Across the country InterVarsity chapters have been gathering in regional groups for their annual fall conferences. Away from campus for a few days, attendees have a chance to draw closer to God as they make life-changing decisions. Here’s a short report on one conference from Jon Eisenberg, assistant regional director in the Mid-Atlantic Region. It was held in mid-October at Refreshing Mountain Camp in Ephrata, Pennsylvania.
Conference speaker Dan Siewert, of Inter-Varsity Canada, focused on the goodness of God by highlighting the parables of Jesus that describe the Kingdom of God. “The parables are not about the end of your life,” he said. “The parables are about now. Are you willing to take the risk now to find something that big?”
- 170 students attended from 11 campuses in central and northern Pennsylvania.
- 3 campuses were represented for the first time (places where we’re planting chapters).
- 8 people decided to follow Jesus for the first time.
After the conference, staff spent an hour telling stories about what God had done. Here are two stories:
One young man came to college intent on creating a new sense of who he is. Four years later, his pursuit of women and drugs left him empty. He decided to follow Jesus about two weeks before the conference. During individual time on Saturday morning, he grabbed his staff worker and said: “I know it’s individual time but I’ve got to tell you how amazing this is. I mean Jesus is amazing. I’ve got to tell people.” He proceeded to list all of his friends that he planned to tell about Jesus.
Eight students from Bloomsburg University came with only one thing in common – they knew Betsy Staudt, the staff member who is planting a new fellowship on campus. They left deeply bonded to one another, having spent the entire weekend hanging out together. Several of these students confessed personal struggles to each other, asking for prayer and accountability as they returned to campus.
In many ways their story is still in process. Typically fall conference does more to deepen relationships and start conversations than “close the deal.” So please keep praying. We ask specifically that you pray:
- For God to help people who decided to follow Jesus to follow through on their commitments.
- For many students who seemed to respond “yeah, but . . . “ during the weekend. Pray that the Lord will convince them of His surpassing goodness.
- For energy and wisdom as staff and student leaders continue to follow up with students who attended.
See our two minute slideshow, with audio excerpts of teaching and worship.