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What Happens When God Shows Up (52 Weeks of Books Challenge Week Twenty-One)

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I'm so excited to finally get back to regularly scheduled programming. Shall we get to it?

When God Shows Up On Campus: The Miraculous Birth 
of InterVarsity in the Rocky Mountains
Don Everts, 2008,

When God Shows Up On Campus is, as the title suggests, the origin story of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) chapters in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States. If you're wondering what IVCF is, it's a similar type of ministry as Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ), Navigators, or Baptist Student Ministries (BSM). All three are ministries that serve college students on secular college campuses. Specifically, IVCF is the American arm of a larger international college student ministry known as the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES), which started as a movement in the 1870s at the University of Cambridge.

Why I Read It:
In my college days, I was a member of (and eventually student leader within) the IVCF chapter on my school's campus. The author, at the time a campus minister with IVCF at another school in the Rocky Mountain Region, was speaking at a conference I attended in 2008. He talked about the book. So I picked it up.

I have the heart of a researcher mashed together with the soul of a writer, and I grew up watching my grandmother's painstaking process of writing my family's history. By hand, in case you were wondering. Not on a typewriter, and definitely not on a computer. That means when someone takes the time to research and write the history of something I love and have participated in, I get excited.

I didn't set this one aside because I lost interest. Life happened, things came up and I needed to deal with them. I'm glad I found my way back to this one, because it is a short, God-story packed book. People pray, and God shows up in the best way possible. The prayers of a retired missionary living in Denver opened the heart of a young man with no intention of getting to know God, and the rest is history. Thousands of college students take part in ministries on college campus in the Rocky Mountain Region now because of it. Ten years ago, I was a part of it. It is, and should be, a story that continues to inspire. My only complaint is that I would have liked it to be longer and more indepth, but that's the researcher's heart.

What has been a sad and frustrating reality within the American Church is that kids growing up in church are heavily pushed towards Christian universities, because (somewhere along the line) parents become convinced that public universities are going to suck the faith out of their kids. While I've seen stories that would validate their fears, When God Shows Up On Campus makes the case that God shows up wherever he is invited. Even on public university campuses known by American Christians as the most godless places on the earth (slight exaggeration there). If I were still in youth ministry, I would invest in multiple copies so I could give this to the parents of high school students to read before they and their kids enter into the process of choosing colleges to apply to.

Parents, God is moving on college campuses around the world and in ways you cannot imagine. Trust your kids to know what God is telling them about where they should be, and trust God to be working in those places. And… pray. For your kids, for other people's kids, and for the hundreds of men and women who work on staff with campus ministries like IVCF to reach these students. It's hard work, but God is doing so much, and I'm sure they have amazing God stories to share with anyone who asks.

52 Weeks of Books Challenge? What is that? What book is Cat reviewing next week?


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