College Faith

College Faith

#14: How InterVarsity/USA Ministers to University Students

November 01, 2021

Welcome to another edition of the College Faith podcast, sponsored by Global Scholars This is the first in a series I’m doing on campus ministries. Over the next six months or so I will be interviewing a leader from each of the major campus ministries, asking them the same questions so that you can have an “apples to apples” comparison of the different ministries’ Missions, emphases, distinctives, approaches, and cultures.

I’m beginning this series by interviewing a leader with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. My guest is Mr. Greg Jao, Executive Vice President--Communications & Mobilization. Greg has over two decades of experience with InterVarsity. He is a former colleague of mine, and I count him as a good friend.

In this podcast we discuss:

How InterVarsity/USA began, and the sustaining values that resultedThe Mission, Purpose, and four Values of InterVarsityThe centrality of small group bible studies in InterVarsity chaptersInterVarsity’s core distinctives: ethnic diversity, commitment to global missions, and discipleship of the mindWhy InterVarsity groups tend to look different regionally and even on the same campusThe challenges this differentiation presents, and how InterVarsity respondsWhy InterVarsity has been forced off a number of campuses in recent yearsCore elements of InterVarsity’s Statement of Faith, who must affirm it, and whyWhether InterVarsity is on the conservative or progressive end of the theological spectrumSome of the “heros of the faith” InterVarsity holds up to studentsThe four things InterVarsity believes students need to flourish during their university yearsWhy InterVarsity puts such emphasis on developing a diverse communityInterVarsity’s current strengths and weaknessesInterVarsity’s national strategies to improve on current weaknessesHow InterVarsity helps students develop habits to walk with Christ for a lifetimeCore spiritual disciplines InterVarsity encourages students to practiceWhy the “life of the mind” is so important to InterVarsityHow students are taught to engage culture with biblical truthHow InterVarsity engages racial and justice issuesHow InterVarsity sees the relationships between biblical justice, “social justice,” and the gospelWhy InterVarsity see community as central to their ministry

Resources mentioned during our conversation:

Greg Jao, Your Mind’s MissionThe Urbana Student Missions ConferenceInterVarsity/USA’s WebsiteInterVarsity/USA’s Statement of FaithThe Emerging Scholars NetworkDon Everts and Doug Schaupp, I Once Was Lost: What Postmodern Skeptics Taught Us About Their Path to JesusJames Chong, Real Life: A Christianity Worth Living OutJ.I. Packer, Knowing GodJohn White, Daring to Draw Near: People in PrayerGary Haugen, Good News About Injustice: A Witness of Courage in a Hurting WorldStan W. Wallace, “How Should Christians Understand Critical Theory?”A listing of all campus ministries at every university: