Eleven hundred participants made up of college students and campus staff ministers from 170 countries. Seventy seminars. Twenty-two meals together. Thirteen new student movements. And one message of hope to take back to universities across the globe. July 3–11, 2019, this is what 50 staff from across InterVarsity/USA experienced as they participated in a special event that only occurs once every four years: IFES World Assembly.
World Assembly, put on by the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, focused its delegates on being messengers of hope to the world around them. It provided a unique place for our movements to break bread, listen to front-line perspectives, learn from exposition on portions of Luke and Acts, form new friendships through daily cross-national small groups, lament, rejoice, and pray with our brothers and sisters across the globe. In addition, affiliated IFES members voted on resolutions, welcomed 13 new movements, and had vibrant discussions on issues facing today’s global church. With no shortage of content, World Assembly delegates went home with much to process.
It’s tempting to let this be a standalone event for those of us privileged enough to attend, but what if we instead catalyzed our experience to improve our own movement and better love our IFES brothers and sisters?
As the USA delegation returns to our roles, here are some points to contemplate and implement across our movement.
- Learning from IFES movements to further the 2030 Calling: While innovation and ideas are coming from within our movement, we can also learn from IFES movements who have already faced similar challenges. For example, UESI in India empowers alumni to plant chapters, EvaSUE Ethiopia reaches 45,000 students with less than 50 full-time staff, and movements in Europe are finding new ways to reach students in an increasingly post-Christian society. We have a great deal to learn from our IFES brothers and sisters.
- Developing world changers: Not only do we long to see lives transformed and campuses renewed, but we also long to see world changers developed. To do that well, we need to educate our students on global issues and help them form healthy cross-cultural relationships. While we can do some of that on our campuses, what would it look like for chapters or areas to regularly connect with another IFES movement? Students could pray for each other on World Student Day (October 18, 2019), share ideas to reach their friends, visit one another (a possible Global Program), and dream of new ways to support and encourage one another.
- Establishing and deepening relationships with IFES movements: As a founding member of IFES in 1947, InterVarsity committed to seeing a Christian witness not just on every corner and every campus of the US, but also in every country! While each IFES movement is independently led, what are ways we can serve and support our global fellowship? Could areas or regions establish and deepen relationships with other movements by praying with, taking offerings for, or even hosting students and staff? InterVarsity Link currently has 200+ staffing requests from across the IFES fellowship. Could God be calling some of us to go and serve as staff in another movement?
World Assembly brought forth major topics that will require careful thought and consideration at personal, chapter, regional, and national levels. However, we don’t want these topics to paralyze us or stop us from taking a step in the direction the Lord is leading. We pray that World Assembly will instead be an Ebenezer of remembrance for how the Lord moved us.
To watch talks, hear delegate reflections, and get a better picture of World Assembly, watch videos on the IFES World YouTube channel by clicking below.
Watch World Assembly Videos