InterVarsity Metro Area

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : November 30, 2006

I’m back from the InterVarsity Regional Staff Conference. It was pretty good. We focused a lot of our time on leadership development models and growth models. I’m not a big fan of such stuff, but I understand that such stuff is firmly entrenched within most large institutions.

I have a decision to make within the next week. I have to decide whether or not to formally submit my name to be considered for InterVarsity Metro Area (ie, the Twin Cities) Director. We are currently director-less and they are looking for a long term placement who can help bring new life to the area. Currently we have undergrad chapters at Hamline, Macalester, the U of M East Bank, and Normandale–but we only have staff for Macalester (though she also works a bit with Hamline students). I’m being brought on staff to plant a chapter on the West Bank. I am really excited about that, but I also wonder if I would like the additional challenge of recruiting and coaching staff for the rest of the Twin Cities. We have a “head hunter” (who is very talented by the way) looking for an area director from outside the InterVarsity system, but the old area director suggested that I be considered as the new area director and I can’t deny that the idea has some appeal.

Why do I care about all of this? Am I simply looking for career advancement? No. For me the reason why I even remotely consider taking on more responsibility at InterVarsity it my desire to see students enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ and to help them follow him as they embody his presence into the world. There are lots of great campuses in the Twin Cities and I would love to have the ability to recruit and train staff to help them to do incarnational ministry with students as I myself do incarnational ministry with students on the West Bank.

The U of M probably needs several new staff in the next couple of years and it would be good to hire staff to start chapters at Hamline, Augsburg, Normandale, St. Thomas, and St. Kate’s. Macalester College is the only campus that seems adequately staffed currently. The regional director seems open to the possibility. However, my suspicion is that it would take too much time away from the West Bank–which needs to remain my primary focus. Although Missio Dei isn’t my “job” per se, it is a large part of my vocation. Working with InterVarsity supplements and enhances that vocation. If it would only add 10-15 extra hours a week to serve the metro area as an area director, I’d probably do it. But I think it would take a lot more, and it would mean less time on campus and even less time in the West Bank neighborhood in general.

The nice thing about the West Bank (in regards to InterVarsity work) is that there are two campuses on the West Bank: the University of Minnesota and Augsburg College (and St. Kate’s if you count the one building they have on the West Bank). I think there is definitely enough campus work to keep me busy, and I could very well end up leading a team of several staff that work at both campuses.

Another possibility that came up in my conversation with the Regional Director is that there is a chance I could be team leader at the University of Minnesota. This would allow me to focus my ministry on the West Bank (which is non-negotiable) while overseeing other staff at the U of M–helping to recruit new staff and overseeing existing staff. Whether or not I will serve in this capacity is up to the area director–whoever that person ends up being.
Unless God convinces me otherwise, I assume that I won’t be submitting my name next week. I really want to focus my energy on the West Bank–on both residents and students. My prayer is that the new area director will do a splendid job at recruiting new staff and supporting existing staff for the area. One of the criteria is that he or she will appreciate working with me (I’m not joking–it has been recognized by my supervisors that “not just anyone” would appreciate my approach to campus ministry). I hope that whoever my future supervisor is, he or she will be supportive of my odd ideas and have a few odd ideas of their own.

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4 Responses to “InterVarsity Metro Area”

  1. Luke on December 1st, 2006 1:04 am

    I suppose “head hunger” implies that you have someone hunting for heads called a “head hunter”?

  2. Van S on December 1st, 2006 1:39 am

    Curses! I don’t re-read my posts after I write them…perhaps I ought to start? >:(

  3. Luke on December 1st, 2006 10:22 am

    It’s also something I should start doing, I suppose…

  4. Clint D on December 3rd, 2006 2:30 am

    i’m one who turns up the volume and lets the computer read aloud what i wrote…its all a part of my great scheme to become totally dependent upon my laptop to the point that i’ve forgotten how to reed, or is that read?

    may shalom be with you.

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