Millennials Who ARE in Church

For Immediate Release

(Madison, WI) -- Millennials have received lots of attention in recent months for drifting away from the Christian faith. Yet InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is experiencing one of the strongest growth periods in the 72-year history of its campus ministry.

Earlier this year, a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life indicated that the number of religiously unaffiliated Americans had jumped from 15 to 20 percent over a five-year period, and that the youngest adults surveyed were leading the trend. A CNN blog post by Rachel Held Evans provoked many responses to her reflections on why Millennials are leaving the church.

InterVarsity is experiencing just the opposite in its work on campus. In the midst of a growing numbers of students and faculty, more than half its participants report consistent church attendance, an activity that InterVarsity deeply values.

InterVarsity’s record participation includes 909 chapters on 590 campuses and more than 38,000 “core” students and faculty (those who participate in more than 50 percent of all activities). Multiple thousands more are involved with investigative Bible studies and other outreach activities.

Jim Lundgren, InterVarsity’s Senior Vice President and Director of Collegiate Ministry, believes that college-age people will respond to the gospel when they see its relevance. “Too often young people are not challenged with the understanding that the gospel message addresses issues they care about, such as justice and compassion,” he said. “InterVarsity has developed tools that help connect Millennials with the 2,000-year old mission of the church.”

What’s happening right now in InterVarsity?

  • InterVarsity staff and students are involved in New Student Outreach events across the country, from Ivy League universities to community colleges. Students and faculty are provided with creative opportunities—such as The Fake Campaign—to talk about the values they hold most deeply, and respond to the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • InterVarsity is preparing to host one of the largest outreaches in its 72-year history, the Price of Life Invitational, October 1-12, in New York City. This outreach will include over 80 events on 10 campuses. Five hundred students will be trained to engage their peers with the love of Christ through the lens of human trafficking.
  • InterVarsity has introduced a new ministry focusing on U.S. students who are studying abroad.
  • InterVarsity continues to engage with public and private colleges and universities on the issue of religious qualifications for leadership of Christian campus organizations.

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA is affiliated with the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES), and is a charter member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).

For more information:
Gordon Govier

NOTE: For deeper reflections on Millennials and campus ministry, we invite you to read this column by InterVarsity staff member Tish Warren.