International Fellowship of Evangelical Students

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The International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) is an association of about 136 evangelical Christian student movements worldwide, encouraging evangelism, discipleship and mission among students. The goal of the organisation is to establish local autonomous student movements in every country where there is tertiary education. The member movements cooperate to pioneer new work and to strengthen existing groups. In addition, there is work in countries where ministry to students is not yet affiliated, increasing the number of countries where IFES is working to nearly 160 countries altogether.

The organizational centre of IFES is in Oxford, England. Dr. Daniel Bourdanné is the current General Secretary, Gideon Yung is the Associate General Secretary. Dr. Bourdanné was installed as General Secretary at the IFES World Assembly on 17 July 2007. Previously he served as Regional Secretary for Francophone Africa. Other General Secretaries have been Australian C. Stacey Woods (1947–1972), Singaporean Chua Wee Hian (1972–1991) and Welshman Lindsay Brown (1991–2007). But the heart of the movement are the thousands of students, volunteers and staff who faithfully and sacrificially contribute in their local settings, but will never be recognised or eulogised.

This movement encourages interdenominational evangelism in all its member movements. At the 2007 World Assembly, six strategic priorities were re-affirmed: Evangelism & Mission, Global Partnership, Leadership Development & Formación (a Spanish word which means well-rounded development), Governance of IFES & National Movements, Integral Approach to Ministry and Fund Development. For the quadrennium 2007-2011, the prioritisation and application of these six strategic priorities are still being considered as leadership interprets the results from the World Assembly discussions. In addition, the IFES's historic emphases on inductive Bible study, small groups and "the discipleship of the mind", which is evidence of a strong commitment to discipleship, will continue.

History[edit]

In 1947, the initiative was taken to establish an umbrella organisation of Christian students. Representatives from Australia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Canada, China, France, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the United States came together in Boston (USA) to strengthen evangelism, discipleship and world mission among students all over the world.

At the end of the 20th century, IFES had already grown to an organisation consisting of movements in 140 countries. Currently there are about 15 countries where there is no recognized student witness. Most of them are Muslim countries. A unique feature of the IFES is that it is a federation of autonomous and indigenous movements. No one country is the source or the authority for this movement, which has created a vivid example of international partnership and collaboration. The missiological principle of "all peoples to all places" is a reality in IFES.

A firm commitment to evangelism amongst students, the authority of the Bible and collaborative cross-cultural mission are historic features of this ministry. As the fellowship has grown, representatives from many Christian traditions and denominations have been added, but the IFES has sustained an orthodox evangelical expression of Christianity.

Activities[edit]

Representatives of all the member movements gather once every four years at the "World Assembly", where the General Committee meets to conduct official business of the fellowship. The last World Assembly occurred in July 2011 in Krakow, Poland at the Jagiellonian University and was hosted by the Polish member movement ChSA. The prior World Assembly was held in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada, hosted by Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Canada and Redeemer University College. The one prior to this was held in July 2003 in Dalfsen, Netherlands and was the most widely represented student ministry event in history.

For students, regional conferences are organised every few years. In Europe and Eurasia, there is the European Student Evangelism Conference. In 2000 it was held in Aschaffenburg, Germany, in Győr, Hungary in 2004 and 2012 and in Linz, Austria in 2008 (Conference website). The last East Asia Regional Conference was held in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2005. This event attracted around five hundred students from all over East Asia.

IFES also offers Summer- and Year-teams (www.ifesinteraction.org), which are composed of students and recent graduates who use their holidays or an academic year to help establish student movements in Europe and Eurasia by pioneering new work or assisting established movements.

Christian literature distribution is also a feature of this ministry. InterVarsity Press (USA), Inter-Varsity Press (UK), Presses Bibliques Africaines (Francophone Africa), Harmat (Hungary), Andamio (Spain), and Ediciones Certeza (Latin America) are examples of regional publishing houses.

Student missions conferences occur frequently in the fellowship. Examples of this are Urbana (North America), Mission Korea (South Korea) and "Whom Shall I Send?" (Sudan). Plans for future conferences are developing, and at present there are such events planned in India, Rwanda, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. There is to be Eurasia’s first-ever missions conference in Ukraine, and others in South Korea, Taiwan, Jamaica, Mexico, and probably also Bolivia and Guatemala in Latin America.

Member Movements[edit]

According to the philosophy of unity among all Christians, IFES allows only one member organisation per country, although in some bilingual and multilingual countries (i.e. Canada, Belgium, Switzerland), there are parallel organizations for different linguistic groups.

Around the world, more than 160 movements are connected to IFES.

Africa[edit]

Asia[edit]

East Asia[edit]

South Asia[edit]

Europe[edit]

Central Europe[edit]

Western Europe[edit]

North America, Central America and the Caribbean[edit]

Oceania[edit]

South America (less the Guyanas)[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Douglas Johnson, A Brief History of the International Fellowship Of Evangelical Students, Lausanne, Switzerland, IFES, 1964.
  • Pete Lowman, The Day of His Power, Leicester, Inter-Varsity, 1988. ISBN 0-85110-794-X
  • Alice Poynor, From the Campus to the World: Stories from the First Fifty Years of Student Foreign Missions Fellowship, InterVarsity Press, 1986. ISBN 0-87784-947-1
  • David M. Howard, Student Power in World Missions, InterVarsity Press, 1979. ISBN 0-87784-493-3 (Brief history of North American students in mission beginning with the Haystack Movement through the SVM to the SFMF.)
  • C. Stacey Woods, The Growth of a Work of God, InterVarsity Press, 1978. ISBN 0-87784-741-X (Early history of InterVarsity/USA)
  • Keith & Gladys Hunt, For Christ and the University: The Story of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship of the U.S.A./ 1940-1990, InterVarsity Press, 1991. ISBN 0-8308-4996-3
  • Lindsay Brown, Shining Like Stars - the Power of the Gospel in the World’s Universities, Inter-Varsity Press, 2006. ISBN 1-84474-167-2 (Spanish translation: Brillando Como Estrellas, Andamio. ISBN 84-96551-28-8, ISBN 978-84-96551-28-2
  • A. Donald MacLeod, C. Stacey Woods and the Evangelical Rediscovery of the University, InterVarsity Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0-8308-3432-7

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