USA (MNN) ― A recent poll indicates that college students are very interested in spirituality.
A 2004 survey of college freshman by the Higher Education Research Institute of the University of California-Los Angeles found 80% have an interest in spirituality.
Statistics from InterVarsity field reports for the 2006-2007 school year show more student conversions than any year in the last several decades.
When polled on the question of whether students are becoming more interested in spiritual issues, more than twice as many InterVarsity staff respondents (41%) chose yes, over the choice of less interest (18%). And 23% said there was no change.
However, that doesn't necessarily translate to an interest in Christianity. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship President Alec Hill says the Millennium Generation tends to follow spiritual issues cafeteria-style. "My truth is my truth. Let's go through the smorgasbord and pick what we like. I think people have individualized their religious philosophy in a way, and if you challenge it, then you've stepped across the boundary line of tolerance. That probably is the unforgivable sin on the college scene today--that is, being perceived as 'intolerant.'"
Intervarsity's campus presence means questions can be asked. It's through these conversations that students often realize that Jesus provides the focus that vague spirituality lacks.
Young people are not only global, they're also interested in social justice and humanitarian or compassion projects. That means InterVarsity has an acceptable approach to the talking about truth.
Hill explains, "We want to invite them in so they belong first, but we also want to make sure that we present to them the Gospel. And we do it in a way that they have to make a decision. What's been exciting for us the last couple years is that we've had record numbers of new believers."