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With each generation come new issues that shape the world. IFES leaders and staff have weathered many significant global events, from the rise of AIDS, to the fall of the Soviet Union, to the advent of the internet. Every world event influences the way students perceive reality. Thus, it is important for IFES leaders to understand global trends in order to reach students in a relevant way.  

Throughout 2019 and 2020, IFES senior staff combined their expertise with internal grassroots consultations and external research findings to identify eleven global trends which seemed most likely to affect student ministry. Their research led them to focus on the rise of liberalism, corruption, mental health, poverty, immigration, creation care, the higher education landscape, persecution, increasing Christian denomination, the spread of Islam, and violence against women.  

Staff then asked more than 120 national movements for further insight on how these trends were affecting their students and campuses. Participants indicated that the top global trends affecting their national movements were the rise of liberalism, corruption, mental health, and poverty.  

The research also showed that this generation of students want their lives to mean something.  They want to honor God in their work, so many young Christians are interested in vocational discipleship. They pursue authentic relationships, seek mentorship, and look for ways to make an impact.  

The global trends report will allow IFES central, regional, and national movements the insight to help students achieve those things. By reflecting on these trends, student ministry leaders can structure ministry in a way that will equip students to be a godly influence in the world.  

We invite you to read the report and join us in prayer for those using this tool to inform their future ministry plan.  

  • Thank God for the careful and diligent efforts of the researchers and participants who shaped this report. 
  • Pray through each of the trends and ask that God will grant wisdom, courage, and creativity to the students and leaders who are navigating faithful witness in these contexts. 
  • Pray for the IFES leadership who are using these trends as part of the process of shaping the next long-term IFES strategy. 
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