"I believe a strong graduate movement will lay the foundation for a sustainable student ministry."
- Rodica Rosior, former General Secretary of CSC Moldova
Graduate Impact is a ministry working in Europe and Eurasia to equip the emerging generation of IFES graduates to be effective ambassadors for Christ in their workplaces, professions and societies.
In the post-university world the most significant place for daily interaction with non-believers is the workplace, where IFES graduates sit day by day alongside people who may never know another Christian. Yet the workplace is dramatically different from university life. Often students are not adequately prepared to face the issues and problems that arise as they leave their studies and enter the working world.
In a survey of 100 graduates in 2013, only 15% said they received any active Christian support on how to live out their faith in their workplaces, apart from the support given to them by IFES. Specifically, they asked for role models, accountability, and Bible teaching on workplace issues.
Graduate Impact was set up in 2003 and addresses these issues, helping bridge the gap between academia and the working world. It also nurtures a group of people who can then help resource student and graduate ministry. Graduates are both the fruit and the future of IFES.
Tim Vickers is responsible for Graduate Impact in Europe and Eurasia, as well as being an IFES Europe Associate Regional Secretary. He organizes and teaches at the two main Graduate Impact activities: the Bible and Culture training program and the Cross-Current mentoring program.
Tim’s first degree was in land economy. He spent nine years in the business world in London, UK and Warsaw, Poland before working for the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity. He joined IFES in 2003. Tim has an MA in Christian ethics and loves to teach on the theology of work, worldview, and identity, as well as two of his favourite Bible books, 1 Peter and the gospel of John. He is married with three young children and lives in a village near Oxford, UK.
Jo Rogers is the Graduate Impact Events and Communications Manager.
Aims and activities
Bible and Culture
Bible and Culture is a four-week residential training course held during each summer in Berlin, Germany.
Some programs train people to be better at handling Scripture, but forget how to apply it to real people and to the world. Others develop keen insights on aspects of contemporary culture but fail to see that Scripture is still relevant for today's Christians.
IFES believes God speaks today through his Word into his world. So the course looks at Bible and culture together, asking how God's Word makes people better informed about his world.
It aims to help people do four things:
- know Jesus better by studying five books of the Bible in depth
- understand how his Word speaks in today’s world by learning a Christian perspective on contemporary issues
- learn to multiply what they learn by giving four practice talks
- experience learning within a unique multicultural community.
Over the last eight years Bible and Culture has trained more than 220 graduates, staff and student leaders from 25 countries.
Cross-Current is a mentoring and discipleship program which helps the emerging generation of young Christian adults integrate their beliefs and values with their professional life. It also helps young graduates learn from older believers about the impact Jesus has on their profession or academic field.
Cross-Current has two streams – Professional Groups and City Groups.
Cross-Current Professional Groups attract graduates in subject-specific areas who meet together twice a year for three years, under the guidance of an experienced mentor in their field. Participants receive biblical teaching relevant to their field, input from their mentor, and peer support and prayer from the other participants.
The Professional Groups began in 2012 with economics and education. The following year groups started in law, and business and management, and a politics group started in 2014. A new group has started in law and justice and a science group is starting in July 2016.
Cross-Current City Groups bring together a mixed group of graduates in one city or country. These teach the core components of Cross-Current – accountability, biblical framework, mutual support and real life examples of what it means to follow Jesus at work. One group has started already, with more in the pipeline.
Topics covered by the City Groups include:
- Bible and work
- relationships at work
- truth, justice and honesty
- making money and using it well
- managing and leading others
- ambition, success, and failure and the place of God in our careers.
More than 100 recent graduates from 22 countries have been mentored through various Cross-Current programs over the last four years.
In 2015 participants from the economics group held their own “Biblenomics” conference looking at what the Bible has to say about economics, attracting 35 delegates. A second conference on the same topic will be held in October 2016.
To me this was just the perfect mixture of intense and deep Bible study, and thinking about our responsibility as Christians for the world we live in. I attained a lot of motivation to study the Bible and to really dig deep while doing it. I discovered that it can be fun to prepare and give Bible talks and that I’m actually able to do this. But one of the most important things that I experienced at B&C was to get to know so many wonderful people from Europe & Eurasia! It was just a huge blessing to have spent this month at B&C.
Dr Marike Berger, attended Bible and Culture in 2013
Cross-Current has touched me in so many areas. The other group members all come from bigger churches and have other teachers in church so they can relate to someone, talk to someone, get someone else to understand their problems. For me it’s just such a privilege - seeing other Christian teachers and the encouragement and guidance I get.
Jelena, attended the Cross-Current education group
I am not alone. There are people across the globe with the same problems and issues – but the issues are manageable. I meet with other people and I learn from other people.
Vera, attended the business and management Cross-Current group.
It has given me the courage to research the issues and be able to integrate my faith and practice.
Ranjeet, attended the economics Cross-Current group and helped set up the Biblenomics conference.
Support this ministry
This strategic work depends on the prayerful support and financial gifts of our supporters.
Here are some ways you can pray for this ministry:
- We need to grow the team for this ministry which covers 47 countries. Please pray for funding and for brilliant people!
- Bible and Culture relies on scholarship funding for many of the participants. Please pray for this.
- We need cooks for the Bible and Culture conference this summer.
- We need good mentors and new group members for new Cross-Current Professional Groups.
- Please pray for the new Cross-Current City Groups as we develop a brand new set of resources and pilot them in up to eight cities over the next three years.
Please also consider making a one-time or regular gift to support this ministry.
Bible and Culture website: bibleandculture.org
Cross-Current website: cross-current.org
Graduate Impact website: graduateimpact.org