A Word from tim adams
2020 was a historic year. Its events will remain etched in our minds for years to come. The pandemic has shifted patterns of work, life and study. IFES students and staff faced unexpected isolation, deep pain and great uncertainty. In Isaiah 43 God exhorts his people not to fear when disaster looms, and he promises to be with them. Amid the pain and frustration of the last year, we have experienced God’s ongoing faithfulness to that promise.
In many countries, in-person student ministry was not possible for much of the year and staff were not able to travel or meet in person. But our mission continues. As one staff worker commented, “We might be in lockdown, but the gospel is not in lockdown.”
Ministry activities moved rapidly online, and the students became our teachers. They helped us adapt and find new ways to provide fellowship, training and connection. We have learned a lot about the pros and cons of digital ministry. We know that the experience of 2020-21 will enhance the way that we live out our calling in the future.
But in the short-term the pandemic has further isolated those less well-connected, amplified inequality, and intensified mental health issues for many students. And for many the future still feels very unknown. Yet, as with so much of the past year, we walk between this pain and the shared joy of God’s faithfulness.
In many countries, in-person student ministry was not possible for much of the year and staff were not able to travel or meet in person. But our mission continues.
As one staff worker commented, “We might be in lockdown, but the gospel is not in lockdown.”
IFES General Secretary
So, I invite you to read the stories of this past year with thankfulness that IFES has known God’s presence with us in the time of trial. We have seen him “doing a new thing… making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18-19). We continue weeping with those who weep, and we lift to the Lord those who are exhausted.
I pray that these stories will strengthen our hope and lead us to pray earnestly for today’s students. Pray that the IFES network will continue to innovate and learn so that local student ministry is ever more fruitful. Pray that more students will come to faith in Jesus and be equipped to impact the university, the church and society for God’s glory.
Your brother in Christ,
IFES General Secretary
Vision and mission
Our vision is to see students built into communities of disciples, transformed by the gospel and impacting the university, the church and society for the glory of Christ.
IFES shapes lives and develops student leaders all around the world. We support locally led student movements We are realizing this vision by supporting locally led student movements in over 180 different countries.
By offering training, support, leadership, and collaboration, we want to lay a firm foundation for our global fellowship to thrive together.
Students are the best people to reach the university and IFES is helping them do so boldly. We provide training, funding, and materials to equip students to initiate spiritual conversations, to hold evangelistic Bible studies and events, share their ideas with other movements, and point others to Jesus through their lifestyles.
If there is to be a student witness on every university campus in the world, there must also be pioneers to pave the way. There are still thousands of campuses with no Christian presence. IFES is striving to give every student the chance hear about Jesus by pioneering new student ministries in unreached campuses, cities, and countries.
We want the students of today to be the leaders of tomorrow. Through student groups, national movements and regional events, IFES is investing in students who will grow into lifelong leaders of integrity and vision. IFES supports its graduates as they move into the workplace, church leadership and society.
Strengthening and Supporting National Movements
We believe that the gospel is most impactful in the hands of indigenously led national movements. IFES regional teams give those movements the support they need to see their ministries flourish through training and resources. Global ministry programs work alongside regional teams to help movements engage with Scripture, develop good governance and build local ownership of the ministry.
Engaging the University
IFES believes that the gospel has something to say about every issue in the university and society. We want students, faculty, and researchers to be empowered and equipped to shape conversations across the academic world in a way that integrates and acknowledges faith. Through regional consultations, resources, grants, e-learning, mentoring, and research, national movements are equipped to help students think biblically and live distinctively, missionally and incarnationally.
The IFES General Secretary oversees IFES student ministry across the world and is appointed to serve students and staff at all levels. IFES senior leaders develop strategic partnerships across regions and lead our international teams in developing and sharing ministry priorities and resources for global student ministry.
IFES Regional Leadership
IFES regional secretaries are the experts when it comes to ministry in context. They serve as regional ambassadors to IFES, helping us understand how best to respond to the diverse and dynamic cultures of the world’s universities. They provide mentoring, supervision, and training for staff and students and connect the movements within the region to share ideas, expertise, challenges, and encouragement.
The IFES Board is composed of a chair, a treasurer, and thirteen other voting members from around the world, two of whom are student representatives. It is responsible for ensuring IFES doctrinal integrity and for policy making. The Board is appointed by the General Committee.
IFES invests in regional teams and global ministry programs to support national movements as they carry out our shared vision of vibrant student ministry across the globe. These resources provide training and resources for national movements to equip strong leaders, grow local financial support, expand to new cities and campuses, develop critical organizational infrastructure, and reach students with the hope of the gospel.
Our administrative services continue to provide quality support for our global and regional programs and help ministries increase in overall efficiency and effectiveness. 2020 was particularly challenging with the outbreak of the pandemic – earlier investment in e-learning and migration to an online payment platform meant we were able to move many of our training programs online and ensured continued support for our 160 affiliated national movements.
With the pandemic-induced cancelations of many planned travels and in-person gatherings our expenses dropped noticeably and helped adjust for decreased income. While our fellowship’s ability to adjust to virtual meetings allowed the work to move forward, we recognize the importance of in-person relational development for long-term ministry and look forward to resuming gatherings as circumstances allow.
A significant portion of IFES program income comes in at the end our fiscal year to be used for the following year’s projects.
The financial report reflects our combined operations based on the audited financial statements for IFES-UK and IFES/USA as well as the independently examined financial statements for IFES-Switzerland. The Ministry Expenditure analysis presented is categorized with our international audience in mind. The financial statements used for this report from the three IFES entities based in the UK, USA, and Switzerland are available upon request.
IFES/USA is an accredited member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, a Valued Partner with GuideStar Exchange and has a ‘Give with Confidence’ designation from Charity Navigator. In the UK, IFES is registered with the Fundraising Regulator.
IFES is grateful for the gifts of partners like you that have allowed us to continue to support student ministry in all parts of the world, under God’s blessing. As an expression of our Christian faith, we are committed to maintaining a high level of financial accountability and responsible stewardship of your generous gifts.
Partner with us
When you partner with us, you support Pablo, a staff worker who is pioneering new student groups in Patagonia. You provide leadership training to Janet, who has just started a new student group on her campus in Ireland. Or you join Mahima and her friends who gather around a small table in a Nepalese home to study the Bible each week.
There are so many ways to empower and equip students through providing training, resources, and leadership. With your help, we can do more to see student ministry thrive around the world.
Prayer is the fuel that keeps us mission-centred and obedient to God. Without it, our ministry will be ineffective. Please pray with us that God will move in the hearts of students around the world and guide everything we do.
Sign up to read stories that will inspire your prayers for IFES. Invite your friends or church members to share our vision by hosting a monthly IFES prayer meeting.
IFES is a rich fellowship, with so many ways to join in with what God is doing in the lives of students worldwide. Do you want to know more about ministry in a particular country? Would you be interested in using resources f rom our global ministries or joining in one of our e-learning courses? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org – we would love to help you explore deeper involvement in IFES.
Without generous partners like you, our reach would not be nearly as far and wide. Regular gifts are especially helpful, as they enable us to plan well for the future. You can set up or increase your monthly gift here.
With you, we will keep moving towards our vision of seeing a thriving student witness on every campus in the world. We are driven by the gospel and sustained by a saviour who brings hope to the university. Thank you for praying, connecting, and giving with us as we continue the mission.