by InterVarsity | Oct 27, 2016 | Highlight Reel, illinoisIV
Every week the staff team shares ministry celebrations with each other. We want to share those with you as well! Here are some glimpses of what’s been happening this fall:
above & below: scenes from New Student Retreat. Praise God for 15 students committing to God’s mission on campus, 4 students recommitting their lives to Christ, and one new follower of Christ!
New Life at New Student Retreat
Matthew, a small group leader, met Rachel, a non-Christian Chinese international student during NSO and noticed that she had so many questions about Christianity! Matthew texted me one night: “Should I have a staff meet with Rachel to answer her questions?” I replied: “I think YOU should meet with her, Matthew!” So he gave Rachel a Chinese/English Bible at our annual Trivia Night and instead of answering trivia questions, Rachel was reading the Bible the entire time.
Two weeks later, Matthew invited Rachel to our New Student Retreat. While I was giving the call to commitment, in my heart I was praying that she will stand. She didn’t. But the next morning Rachel approached me to ask for a pen. I replied, “I actually don’t, but I can get you one! What do you need it for?” Rachel said, “Well I wanted to write on my commitment card that I just became a Christian.” I responded, “I think I can find you a pen!”
Rachel shared with me her story about how she’s been impacted by our community and the way that our students love each other and live out their faith. She said, “I really want something to believe in.” It was an honor to pray with her. Honestly, friends, our NSO has experienced some setbacks. But Jesus is alive and drawing students to Himself and we’re grateful to be apart of it. Thanks for praying and partnering with us!
above: Justin and Matthew discussing outreach to Pilipino students
Helping Students Reach Students
When I attended the Kapwa Leadership Institute last July, the Lord gave me a clear conviction to reach more Pilipino students on campus while providing a space to wrestle with faith and ethnic identity for Pilipinos inside AND not-yet in InterVarsity. As you may know, I am not a student, but what I love about InterVarsity is that the DNA of our ministry is that our students are the best missionaries to other students! My role as staff is to train and equip students as they show the love of Jesus to those around them. Two weeks ago, I started discipling Matthew and we both shared our unified vision to create this space for Pilipinos as well as wrestling with the implications of being a Pilipino-American Christian leader. Pray that other students will share this God-given vision with us as we follow the Spirit’s leading in evangelism!
above: Small Groups have all been studying the gospel of Matthew this semester.
Junli, a non-Christian Chinese international student came to a Small Group for the first time this week! We were studying Matthew 13, the parable of the four soils, and Junli’s curiosity about Jesus made him ask great questions like: “Who are the disciples?” and “Why would the farmer sow seed on rocky or thorny soil?” Kevin, the Small Group Leader, was patient with Junli’s questions and eventually asked what he thought the parable meant. Junli quickly spoke up, “I think Jesus is using this parable as an example to help people decide who they think Jesus is.” Praise God for non-Christians like Junli who are curious about Jesus and actively participating in Small Group!
by InterVarsity | Sep 7, 2016 | Highlight Reel, illinoisIV
Every week the staff team shares ministry celebrations with each other. We want to share those with you as well! Here are some glimpses of what’s been happening during New Student Outreach:
above & below: Quad Day 2016
below: Returning students studying Jonah at Back to School Blitz
below: About 75 students played sports, games and socialized at Fun in the Sun on Labor Day
Mini celebration from NSO! So today at Allen Hall, Nick, Marshall, and I had a late start and ended up only getting 2 contact cards the first hour… but then suddenly a bunch of people started coming out of Allen. Turns out a power outage happened and everyone had to come outside and therefore stop by our table ;). We ended up getting about 15 or more cards because of the power outage! Praise the Lord for His divine intervention!
A post on Facebook by a student leader to other leaders:
So today I had lunch with an international transfer student from China. As we got to talking, I learned that she’d prayed occasionally throughout her life and that she believed that there was a God, but she just didn’t know who it was. After talking talking for a while I asked if she’d like to study the bible with me this semester and she said YES!
This is not only super exciting for me, but I hope this makes all of you leaders feel like you can do this too! As we continue NSO (New Student Outreach) and pouring into new students, keep in mind that you too have the ability to make an ask and lead a GIG (evangelistic bible study) no matter what your background is! Let’s go U of I and transform the campus!
Lydia, the Area Coordinator for Busey-Evans (residence hall) attended their first small group of the year where 15 girls were in attendance! An international student, Lucy, came and asked lots of great questions during the study. Afterward, the Evangelism Area Coordinator asked Lucy into a GIG and she said yes!
Over the summer at IVLI (InterVarsity Leadership Institute), Oceanz, a black student in the chapter, felt called to lead a small group for black students on campus. Without much time to prepare for his first small group, Oceanz knocked on all of the doors of black students on his floor in ISR (Illinois Street Residence Hall), made some phone calls to friends he had met in classes over the years and attended Ebony Umoji, ISR’s black student union group to network with more people. Three new students came to his first small group!
Matthew, a small group leader in the apartments area, found out that one of the new students he’s been connected to marked on her Large Group card that she wanted to become a Christian! Surprised and excited, Matthew texted a staff worker to ask what he should do. After being encouraged to talk with this new student about how to become a Christian himself, Matthew found a Bible to give to her. This new student is so hungry to know more about Jesus, she started reading the Bible during an NSO event!
by InterVarsity | May 17, 2016 | illinoisIV
This spring, our chapter leadership team (CLT) had a growing concern about evangelism momentum in our chapter. Students didn’t seem to be having spiritual conversations with non-Christian friends. Our strategic spring break evangelism trip had been canceled. Everyone seemed to be tired.
