By Gordon Govier

InterVarsity alumni - Pastor Mark Seversen

Mark Seversen squeezed in time for InterVarsity small group Bible studies during the days that he commuted to the University of Minnesota from his home in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin.

His understanding of the college campus as a mission field started to develop in seminary, when he read Charles Malik’s A Christian Critique of the University.

“It opened my eyes to the impact that the university has on society,” he recalls. “I thought, ‘this is the place to invest the energy of my life for a period of time.’”

Remembering a mentor who told him “Mark, if I had it to do over again, I would not pastor a church until I was 30,” he began to study groups that work on campus. InterVarsity’s philosophy of ministry appealed to him, particulary its emphasis on leadership training.

“It resonated with what I see as the philosophy of ministry of a church, or what the church ought to be like.”

He became an InterVarsity staff worker at Milwaukee School of Engineering, Marquette University, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and gained the practical experience that complemented his seminary education.

“I discovered I would have to be a lot more effective as a communicator in order to reach a cross section of university students,” he said.

Today, as the 44-year old pastor of a congregation of 1200 in Prairie Village, Kansas, Mark is thankful for the daily contact with college students that helped develop his ministry skills. He’s noticed something about the upscale suburban neighborhoods that surround Hillcrest Covenant Church. “The people are asking the same sorts of questions university students are asking,” he says.