Intervarsity Christian Fellowship is a world-wide campus ministry. The group originated in England in 1877 with a group of Christian students at Cambridge University who wanted to hold prayer meetings and to study the Bible. The group also offered an opportunity for Christian students to witness to their peers. Howard Guiness, a medical school graduate and vice-chariman of the British movement, helped spread this campus ministry to Canada in 1928. The Intervarsity movement was brought to the United States by a Canadian Intervarsity director at the University of Michigan and was incorporated in 1941. This ministry has gradually spread to many countries around the world and now has more than 1,000 staff members and over 34,000 students.
Intervarsity Christian Fellowship was organized as a witnessing community to students and faculty in colleges and universities. Members regard their ministry as a response to God’s love, grace, and truth. The group is theologically founded on the belief that Jesus Christ is the only son of God who lived, died, and rose to save all who repent by God’s grace alone. Following the scripture, prayer, and spiritual growth are regarded as essential to living a Christian life. The ministry is ethnically and racially diverse, with about 29 percent of its college membership consisting of African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics.
Intervarsity Christian Fellowship Intervarsity formed a campus organization on the Virginia Commonwealth University campus in the mid 1970’s and subsequently was recognized as a student organization. The group gathers weekly for an evening large- group meeting called River that features a worship service and a speaker. Small groups also meet weekly for Bible study. There is a monthly meeting, CRASH, for non-Christians at which speakers share their personal testimonies about finding God and their Christian walk. Intervarsity also organizes student trips, such as Chapter Retreat, a fall retreat which gathers the students representing certain chapters or schools to spend a weekend together. The spring retreat, Rockbridge, gathers a number of different Intervarsity chapters from different schools to meet together in one place for a full week to end the year.
Intervarsity supports a number of outreach activities with the objective of being a witnessing community of hope for Jesus Christ locally and internationally. A significant aspect of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship is Greek Intervarsity, a project designed to reach students who are members of sororities and fraternities with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The group sponsors Urbana, a ministry project experience that lasts from two to eight weeks in over thirty cities. The objective of the program is to address issues such as injustice, poverty, racism, and violence. Urbana attempts to meet the needs of the poor by working with churches and non-profit agencies. Intervarsity also partners with World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and communities worldwide. Finally, Intervarsity raises money for orphans around the world who have lost parents to AIDS.
Intervarsity Christian Fellowship
907 Floyd Avenue
P.O. Box 842032
Richmond, VA 23284-2032
Interview with VCU Intervarsity director
Interview with VCU Intervarsity members
Profile prepared by Harvey Youssef