We have the great pleasure to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of IFES with you.
It is a joy to see how God has blessed generations of students who have become leaders sharing the good news of Jesus Christ to their universities, their communities, and their nations. Their impact in all parts of the world is the living legacy of their hard work, God’s sovereign love, and the support of partners like you over the last three quarters of a century.
It is inspiring to reflect on how God gives his people a critical role in growing his kingdom through the sharing of the gospel. We serve, and he is faithful to empower us and walk alongside us. We sow the seeds, and he causes the growth.
We invite you to join us in the good work of IFES ministry worldwide as we prepare for 2023 and new generations of student ministry.
CELEBRATING GOD MOVING AMONG GENERATIONS
In 1947, leaders from ten student movements from across the world came together to form a global fellowship with a shared vision – to see a faithful witness to Christ in every university in the world. This was the founding of IFES.
Seventy-five years later, we give glory to God for how far he has brought us along in that hopeful vision. What had started out as ten countries has grown to 160 affiliated national movements, with more than 20 others actively being pioneered. From generation to generation, from times of plenty to times of scarcity and challenge, God has blessed the faithful work IFES students and leaders have done to bring the gospel to all corners of the earth.
We celebrate this incredible milestone and prepare to serve in the calling we’ve been given to bring the lifechanging power of Jesus to students in every university. May this good work continue for generations to come, by God’s blessing and the partnership of this global fellowship.
CELEBRATING THE IMPACT OF STUDENT MINISTRY
Over the last 75 years, IFES has had a truly global impact, one student at a time. Your year-end gift will impact the next generation of students as they experience the transforming power of the gospel and grow to be lifelong disciples of Christ, like those who have come before.
We celebrate how God has moved in student’s lives over the last 75 years, impacting them and those around them for the glory of Christ. These are just a few testimonies of that impact across generations.
«In 1953, I discovered that a group of people had been praying that the Lord would send five Christian freshmen to Radcliffe that year. Ellen Stern, a young convert, gathered five of us for prayer every morning in the basement of one of the dorms. What a blessing! … In 1970, my husband and I moved to Beirut, Lebanon, where we worked with the IFES to get a Lebanese student movement established, calling David Penman from Pakistan to be the first director in 1972. After 5 years there, we were evacuated because of the fighting. But we never stopped supporting the work and our many friends still engaged in the work whether in Beirut, Romania, or Oxford, and are doing a good job nurturing students in the Lord.» – KARIN, US SUPPORTER
«I was involved with InterVarsity Christian fellowship at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in the 70s. I attended a Bible exposition of the book of John in the student union every Sunday morning before church. As a new Christian the teaching was foundational for me. I became part of the witnessing community at Miami. I learned how to study the Bible, how to pray, and how to share my faith, and to learn what God was doing in the world. We saw many come to Christ in those years and our group grew from a small cluster of students to almost 200 students. I am grateful to InterVarsity and the church I attended for nurturing me in my faith and influencing me to serve Christ and His church for my lifetime.» – BILL, US SUPPORTER
In the 80’s, ALAN SMITH was part of the Jamaica student movement, UCCF, where he became a Christian and learned to integrate his faith and his future career as Global Head of Risk Strategy for HSBC bank. He learned that his ministry was wherever he was. Alan used his position in banking to help people in poverty grow economically to serve and live out his faith. “Banking done properly helps the economy grow, which helps people get jobs and put a roof over their heads. You have to be driven by these values of wanting growth to be equitable and done in a sustainable way.”
«We had a visitor [to the IFES office] from Rwanda not long after the genocide [in 1994] who said that on campus there were Hutus, there were Tutsis, and there were Christians. That is, the Christian Students were seen helping and supporting each other in the dreadful time no matter what their tribal background.» – FRANK, FORMER IFES HEAD OF FINANCE
“I experienced healing from that emotional wound [of surviving trauma] … as we went through the Psalms of Lament. The over-thinking has stopped and the shame and fear I’ve been carrying all these years have been lifted. I experienced that ‘weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.’ I felt washing in the Word, renewed and free from the pain I have been carrying for nine years.” – STUDENT SUMMIT PARTICIPANT, 2022 PAPUA NEW GUINEA
ENGAGING THE FELLOWSHIP AT WORLD ASSEMBLY 2023
Every four years, delegates from every IFES national movement gather at World Assembly for worship, building community, and training. Held in Indonesia, the 2023 World Assembly is especially important as a time for our fellowship to take stock of the challenges and blessings of the last four years.
