By Gordon Govier
Special to ASSIST News ServiceMADISON WI(ANS) -- Seventeen Christian ministries that work on U.S. college campuses have established a new standard of cooperation and mutual respect for their work with college students and faculty. Meeting in a Chicago suburb last October, leaders of the ministries agreed to eight basic points of unity in mission aimed at keeping their work on campus cooperative rather than competitive.
The meeting was held at the offices of InterVarsity Press in Westmont, Illinois. The "Chicago Agreement" as it is called, is an update of an earlier agreement forged between leaders of Campus Crusade for Christ, Navigators, Young Life, and InterVarsity, in 1971.
Renewing the Basics
Last year leaders of Campus Crusade, Navigators, and InterVarsity decided to meet in order to update and modify the language of their partnership. They identified 14 other organizations that work on campus and might want to participate in the process.
"Our hope was that ten or twelve ministries would be represented," said Jim Lundgren, Senior Vice President and Director of Collegiate Ministries for InterVarsity. "To our surprise, sixteen of the seventeen came for the 24 hour meeting. The one campus director who could not come made a pledge to sign whatever we developed."
Keeping it Simple
The aim was to put together a clear and simple agreement that did not read like a theological treatise or a legal document. A fter the eight points were tentatively agreed upon, the ministry leaders took the document back to their respective organizations for review. By early January there was unanimous agreement on all of the eight points.
"I believe that the spirit of partnership and respect that we experienced together is as important as what we produced in the actual agreement," Lundgren said. "I see the Chicago Agreement as a sign of the work of the Holy Spirit in our movement and in leadership of these other movements."
Lundgren said that the plan is for the leadership group to meet together every three years, in order to modify the agreement as necessary, and to learn from each other.