One of the most beautiful images in the Bible is the thriving tree in Psalm 1, which bears fruit season after season and has leaves which never fade. This tree is thriving because it is planted in a good place, its roots fed by streams of life-giving water.
Like the tree in Psalm 1, IFES is intentionally rooted in God’s word. Our hope for the years ahead is that, as we continue to draw from these life-giving roots, God will help us to thrive together as a global fellowship.Tim Adams, IFES General Secretary
The Thriving Together strategy emerged after more than two years of listening – to students, staff, theological advisors, research students, faculty, and our supporters and partners. Above all, we listened for the voice of God to lead us.
It is our prayer that this theme of Thriving Together will unite us—as national movements, IFES staff, and supporters—as we work towards a common vision in diverse and rapidly changing ministry contexts. The priorities and objectives are an invitation to fellowship and partnership as we work together.
We trust national movements will be able to see connections between their own plans and the work of the wider network of which they are part. For IFES staff, this document is the foundation for our plans and informs the initiatives, training and support we offer.
Please pray for IFES as we step into this new chapter together.
THRIVING TOGETHER: THREE CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS
We will strengthen local, regional and global connections to promote learning and mutual
encouragement across the IFES network and with partners (supporters, universities, churches
and like-minded organisations). We will exchange ideas, resources, and experiences to help us
live out our calling
We will seek to grow in new ways and in new spaces. We will give space to try new ideas and
show creativity in our ministry and organisational practices.
We are partakers of God’s kingdom work, seeking to bring impact in the depth of
transformations in the lives of students and graduates and in the breadth of our ministries in
THRIVING TOGETHER: FOUR STRATEGIC PRIORITIES
Thriving in Witness
We want to see: students as witnesses to Jesus Christ, proclaiming the kingdom of God and
showing the relevance of Jesus to all areas of university life.
Thriving in Whole-Life Commitment
We want to see: students growing as disciples of Jesus Christ, bearing fruit as they integrate their
faith with every area of life, learning to lead in their communities and standing for Jesus in
Thriving on New Ground
We want to see: vibrant new student groups on campuses and in locations where there aren’t
any and support to revitalise groups and movements, working in partnership with others.
Thriving into the Future
We want to see: a healthy network of resilient movements showing Christian integrity and accountability so we can continue our calling among the next generations of students.
As the prior strategy, Living Stones, reached its conclusion, we conducted workshops on the strategy and direction for IFES at World Assembly 2019. After that, a Strategy Working Group spent two years gathering input from students, staff, and donors in order to understand the context and needs of our ministry across the world.
The senior leadership of IFES then took time to consider, discuss, and pray over these findings, ultimately developing a vision which is rooted in Christ and in Scripture, with a heart for our campuses.
We shared the draft vision with IFES staff and national movements in summer 2021, and then received their feedback. The final version of Thriving Together launched in February 2022.
The following reports summarise the findings from various research and consultations which have shaped the new strategy. These are rich resources for understanding your own local ministry in global context, so please read and enjoy!
National movement priorities – Discover what national movements reported their most important priorities to be. This feedback was used to inform the new strategy.
SWOR overview – IFES conducted a SWOR analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Risks) among multiple stakeholders within the organization. Read an overview of their feedback using this model of evaluation.
Input from theological advisors – We consulted various theological advisors during the process of setting strategy. Read their feedback here.
Global Trends Report – Read a report from IFES desk research which describes the trends most affecting movements around the world. These trends were used to inform the new IFES strategy.
Student Survey Report – Discover the feedback gathered from students via the Student Survey Report. This report was used to inform the new IFES strategy.
Biblical reflection papers – Read reflections by two members of the Strategy Working Group, Nigel Pollock (Executive Director of IVCF Canada) and Geoff Lin (Regional Director of AFES), on the Biblical and theological frameworks for our strategic planning.
Tim Adams First 100 Days Report – Read what Tim Adams has accomplished in his first 100 days as General Secretary and what this means for IFES.