The Place and Purpose of Parachurch Ministries

Jon Saunders | August 31, 2015

The world of campus ministry is a world filled with parachurch ministries. Names like Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ), InterVarsity, and Navigators are household names for most evangelicals. Their founders are some of the past century’s heroes of the faith. These ministries are the gold standard of evangelicalism for good reason. 

But there was a time when young adults were won to Christ through the church, not through outside help. The beginning of campus ministry as we know it began in the late 1800s at the University of Cambridge. A small group of students began meeting for weekly prayer and accountability. Over time, other groups started to meet on other nearby English campuses. These groups began to partner—hence the name “InterVarsity.”

In the States, Bill Bright, inspired by his friend Billy Graham, founded Cru at UCLA in 1951. Cru is now a major evangelical movement on most U.S. campuses and has a significant presence around the world.

I’m quite thankful for this movement. My wife was involved with Cru in college. She grew in her faith, learned to share the gospel with her peers, and even read good books like Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology and John Piper’s Desiring God. It was a wonderful season in her life, for which…

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