By Greg Johnson

Culture Change at Brown

Greg Johnson is an InterVarsity team leader at Rhode Island’s Brown University campus. He’s working with a chapter of about 45 students to help them move from being self-protective about their Christian faith to becoming missional and more focused on others’ needs.

Early in the 2008 spring semester, a student at the University of Rhode Island gave an invitation and there was a big response—25 students came to faith. We played the mp3 of this testimony at our Brown University leadership meeting and talked about how it goes against our beliefs that large numbers of conversions cannot happen. This was a turning point for those who thought, “This could never happen.” It was an important moment in the life of the chapter. Students became more open to the risks of sharing.

The other turning point was our second spring break Katrina Relief Urban Plunge (KRUP). We took a diverse group of students on a Katrina relief project to spend our days building houses and our evenings exploring what Jesus says about social justice. The Brown KRUP group was weighted toward seekers and skeptics. It was not only diverse spiritually, but also ethnically and internationally.

The group met several times before the trip to build community among themselves. They learned about the details of the trip and one another’s backgrounds and spirituality. The group included students from all over the world, such as China, India, and the Middle East. Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims were among the group. The cool thing is that they liked each other.

On the trip we had amazing Bible studies, focusing on passages from Luke. We had four nights of content and then a celebration on the last night where students were invited to share their experiences. One woman said that she had been looking for proof that God existed. Many people shared that they were excited to get their first Bible. The best thing was that we had some conversions.

The Katrina project allowed our students to experience the thrill and the excitement of being a missional follower of Jesus Christ.

Greg shares more about the missional transition at the Brown University campus in an interview with Beth Seversen at InterVarsity’s Evangelism website.

You can make a direct financial donation to support InterVarsity’s work at Brown University by following this link.