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Cal State System Intolerant of Christian Leadership for Christian Groups; Intervarsity Christian Fellowship Forced to Reinvent Campus Ministry

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Credit:  InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

Credit: InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

The California State University (CSU) system has issued a nondiscrimination policy that requires InterVarsity to allow non-Christians to be chapter leaders. InterVarsity has always required chapter leaders to agree to our Doctrinal Basis, a summary of basic, historic Christian beliefs. While InterVarsity invites and welcomes all students as participants, we believe a Christian group should have the right to expect and even require their leaders to be Christian—just as any student group, club or Greek organization should be able to require their leaders to be like-minded.

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is now developing a new style of campus ministry on CSU campuses where we have been banned from participating in campus life as a recognized student organization. In order to maintain a ministry presence with 23 chapters on 19 CSU campuses, InterVarsity is introducing creative new ways to connect with students and share the gospel message—though doing so as an “unrecognized” student group will prove considerably more costly.

Because we are no longer allowed to participate in campus organization fairs, InterVarsity will make contact with students by deploying new tools such as mobile banner stands, interactive displays, social media, and other techniques that don’t rely on established campus structures.

“Our campus access challenges give this generation of students an opportunity to reinvent campus ministry,” said Greg Jao, InterVarsity’s National Field Director. “Even as we use new tools and techniques, we remind students that effective ministry is ultimately relational. It’s about students inviting other students to follow Jesus.”

On most of the 616 college campuses across the U.S where InterVarsity has 949 chapters, our student ministry work will continue as it has for more than seven decades. Overall our annual reports from staff indicate that InterVarsity is sharing the gospel message with more students and faculty than at any other time in our 73-year history.

During the 2013-2014 school year, 40,299 core students and faculty were actively involved with InterVarsity across the country, our highest participation rate ever. People professing faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord for the first time numbered 3,517, almost double the same number from 10 years ago. Approximately 50 percent of students active in our chapters are members of ethnic minority groups, in California the number is closer to 70 percent.

Students from every conceivable background still come to college seeking answers to life’s larger questions in order to find meaning and significance. And InterVarsity is committed to sharing with them the message of the gospel, a message that has been revolutionizing lives for 2,000 years.

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© 2014 InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

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