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!
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!
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