In front of a 140-foot timeline highlighting 75 years of campus ministry, 1,400 InterVarsity staff members from across the United States met for their first national staff conference under new InterVarsity president Tom Lin.
The conference, in Orlando, Florida, was a time for staff to refresh and reconnect. They were challenged by Tom to use the weeklong meeting to renew their own calling to ministry and reaffirm God’s mission on campus.
Referring to the account of Jesus and Peter walking on the water in Matthew’s Gospel, Tom noted, “In the past year we’ve had our walking on the water moments and our sinking in the water moments.”
The current challenges of ministering in today’s culture are not new for our ministry. InterVarsity has been in the midst of every cultural shift of campus for the past 75 years. The 75-year timeline highlights successes in campus ministry and acknowledges some efforts that were not quite as successful.
The timeline introduction, next to a lifesize photo of InterVarsity founder Stacey Woods, states:
InterVarsity’s history is the story of God’s work through thousands of people who were both gifted and flawed. Most of their names and faces are unknown to us today, but their ideas and profound dedication to Scripture are still alive in us. Our commitment to establish and advance witnessing communities on campus has come to us through their often sacrificial lives.
The last ten years has been a period of growth for InterVarsity. Tom noted that InterVarsity has launched new ministries in the past year, and new regions for ministry have been created. InterVarsity now has more than 1,600 staff, and more than 1,000 chapters for the first time in our history.
A team of new executive vice presidents has been appointed to lead a restructuring of InterVarsity to increase capacity to reach even more campuses with the gospel. Even with the recent growth, InterVarsity is still on only 667 of the 4,000 college campuses in the U.S.
Tom stressed the importance of InterVarsity continuing to stay focused on Jesus and not the wind and waves. “Our identity is not in our leaders or our competencies but rather in Christ and Christ alone,” he said. “For 75 years our hope has been in the cross and the power of the resurrection. And for the next 75 years our hope will be in the cross and the power of the resurrection.”