Discontent with where the semester was headed, the CLT committed to creating momentum around evangelism as we geared up for our third annual Proxe Week: a week devoted to engaging our campus in spiritual conversations through interactive display boards called proxes. In the days leading up to Proxe Week, we prayed, strategized and invited everyone in our chapter to participate by working a proxe and also inviting one non-Christian friend to our Outreach Large Group that would serve as the climax of the week. As we continued to pray, we knew that if we wanted to see students follow Jesus for the first time, we needed God to move in a big way.
We began training our students on how to run the Red Cup proxe, which prompts students to identify what they are “thirsty” for. It then uses Jesus’ interaction with the woman at the well in John 4 as a way to invite students to consider how the life Jesus offers us can quench all of our life thirsts. After three days of training, 83 students came and were practically equipped to engage our campus—23 more students from last spring!
On Tuesday, we hit the ground running! We set up proxes in four strategically placed locations on campus, including a crowded main quad. Over the course of the week, our students initiated conversations 2,282 times! Of those, 648 turned into spiritual conversations. Within those, the gospel was presented 22 times. Of the 124 unique workers that participated, 49 were freshmen!
InterVarsity student talks with a passerby at our Quad proxe
On Friday, a mere four hours before our Outreach Large Group began, we received news that York Moore, our speaker who would invite students to respond to the gospel that night, would likely miss his connecting flight due to an unexpected travel delay. As anxiety started to build, staff member Austin began to prepare a last minute talk while staff and students prayed. But God was on the move just like He had been all week! Hours before Large Group, York texted to say that he made his connecting flight after sprinting half a mile across the Minneapolis airport to catch his closing gate. What an answer to prayer!
As Large Group began that night, we soon started to wonder if we would have enough seats! 248 students were in attendance—85 more than we had had at Large Groups the three previous weeks! Our students had been faithful in making invitations to their non-Christian friends to come and hear about Jesus.
As York gave an opportunity for students to respond to the gospel for the first time, there was no response. Several minutes passed, students remained in their seats and we primed ourselves for disappointment. But then, prompted by the Holy Spirit and memories of her interactions with the InterVarsity community, Sherry took the risk and stood to her feet. We marveled at the response that followed.
Seven more students proceeded to stand! Among them was Eilis. For weeks, InterVarsity student Sam was persistent in inviting Eilis to chapter events. Outreach Large Group was her first event and marked a year after her mother’s death. After York made another invitation to respond, Eilis felt a personal conviction to commit to Jesus, aided by the memory of her mom’s desire for her to take faith seriously.
Angel was another student who responded. InterVarsity student Grace had been intentionally praying for Angel this past year. After agreeing to attend Outreach Large Group, Angel was running late from a meeting that night. During Large Group, Grace kept texting Angel and even left for several minutes in order to help him get to the where Large Group was. After catching the last five minutes of York’s talk and hearing an invitation to respond, Angel stood up to receive new life in Jesus!
Outreach Large Group at the end of proxe week where 8 students responded to the gospel for the first time!
The stories of InterVarsity students remaining faithful to their invitations that week go on! Our eight new brothers and sisters in Christ have been invited into discipleships with friends who continue being faithful with their follow-up. Praise God for His faithfulness in answering our semester-long prayers during our exciting week of evangelism!
by Charissa Kim & Brittany Small
by InterVarsity | Apr 7, 2016 | illinoisIV
We’re gearing up for our third annual Proxe Week Outreach that will take place next week April 12-15th. All week, over 100 students will engage in spiritual conversations using the Red Cup Proxe across campus and will be making invitations to our Large Group that Friday night where York Moore (InterVarsity’s national evangelist and former urbana09 speaker) will invite students to start a relationship with Jesus for the first time!
Will you join our staff team in prayer that our students would step out in mission and share the good news of the gospel at proxes and in the invitations they make to their non-Christian friends? I’ve been praying the scripture in 2 Timothy: “…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” Would that be true for our students as they step out in faith next week! And would many students on campus respond to follow Jesus as a result of their obedience.
Thanks in advance for your prayers and the work God is going to do in our midst.
Here’s a quick story of what happened to one of our students last year during Proxe Week 2015:
by InterVarsity | Oct 7, 2015 | illinoisIV
I lead a small group Bible study in a group of dorms in the Sixpack (Taft, Van Doren, Barton, Lundgren) that have historically lacked InterVarsity presence. This NSO, we already have many reasons to celebrate! At our first gathering, my older core members and I saw three out of four new students commit to InterVarsity as their spiritual community for their Bible study application. One of the three is a non-Christian, Sara, who shared that this was the first Christian setting that she felt comfortable “being real” and “expressing some of her doubts” with. We now have ten new students that are coming from black, Asian, white, Latina, international, and non Christian backgrounds- the diverse array that I was specifically praying for before the school year even began!
These new students are already buying into the mission. After our second small group meeting, five new students joined me in serving our community by passing out homemade cinnamon rolls to other InterVarsity students in the Sixpack. They are taking practical steps towards our small group goal of growing in intimacy and impact!
Our most recent celebration has to do with sign ups for New Student Retreat. Two students, Amanda and Carter, were both stuck between InterVarsity and other Christian groups on campus. But after our last Friday Large Group, both felt compelled to sign up for New Student Retreat even despite scheduling conflicts.
by Charissa Kim