Friday, June 25, 2010

IFES and Evangelicalism

Several church history books I've read recently have commented on the remarkable resilience of the worldwide evangelical movement. The notice that evangelicalism was particularly strong following World War Two, but was predicted to die out by the 1980's with the rise of western/liberal culture. Instead, evangelicalism seems to have grown and strengthened. The historical commentators usually give several reasons for this, but one that is often overlooked is IFES, the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students.

IFES is the global association of national movements which in turn are constituted by groups like the EU. IFES was formed by 10 national movements in 1947; it now has more than 150 national members. According to Billy Graham:

"Everywhere I go I meet Christian leaders whose lives have been touched by IFES' emphasis on biblical evangelism and discipleship.”

I've been preparing a prayer meeting for IFES at AnCon. The more I've read about IFES, the more I've realised that they have a strong claim for a growing and influential evangelical movement. There are over 500,000 students connected to IFES groups. According to the 2008 IFES Annual Report:
World Vision estimates that up to 90% of their leaders worldwide have been formed through an IFES affiliated movement. In some countries in French speaking Africa, for example, up to 80% of church leaders say the same.
If you want to know more about IFES, I recommend you read the short and accessible book by Lindsay Brown, Shining Like Stars.


byron smith said...

Wow, some amazing stats there. Do you have any references for the prediction of demise by the 80s?

Matthew Moffitt said...

So, you picked up on my vagueness there. I've read that prediction in a couple of books recently, but can't remember where. Let me go for a search and I'll get back to you...