in their faith. Though nervous, she was thrilled to be part of God’s mission and the women began to honestly examine their spiritual state.
Seven other Bible study leaders presented the gospel during National Invitation Week, asking attendees to make a clear decision to follow Jesus. Several students desired to meet one-on-one with InterVarsity leaders to learn more about what living for Jesus means.
Kaitlin was one such student. She was curious about the concept of spiritual birth and questioned her Bible study leader Amelia. Amelia shared the gospel with Kaitlin, stressing that following Jesus was a life-altering decision, and should not be made in a hasty moment. Kaitlin knew she wanted a deeper relationship with God and committed to placing God first in her life.
A Growing Partnership
Many of Tina’s family, church, and donors expressed excitement when she asked them to increase their prayers for Greek students. They wanted to pray more specifically, and Tina shared how God was working in students’ lives. Not only was she encouraged by their response, but those praying felt a greater sense of partnership in InterVarsity’s ministry.
“It’s not just me out there,” said Tina, hearing how people hung her prayer requests in their office or shared them at church. “I know they’re standing with me.” The National Invitation Week ended November 13. The effects have not. “We’re still in the midst of God working,” said Tina.
As InterVarsity’s Greek Conference approaches, students who have heard the gospel are invited to attend and learn more about following Jesus. Tina continues to think about her prayer relationship with God and how to include people in ministry. “We have to be strategic because it’s not by our flesh and blood that students are saved,” she said.
You can make a direct financial donation to support InterVarsity’s work at Central Michigan University by following this link.