InterVarsity is a Christian organization intended to help people grow in their faith, even if they have no experience with God or they do and simply want to strengthen that relationship. They have an open membership, meaning there are no requirements in order to participate, and they welcome anyone and everyone.
“We are non-denominational in the sense that we welcome all denominations,” Tyler Ross, junior math major and president of InterVarsity, said. “I really enjoy meeting different people and seeing where they’re at in their relationship with God. We learn from each other, and that’s really cool.”
On Wednesday nights, they hold a contemporary church service in Pilling Chapel, known as their large group gatherings, and hold six small group gatherings throughout the week. The small groups are like bible studies, and are held in different dorms.
“The idea [behind meeting in the dorms] is that we’re meeting where people are living to show how it’s a part of their everyday life, not a separate event,” Elizabeth NislyNagele, sophomore nursing major with a Spanish minor who is also the secretary and small group coordinator for InterVarsity, said.
InterVarsity provides students with a safe place to worship on campus. “InterVarsity gave me a place to belong on campus and be myself,” Kenneth Albin, junior informational systems major with a finance minor and Vice President of InterVarsity, said. “My favorite part is having a place to get together and glorify God.”
The organization also participates in retreats for their members, as well as members from different colleges. In the past, for one of their Chapter Focus weeks, they went to the upper peninsula of Michigan for a week long retreat to get to know everyone in their chapter and other chapters around the nation, all while growing closer to God.
“Being a part of InterVarsity has really taught me a lot about decision making and leading by example,” Ross said.
“I love being able to encourage others not only in their daily life, but in their spiritual journey. It also helps to strengthen my faith. I wouldn’t have this faith without the community of believers to support and encourage me, as well,” NisleyNagele said.
InterVarsity also has different service projects that help to give back to the community. They have helped out at a soup kitchen in downtown Decatur, especially when they were short on volunteers.
“[Being a small group leader] is definitely a challenge on my leadership skills. The position involves talking to people and interpersonal connections, and I have to balance things between my major and this. It also spiritually challenges me, because my faith has to be firm and growing if I am leading others,” NisleyNagele said.
Ross said, “It’s worth it if you can put a smile on someone’s face. We lift each other up and trust in God, which is the point of what we do here.”