The parking lots at California State University-Northridge are always full. The majority of the student population is commuter students who work and take classes full-time, giving them little time to build friendships on campus. InterVarsity students wanted to find a way to make these students feel welcome and that they belonged within the campus community. The students and staff of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship wanted to reach commuter students with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Many commuter students are genuinely interested in growing in their relationship with God and fellowship with other Christians, but work schedules don’t permit them to connect through a Bible study for spiritual growth. These students want to be accepted and involved, but they don’t have the time to invest in meeting for an hour or two each week for Bible study and fellowship.
Eddy Ekmekji, InterVarsity staff at California State University- Northridge comments, “Though our ‘bread and butter’ is the dorms, my heart is among the 95 percent of the student population who doesn’t live there.” In an effort to reach these students, the staff team at California State University decided to offer shorter Bible studies for students who are interested but don’t have the time to commit to longer study groups.
The team is offering eight half-hour sessions for students to come together and study the Bible. “Our hope is that we are able to serve students in their schedules. InterVarsity strives to engage the entire campus, whether they live in the dorms or commute,” said Eddy.
There are six students who regularly attend these Bible studies. “I’ve asked one of them to be a leader in the ministry. My hope in having someone who commutes be a leader is that they will be motivated to work toward making the ministry stick a bit more with commuters,” said Eddy.
InterVarsity staff and students want to involve the entire campus. Students that commute to campus often find it more difficult to get involved in the campus community. These students are more likely to get involved if they see that InterVarsity members are willing to work with them and design activities they can attend.