Saturday, July 22, 2006

Effective engagement on campus?

Dan Denk of IVCF (IFES in the USA):

Campus engagement is based on the development of InterVarsity witnessing communities (working in cooperation with other Christian groups on campus) that are of sufficient size and quality to effectively pursue the following aims:
  • Evangelism: saturating the campus with the gospel so that everyone has been confronted with the claims of Jesus Christ in word and deed and in a manner which encourages response. This usually requires a 1:10 ratio; that is, 10% of the campus being witnessing Christians (Matt 28:16‑20).
  • Engaging particular groups: making the gospel known in each of the geographical sectors of the campus, each residence hall, each special interest group, each ethnic group, each club and fraternity, each academic major and department; including faculty, staff, and administration (I Cor. 9:19‑23).
  • Engaging the college/university structure: bringing God's truth and justice to bear on the campus newspaper, student government, campus radio station, residence hall staff, special activities and events, administration policy, dispersion of funds, and the sports program (Amos 5:7‑24).
  • Challenging personal and public morality: proclaiming and demonstrating a Christian perspective on issues addressing the university community related to personal morality (homosexuality, drunkenness, sexual promiscuity, cheating) and public morality (racism, war, economic policy, world hunger, materialism). (Micah 3:9‑11, 7:1‑7)
  • Engaging the marketplace of ideas: seeking to integrate Christian thought with the intellectual issues discussed in the university setting (scientific research, the arts, politically correct thinking, ecology, economic theory). (Acts 17:22‑34, Dan. 1)
It's immediately obvious that we're in a different context in the UK. The idea of 1 in 10 students being Christians is hard to imagine, we might just be making 1 in 100 at best.

That said, where could we engage more effectively? How do you make a noticeable impact with so few? What more can be done on a relationship level? What more can be done on the other fronts?

What could our pursuit of developing witnessing communities (Christian Unions) learn from the priorities Dan Denk asserts, and from others worldwide? Where are things working well? What are the encouraging stories? What are the challenges we face?