Following news that InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, an organization that serves Christian college students on campuses around the globe, was "derecognized" at 19 schools in the California State University system, the group has announced plans to revolutionize the way it facilitates ministry.
The organization said in a press release Tuesday that it is currently working to develop a "new style of campus ministry" that will enable it to continue operating through nearly two dozen chapters on California campuses.
"In order to maintain a ministry presence with 23 chapters on 19 CSU campuses, InterVarsity is introducing creative new ways to connect with students and share the gospel message — though doing so as an 'unrecognized' student group will prove considerably more costly," the statement read.
Considering that a new nondiscrimination policy now requires InterVarsity Christian Fellowship to allow nonbelievers to serve as chapter leaders — something that the organization opposes — the group plans to work around "established campus structures" to continue spreading the gospel.
"Because we are no longer allowed to participate in campus organization fairs, InterVarsity will make contact with students by deploying new tools such as mobile banner stands, interactive displays, social media, and other techniques that don’t rely on established campus structures," the statement continued.
Rather than retreating, InterVarsity national field director Greg Jao called the challenges an opportunity for his organization to "reinvent campus ministry."
"Even as we use new tools and techniques, we remind students that effective ministry is ultimately relational," he said in the press release. "It’s about students inviting other students to follow Jesus."
A new approach will most certainly be warranted, as losing recognition means that InterVarsity chapters will now need to pay to reserve rooms and will no longer be allowed to access to certain student fairs and events — two elements that will impact the organization's reach.
As TheBlaze previously reported, Christians and free speech advocates have concerns about nondiscrimination policies like the one adopted by the California State University system.Writer and Christian missiologist Ed Stetzer recently said that these policies could end up impacting others as well.
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"It’s not just InterVarsity that will be impacted. Following the same logic, any group that insists on requiring its leaders to follow an agreed upon set of guiding beliefs is no longer kosher (irony intended) at California’s state universities," he wrote for Christianity Today. "This will impact many other faith-based organizations with actual, well, faith-based beliefs. Presumably, even People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals would have to allow Oscar Meyer to lead their campus chapters."
This isn't the first college or university to implement a nondiscrimination policy and it likely won't be the last, causing critics like Stetzer some angst as they consider what could come next.
(H/T: Christianity Today)
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