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Sharing God’s Love with All People
In 1945 an InterVarsity staff member invited several Black students to a Bible study. One InterVarsity Trustee objected to hosting a racially integrated gathering in her home. The White staff member did not back down from welcoming the Black students.
As a result of this staff member’s integrity and courage, InterVarsity’s Board of Trustees passed a resolution prohibiting racial segregation at all InterVarsity events.
Our History of Racial Reconciliation
InterVarsity has a long and rich history of multiethnic ministry. In the late 1940s our Board of Trustees crafted policies in support of integrated student events. And the first African American and Asian American staff members started working on campus.
In the 1960s and 1970s, InterVarsity challenged the predominant campus culture and brought together students from different racial backgrounds before it was considered popular or even safe. The first long-term Latino staff person began working in the early 1970s. Through the seventies and early eighties, we affirmed the ethnic identity of our students of color, and in the mid-1980s we began building a multiethnic student movement. In the late 1990s, we continued to follow God’s call to address issues of racial reconciliation on campus.
Today we invite people from every ethnic group to experience the love of God and meet people who are followers of Jesus.
Our Vision of Unity
Our vision of reconciliation comes from what we understand of unity in God’s family. We hold before us the vision of Revelation 7:9, where there is “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.”
InterVarsity's commitment to multiethnic ministry grows from the person and work of Jesus Christ, and the nature of our mission field. It is our study of the Scriptures and our vision of the Kingdom of God that leads us to minister within the university, in all its ethnic diversity.
Our Affirmation of Diverse Ethnic Identities
College is a critical time for young adults to grow in their ethnic identities and cultures, so we create multiethnic fellowships where students can share the unique aspects of their ethnic cultures.
We also have ethnic specific campus fellowships, and in those fellowships, whether the group is predominantly Asian American, Black, Latino, or Native American, we cultivate an appreciation for multiethnic gatherings.
Through InterVarsity, many students are coming to deeper understandings about God’s love for all people of every ethnicity. These students are also learning to celebrate the God-given gift of their own racial identity. “I am Latina,” said Linda Irma Jimenez, a former student at Montclair State University in Upper Montclair, New Jersey. “For the first time, I was able to look at myself and honestly believe in whom God had created me to be.”
Both multiethnic and ethnic-specific ministries encourage students to grow in their love for God and love for people. As a result, students mature in their respect for different ethnicities and affirm the gifts of their own racial identities.
Our Calling to Multiethnic Ministry
Today’s racial problems among people groups call us to deepening our sensitivity to multiethnic issues and to a reaffirm our commitment to train multiethnic leaders for universities, churches, and professions. InterVarsity's commitment to multiethnic expressions of faith, fellowship, and worship is rooted in our desire to apply biblical principles to the ways we relate to one another and to the ways we carry out our ministry.
InterVarsity carries out its value of racial reconciliation by building witnessing communities that represent God’s multiethnic kingdom. Within our campus ministries, people from different racial backgrounds work together toward common ministry goals. Since her days in high school, Charity Potts, a White Sophomore at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, had an interest in racial issues. At college, through her activity with students in InterVarsity’s Black Student Association (BSA), Charity grew in her understanding about racial reconciliation. She believes that acts of reconciliation reflect God’s love. “Many of us involved in reconciliation are just stepping stones for what the Lord has in store for the future of InterVarsity,” she said.
InterVarsity builds communities on campus that reach individuals of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. We welcome everyone into our chapters, sharing with them the love of Christ. We work toward justice and reconciliation among individuals, communities, and nations.