Welcome to the Next Chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in St. Cloud: A new ministry to Graduate students and Faculty being cultivated upon the half-century foundation laid by the collegiate chapters on the campus of St. Cloud State University. Following is a primer on the concept, context, call, and commitment of planting a new work anchored at St. Cloud State University. For more information, dip into any of the links under ‘Learn More’ and the ‘St Cloud Chapter,’ or follow the monthly posts from the beginning.
InterVarsity’s Graduate & Faculty Ministries encourages and equips graduate students and faculty to live as Christ’s disciples, following him as they seek to be a redeeming influence among the people, ideas and structures of the university and professions. The core ministry focuses on four aspects: spiritual formation, community, evangelism & service, and the integration of faith, learning and practice.
Faculty (and staff) faith communities on St. Cloud campuses are designed to be formational, both for the mind and the soul, to bring vocational excellence together with a robust faith that impacts not only their personal life, but also their discipline, students, colleagues, and the very fabric of the university.
Graduate student communities who make Christ known within their academic and professional worlds are developing world changers for positions of influence and leadership in every corner of society and around the world. Formation through mentoring, study, prayer and spiritual practices grounds students amidst the pressures and mulitple priorities of graduate life, while integration exercises focus on engaging the whole person in their vocation call.
About ten percent of St. Cloud State University‘s 18,000 students are graduate students–most in areas of education, business, and sciences. And while more than a dozen Christian organizations are present on campus, none are tailored to reach graduate students.
The university is home to more than 1200 faculty (in addition to several hundred staff) who influence hundreds of students each semester, serve departmental and interdisciplinary committees that are shaping the University during its major restructuring, and work with national and international projects to further their disciplines.
As has been God’s pattern, every mission partners with people to accomplish God’s purposes in the world. Kirsten Nelson Wagenius, 1996 alumna of the SCSU InterVarsity Chapter, relocated to the University neighborhood following several years in Chicago for graduate studies in business & theology and then serving as the regional director of leadership development for a national denomination.
Living across the street from her alma mater prompted the question, “How might God make use of me here?” Conversations with former graduate students and current faculty, a collaborative discernment process, and research of the St. Cloud mission field confirmed both an opportunity for the expansion of a unique new ministry and the skills to plant and nurture the next chapter.
The design of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s movement across the world is to partner with family, friends, alumni, marketplace leaders, churches, and others to send missionaries to the University community. Staff invite their circles of influence to pray, participate, or partner financially and create a sustainable ministry in a specific context.
Would you consider a commitment to expand the vision to transform students and faculty, renew the campus and develop world-changers in St. Cloud?