The theme of World Assembly 2023 is Tabah dan Tangguh – Indonesian words that communicate steadfastness and strength, perseverance and resilience. We are inspired by the image of the well-watered tree of Psalm 1: “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yield its fruit in season, and whose leaf does not wither.” As the Psalm describes, the one who meditates on God’s word is like such a tree, able to endure and thrive even in hard seasons.
“Some people have a tendency to look forwards, some to look backwards. At World Assembly, we want to do both: to pause and reflect on our past four years, to grieve and to rejoice, to acknowledge that God has been with us. We need this looking back and this reflection to see how our context has changed and so we can respond appropriately.” – Tom De Craene, Program Team Co-Lead
At World Assembly, we will journey through the Psalms, as a space to express our diverse experiences since the
last World Assembly four years ago. By walking through this together, we will deepen the foundations of our fellowship – with God, with one another, and with our mission to bring the light of the gospel to students around the world.
Launching the new season of ministry
Next year is the start of a new season of ministry for IFES, applying the wisdom we have gained as a fellowship from the challenges of the last few years. It is our priority to reinforce local leaders as they regain traction and move forward in their work.
Support for IFES ministry worldwide will provide our regional teams with the resources needed to strengthen and empower national movements, ensuring our ministries can flourish in the coming year. Our priority initiatives in 2023 include:
MINISTRY VISITS AND PIONEERING
One of the greatest challenges of the pandemic was the inability for our regional teams to meet with national movements in person. As a fellowship, we value relationship and personal interaction as a strategic and spiritual priority for ministry. Our regional teams are eager to re-connect with ministry leaders and strengthen the close-knit network that makes IFES a unique community.
The challenges to travel, finances, and academic calendars from the pandemic have been especially hard on pioneering and fledgling ministries. In some cases, the work had to pause. Our priority for our pioneering ministries is to re-establish any connections that had been lost and to work with local teams to continue laying strong foundations for students to lead and share Christ on campus.
STAFF CARE AND LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
In 2023, regional teams will invest in national movement staff by offering strategic leadership training events alongside space for ministerial care. The leaders of national movements often face unique challenges in their work and personal lives. Our regional teams are best-suited to meet their needs.
Your gift will help fund training such as Indigenous Support Development, Governance Development, and the African institutes which provide practical and theological training to strengthen national movement staff. Additionally, you will help provide critical staff care through Regional Support Group meetings in MENA, Europe, and Francophone Africa.
The heart of our ministry is to foster a love of the Bible in students. In many parts of the world, there is a need to pair passion for outreach with a deep love for scripture. IFES Scripture Engagement facilitates each region and national movement developing programs that work for them.
In 2023, IFES Scripture Engagement teams will build networks of “Scripture Engagement Multipliers” – staff throughout a region who are passionate for Scripture Engagement who will be equipped to work with national movements to develop programs that work in their specific contexts.
AN OPPORTUNITY TO STRENGTHEN STUDENT MINISTRY IN 2023
Thanks to partnerships like yours, IFES is blessed to build on a legacy of faithful student ministry across the world. Our founding vision continues to drive our work: to see a faithful witness to Christ in every university in the world. IFES would not have been able to reach over 160 countries in 75 years without the prayers and support of people across the world who have joined our students and staff in this incredible journey. It is a powerful legacy of community and fellowship.
We invite you to join us for the coming year with a gift to empower student ministries around the world as they reach their universities with the gospel. This will help fund the start of 2023 for our leaders, providing opportunities to invest in the priority areas of connecting with fledgling and pioneering movements, Scripture Engagement, and staff development as the new year begins.
Your support will bring our staff and students together to build one another up in faith, to share what they’ve learned to strengthen their ministries, and to deepen their love for Jesus and for one another. As a fellowship, we will ensure the gift of this legacy that God has given us will be given to the next generation.
Will you give a year-end gift to IFES ministry worldwide to raise up the next generation of student leaders in 2023?
“One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.”PSALM 145:5
Thank you for joining us in this ministry through your prayers and support. We are excited to see where God will take us in the next 75 years – and we know that, truly, we could not reach students across the world without
Kevin Van Horne
IFES/USA Executive Director
IFES/USA Director of
US Supporter Relations