InterVarsity Christian Fellowship: Training NewChangemakers!

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Thank God for the huge number of young lives that have been touched, nurtured and launched through the remarkable array of leaders in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship over many years. I have not found a campus ministry anywhere on the planet that does a better job at enabling students to become whole life disciples of Jesus that create ways to invest their lives in making a lasting difference in the lives of neighbors near and far.

I want you to meet two of these creative committed leaders in the photo with Christine and I…Scott Bessenecker {with the glasses}who heads the urban ministries for IVCF all over the planet and Scott Hall who heads urban ministries here in Seattle. After enjoying a salad with greens from our garden Scott the elder and Scott the younger brought us up to date a bit on IVCF. They shared both what God is stirring up in cities all over the world.

Then and now of the Cuyahoga River Fire in Cleveland, Ohio.

Then and now of the Cuyahoga River Fire in Cleveland, Ohio.

One such example of IVCF’s innovative ministries is The Burning River Project in Cleveland OH. “Cleveland: from a river so polluted it caught fire, to race riots, to the mortgage crisis–we’ve had our share of hard times. But Cleveland is tough, and make no mistake, God is at work here through His Spirit and His people. This city has a lot to teach us. The goal of the Burning River Project is to connect college students to the city in order to see students transformed, the city and campuses renewed, and world changers developed. The BRP has spring break and summer opportunities where students from all over Ohio, Western PA, West Virginia and beyond spend time living in Cleveland to experience God in the city. We also have year-round opportunities for Cleveland area students to connect to saints in the city and learn from them.” 

As we learned about some of the creative urban ministries Scott Bessenecker shared some great news…Tom Lin who has been serving as Vice President of IVCF will become President of IVCF on August 10, 2016. Reportedly Tom Lin is a very able leader who has virtually grown up in Intervarsity as staff worker. In 2002 Tom and his wife Nancy traveled to Mongolia and joined others in starting a student movement there. Tom returned to the US to head up the Central Region 2006 to 2010. When Alec Hill had to step down as President 2015 Tom became Vice President. We pray God’s strong favor on Tom Lin’s leadership as he and his able staff equip students to follow Jesus and become changemakers in communities all over the planet as we race into the turbulent 2020s.

Tom Lin of InterVarsity

Tom Lin of InterVarsity

Speaking of Alec Hill,  Scott Bessenecker reported God is bringing surprising healing. I am looking forward to getting together with Alec in September when he is out of quarantine. Alec is a former student and a good friend. He also is a very creative leader. Under his guidance IVCF experienced remarkable growth.

Steve Hayner who was the President of IVCF before Alex was also a dear friend and mentor. The very last story in my book on the Changemaking Celebration is written to honor Steve Hayner because he was one of the most authentic Christian leaders I ever met and he was taken from us much to early.

I share the story in my new book when I was working at World Concern and we were dealing with the unexpected Indo Chinese boat crisis in the 80s. Steve, then a pastor at University Presbyterian Church, started donating a morning a week of his own personal time for months to help prepare supplies to help the arriving refugees. Students also told me they admired his remarkable compassion and transparency.

IVCF seems to have the ability to find authentic Christian leaders to enable the students they work with to become serious followers of Jesus Christ in times like these. I am confident that Tom Lin will also lead a new generation in the radical way of the servant Jesus.