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Learning from InterVarsity’s Long Multi-Ethnic Journey

April 27, 2010

Tom Skinner’s prophetic 1970 message shook up InterVarsity

Jason Byassee’s article Reconciliation on Campus in Faith and Leadership is a very important read.

Hypothesis:  InterVarsity Christian Fellowship has gone deeper than any large, national Christian organization in putting multi-ethnic convictions and about justice and reconciliation into its DNA, from top to bottom.  I’ve said that for years.  Is it true?  If so, it’s worth taking a close look at the reasons why, and what we can learn from IV’s journey.  Byassee’s article is a good start.  The journey for IV has been costly, deep, transformative, and continues to be messy.  Such a witness is profound.  A major InterVarsity leader reportedly once said “Racial reconciliation is not a romantic bandwagon to jump on.  It is a journey to the cross.”  He went on to name a number of leaders influential to IV’s ministry in this area who suffered greatly or died untimely deaths.  His point:  sacrifice and authenticity go hand-in-hand.  But it is one thing for a grassroots ministry to engage this, quite another for a large national institution with 1,400 staff.

Read the article and tell me what you think.  Has any other national Christian organization gone as deep as this?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. gann permalink
    April 27, 2010 9:15 am

    I was very active in IVCF 1969-74, both undergrad and grad chapters in Illinois and NC. But when I reflect on my own journey in racial reconciliation, I don’t see IVCF as a companion–our leadership team at college was all-white, our chapter all-white, none of our activities reached across the lines. Ditto at grad school. I’ve been making friends across the color lines since age 8,and IV staff were among my mentors, but not in this area of my spiritual growth. I do remember Tom Skinner’s powerful preaching at Urbana 70, and the prophetic witness of LaSalle Street Church Chicago which I attended 68-69, while at MBI. Good to reflect on how God has guided my pilgrimage–thanks for the posting, Chris!

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