You may wonder if you will ever change the world, but if you’re involved in a Christian group on campus, you have more influence that you think.
Act locally, pray globally
In a restricted Asian country, where following Jesus is illegal and risky, students find creative ways to meet for Bible study — on a common transport tricycle. These brave students, and others like them around the world, face sizeable challenges in loving God at their universities. Celebrate what God is doing in other countries and plan now to join your global brothers and sisters in prayer during the IFES World Student Day on October 15, 2015.
Every USA InterVarsity chapter is part of a world-wide community called the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students. For sixty years, this partnership of national student movements has shared three goals in their global student witness: evangelism, formacion (discipleship), and world mission.
“World Student Day is a day when the IFES family can consciously pray together to advance God’s kingdom among students,” said Femi Adeleye, IFES Associate General Secretary.
He invites students on U.S. campuses to join together in praying that transformed students in every country will impact their universities, churches and societies for the glory of Christ.
There are many places around the world where student ministry faces challenges. Opposition might come from hostile regimes — or in highly secular countries where Christians can’t meet on campus. In some countries, Christians are the persecuted minority. For students in countries where there is war or poverty, university terms are often disrupted by violence, strikes or unstable government. Yet the good news of Jesus penetrates the hearts of students with life-altering truth and grace in every country, to his eternal glory.
Make the most of the time
On Friday, October 15, World Student Day starts as the day begins in Tonga and draws to a close 48 hours later as the day ends in Samoa.
Throughout the day, suggestions for prayer will be posted on the IFES website. Prepare now for a day of focused prayer for your brothers and sisters on every continent. Here are some creative ideas to use in your campus group:
- Hold a special prayer meeting and invite international students to give news about their countries.
- Host a prayer walk or 24-hour prayer chain.
- Use the week before World Student Day for prayer gatherings on different days.
- As you pray for students on your campus, region and across different time zones, ask, “What does it mean to be a student in this place?”
Remember the small-group Bible study on the Asian tricycle? For these students, a “group” is a maximum of three people. Two of them pedal up front and the third person sits in the basket in the back and reads the Scripture out loud. As they pedal along, they discuss the text. The one in the back takes notes, marks the text and makes connections on the page.
“This is how we do inductive Bible study in our IFES student group,” said one member. “We drive right past the police and they don’t notice that we are studying the Bible.”
Your Bible study group may not have to go biking to avoid the watchful eye of local authorities. But you can take time to pray with others in your faith community during the IFES World Student Day. You’ll expand your vision of what God is doing around the world — and be renewed for the mission of Jesus on your own campus.
Take the IFES Quiz (answers below):
1. What is the name of the IFES member movement in the United States?
2. How many national student movements belong to IFES?
3. How many countries have a university system but no IFES movement?
4. In what area of the world is student ministry growing the fastest?
5. In what area of the world is student ministry most difficult?
6. In what area of the world are students the most apathetic and closed to the gospel?
7. How many IFES movements have very few staff or financial resources?
1. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA is the only organization in the USA which is a member of IFES.
2. There are 160 IFES student movements, with 136 formally affiliated and 24 in close association with IFES.
3. Pray for the 18 countries with universities, but no IFES ministry.
4. Africa is seeing the most rapid growth of IFES student groups. Yet racial, religious and economic rivalries threatens the continent. Pray for students who want to live as Christians in this fragile context.
5. The Middle East and North Africa are difficult places for believers, yet the opportunities are immense for the gospel of hope, forgiveness and reconciliation.
6. In West Europe, students are often unresponsive to the gospel due to secularism, materialism and sexual freedom.
7. Approximately 75% of the 160 IFES student movements are significantly lacking in staff and financial resources. Pray that God’s Kingdom among students will expand and grow despite limited resources.