The 2030 Calling
About a year ago, InterVarsity went through a process of discerning its future. One of the crucial parts of this conversation was the landscape of college campuses in the U.S.
“[There are] 2,500 campuses around the U.S. that have over 1,000 students. And our research showed, along with our campus ministry partners around the country, that only about 1,200 or those 2,500 were campuses that had some sort of active Christian community there,” InterVarsity’s President and CEO Tom Lin says.
This research disturbed InterVarsity, which is currently on 700 campuses.
According to InterVarsity, nearly one-third of students on college campuses do not have a religious affiliation, identifying as atheist, agnostic, or non-religious.
This information burdens the ministry to bridge the gap and see every campus, both public and private, have an active Christian community. InterVarsity believes that every student should have the chance to hear the Gospel and experience discipleship.
Challenges to the Vision
Still, InterVarsity is expecting challenges to its 2030 Calling. For one, the ministry has observed a culture of hopelessness on college campuses.
“Everywhere you turn there seems to be a lack of hope whether it’s looking at today’s economic realities, political realities, social realities, just students struggling on campus with so many things…We believe that they need the hope of Christ and we want them to have that opportunity to hear the Gospel,” Lin shares.
InterVarsity also occasionally faces campus access issues. Some colleges and universities refuse to allow Christian groups on campus. InterVarsity requires its student leaders to be Christians, and this is sometimes viewed as discriminatory.
Partners for Revival
But these challenges haven’t discouraged InterVarsity. And with this large of a vision, the ministry knows it will take take group work to make Gospel opportunities a reality on college campuses. This is why InterVarsity is collaborating with campus ministry partners across the country.
“This is not just about InterVarsity. We don’t believe that InterVarsity has to have our own ministry on each of those campuses, but we want to see one on each of those campuses. So, whether it’s InterVarsity or something else, we want to be a part of catalyzing that work. And that’s really what we’re talking about when we say each of the 2,500 campuses,” Lin explains.
Many church denominations have come to InterVarsity with a desire to help. InterVarsity is inviting other ministries to work together to help plant their own work on campuses. InterVarsity is also teaming up with its sister ministry Cru, and they’re also developing an online platform called Every Campus.
“Basically to mobilize thousands and thousands of people to pray and intercede for every one of these 2,500 campuses. So really, it’s a mobilization effort of prayer [and] to also increase awareness of this gap,” Lin says.
The ministry is also looking into creating a digital ministry hub. In this hub, the best ministry resources would be put online and made available to churches, individuals, and volunteers to use on campuses near them.
Be Prayerful, Be Active
But for now, get involved with InterVarsity’s 2030 Calling by visiting the Every Campus website. Visitors to the site can sign up to be a prayer partner and find ways to pray for each of the 2,500 campuses. Lin says the website will continually be updated with more information and content. For now, it serves as a great starting point.
Another way to come alongside the 2030 Calling is by checking out InterVarsity online. At their website, InterVarsity has more prayer opportunities. There are also ways to get involved with a campus chapter along with information on where chapters need to be started.
“Part of our vision does have to do with a yearning or a longing for revival on all these campuses,” Lin says.
“We want to see mass communities, large groups of students coming to Christ. We want to see faculty and professors, their lives transformed by the Gospel and thereby bringing change to the University.”
This December, InterVarsity will be hosting Urbana 18, the largest student Missions conference in North America. Learn more about Urbana and how to get involved here.