Growing a Chapter through Prayer

Lisa Yu was asked to staff the small chapter at Adelphi University on Long Island five years ago. As she considered whether or not to accept this position, Lisa spent several days on campus praying. God answered her prayers by giving her a strong passion for Adelphi students. He has been answering prayers for the Adelphi chapter ever since.

The chapter that had five members when Lisa started her ministry with them, has grown to over forty students, overflowing the meeting room space. The chapter plans to continue to emphasize evangelism, and develop an outreach to commuters.

Lisa was encouraged that God answered her prayer, giving her a passion for the students at Adelphi. She has taught the students to pray for the ministry on campus, expecting that God will answer. Praying together has also influenced the format of their large group meetings and the witness that they have on campus.

When the chapter was small, the students ended every meeting standing in a circle praying for one another and offering support for one another’s needs. As the chapter grew, this practice continued. Lisa admits that praying for the large number of students who now come to the meetings can be difficult and take a long time, but the chapter members have persisted in making prayer a central element of their time together.

God dramatically answered several of the chapter’s prayers concerning their relationship to the university. When Lisa arrived on campus, the advisor for the student government, who had some control over room assignments and allocation of student funds, was antagonistic toward religious organizations. This affected the way that Lisa did ministry. She asked the students to pray that this person either have a change of heart or a change of position. Within two years another faculty person had taken over advising the student government. In 2005 the chapter received $1,600 to fund a campus-wide Thanksgiving dinner at which four people became Christians.

Four years ago, the college chaplain position became vacant. Again Lisa asked the students to pray. When the new chaplain was hired, he sought out Lisa. Now he works with her to advance the kingdom of God on campus and to represent InterVarsity to the administration.

God has also given the InterVarsity chapter and Lisa grace in the eyes of students and adminstrators on campus. The chapter is so well esteemed on campus that the student tour guides recommend it as a group to join when they are talking to prospective Adelphi students. For several years, the Dean of Students asked Lisa to give a presentation on multiethnicity to the incoming freshmen.

As the chapter grows, Lisa and the chapter will continue to pray. Lisa is looking forward to see how God will expand the kingdom on the Adelphi campus. Her prayer is that the chapter remain true to its calling as a part of the body of Christ to declare the good news and not become simply the “in” group on campus.