United States of America

Population: 313.9 million (2012)

Capital: Washington DC  

Major religion: Christianity

IFES movement: InterVarsity/USA

Historically Americans have enjoyed a great amount of religious freedom. However, tension over conflicting values has resulted in a small but growing number of cases of intolerance toward Christian values on some campuses and elsewhere in society. Christians’ faith is also challenged by ubiquitous materialism and a culture of entertainment, which can easily distract them from their faith foundation.


  • approximately 4,000 tertiary institutions, groups on 590 campuses
  • 1021 full-time staff, 582 part-time, 605 volunteers  
  • established graduate ministry: 380,000 alumni
  • largest chapter is at James Madison University, 694 students
  • average campus group size is 69 students

The greatest strength of InterVarsity is the fellowship expressed between the 1,600 staff and around 40,000 core students; there is a clear and relatively unified doctrinal agreement, purpose and vision. 

The movement has also experienced a new excitement about evangelism. Many chapters are using Proxe stations, artistic displays designed to initiate conversations, which lead to discussions about spiritual issues. Through the use of these and other outreaches, the number of conversions recorded in 2013 was the highest ever.

One challenge facing InterVarsity/USA is the longer term issue of increasing numbers of American students studying online, or commuting to campus each day and returning home. Leaders are considering how to alter their ministry model to meet these students where they are.

View from the inside

Tom Lin is InterVarsity/USA’s President. He says, ‘In 2010, the top 60 leaders of our movement gathered to seek the Lord’s guidance for strategic direction over the next five years. We fasted, we prayed; the unanimity was incredible. The lord led us to three main areas – growth, discipleship and evangelism.’

Among many scripture passages that have inspired Tom in his ministry is Deuteronomy 8. This chapter reminds him that we must obey God and depend totally on him – it is He who leads and guides us into the ‘good land’.

Please pray:

  • for students to hear refreshing stories that feel so different from a dry, cold, increasingly secular world, to see truth and be attracted to Christ;
  • for student groups to stand firm in the face of increasing pressure from secular university authorities.
Oct 20

Neighbours loving neighbours: collaborating across borders

Posted by Penny Vinden

Friday 21 October is a big day for the IFES family. It’s World Student Day! Around the globe, students, staff and friends of IFES gather to celebrate what God is doing in schools and universities, and to lift up in prayer the needs of the IFES family.

Jan 21

Racism and mission? Urbana brings them together

Posted by Penny Vinden

Michelle Higgins challenges Urbana 15 participants.

What does racism in the United States have to do with mission? Why would Urbana, one of the largest mission conferences in the world held at the end of 2015, feature a talk on racism by the black activist Michelle Higgins?

Nov 27

Racial violence – how should we respond?

Posted by Penny Vinden

InterVarsity/USA students in California  gathering on campus to pray and lament together.

The town of Ferguson is burning as I write this. There and across the United States there is much anger, grief, and outrage as a result of a grand jury decision to acquit the white police officer who killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, on 9 August.

Oct 21

The Scholar’s Compass

Posted by Hannah Eagleson

As a student, Brian Lane faced a challenge. He strongly desired to serve God and seek his glory, and he believed that would mean a career as a pastor, missionary, or campus minister. Yet he also loved teaching physics, which didn’t seem that easy to do from the front of a church.

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

Tom Lin


PO Box 7895
Madison WI 53707-7895
United States of America


+1 608 274 9001


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