We are affiliated with the national organization InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA®, which is a member of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA is an evangelical campus mission serving more than 32,000 students and faculty on more than 550 college and university campuses nationwide. Incorporated in 1941, InterVarsity has a rich tradition of campus witness, thoughtful discipleship, and a concern for world missions.
Purpose Statement In response to God’s love, grace and truth: The Purpose of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA is to establish and advance at colleges and universities witnessing communities of students and faculty who follow Jesus as Savior and Lord: growing in love for God, God’s Word, God’s people of every ethnicity and culture and God’s purposes in the world.
Our Vision is to see Students and Faculty Transformed, Campuses Renewed, & World Changers Developed
We believe in: The only true God, the almighty Creator of all things, existing eternally in three persons– Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–full of love and glory. The unique divine inspiration, entire trustworthiness and authority of the Bible. The value and dignity of all people: created in God’s image to live in love and holiness, but alienated from God and each other because of our sin and guilt, and justly subject to God’s wrath. Jesus Christ, fully human and fully divine, who lived as a perfect example, who assumed the judgment due sinners by dying in our place, and who was bodily raised from the dead and ascended as Savior and Lord. Justification by God’s grace to all who repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. The indwelling presence and transforming power of the Holy Spirit, who gives to all believers a new life and a new calling to obedient service. The unity of all believers in Jesus Christ, manifest in worshiping and witnessing churches making disciples throughout the world. The victorious reign and future personal return of Jesus Christ, who will judge all people with justice and mercy, giving over the unrepentant to eternal condemnation but receiving the redeemed into eternal life. To God be glory forever.
Our movement began with students at the University of Cambridge, England in 1877. There, a group of Christian students began to meet together, in spite of the disapproval of some University officials, to pray, to study the Bible and to witness to fellow students. Soon, similar groups sprung up on other campuses. Eventually, they formed the British Inter-Varsity. (Hence our name, inter – meaning between, varsity – the British term for college level students.) From the very beginning they had a strong concern to take the gospel to those all over the world who had never heard it – a concern that continues in InterVarsity today.
In response to a plea for help, British InterVarsity sent Howard Guinness, a medical school graduate and vice-chairman of the British movement, to Canada in 1928. Students helped raise the money to provide one-way passage to Canada. Between bouts of seasickness, Guinness led his cabin mate to Christ during the crossing. As God supplied the funds, he slowly worked his way across Canada, starting up and assisting evangelical student groups.
By 1937 the Canadians began to hear requests for help from students in the United States as independent evangelical student groups began springing up. In 1938 Stacey Woods, the Canadian InterVarsity director, met with students on the University of Michigan campus. As an immediate result of that visit, students formed the first InterVarsity chapter in the United States.
By May of 1941 InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA was an official organization, with three staff on loan from Canada and Stacey Woods at the helm as Secretary General. In 1947 InterVarsity USA became a founding member of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, a federation of national Christian student movements. The other charter members are Australia, Britain, Canada, China, France, Holland, New Zealand, Norway, and Switzerland.
By 1950 there were 35 staff serving students in 499 InterVarsity chapters across the country. InterVarsity Press had been started to supply quality literature suitable for the campus. And the Urbana student missions convention had begun the tradition of calling every student generation to consider global missions. By the early seventies there were more than 200 staff.
Today, there are more than 1000 InterVarsity staff serving more than 34,000 students and faculty nationwide. In addition we produce training materials, camps, books, and media tools which serve both the Church and campus. Our work touches every kind of student including graduate students and faculty. We are seeking to build witnessing communities on the campus which are bold, broad and ethnically diverse.
Courtesy of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA
It all began in 1944 on the campus of Colorado State College of Education, now known as the University of Northern Colorado. A man by the name of Gene Thomas was beginning his Junior year, and decided that it would be interesting to read the Bible for the first time, and it would be even better to do it with a bunch of other guys who had never read it either.
One day, while waiting for his date at her sorority, he stumbled across a magazine titled “HIS” published by InterVarsity. Thumbing through it, he came across an advertisement for a Bible study guide titled “Discovering the Gospel of Mark” by Jane Hollingsworth. He decided to order it, and this became the basis for his small group exploring the Bible.
Over the next two years many guys came to faith in Christ, just from reading about Jesus in the gospel of Mark. But Gene Thomas was not one of them. He still wasn’t sure if he wanted to submit His life to Jesus. But he did love to study about Jesus, and he wanted his tradition to continue. He convinced many of his friends who were still in college to lead studies of Mark in the same way that Gene did.
Gene began driving to Colorado A&M (now Colorado State University) starting Bible studies there as well. Soon, he was traveling to a different campus every night to be a part of the Bible studies, including the University of Denver, the University of Colorado in Boulder, and the University of Wyoming in Laramie. And after seeing all that God was doing, Gene decided he was ready to submit his life to the Lord.
God then provided Gene with a job that actually sent him to college campuses all around the Rocky Mountains. Using this opportunity, he established InterVarsity chapters in Utah, Nebraska, Kansas, and New Mexico, along with those in Colorado and Wyoming, all in two years.
Now, 60 years later, InterVarsity is thriving in the Rocky Mountain Region. InterVarsity is on 23 campuses and serving over 900 students. The inductive method of Bible study that was taught in “Discovering the Gospel of Mark” and used in the first Bible study is still being used in Bible studies today. And God is still doing the same miracles He did for Gene Thomas, introducing people to Himself, and providing for His ministry in the Rocky Mountains.
Summarized from “When God Shows Up On Campus” by Don Everts