All posts by campustestimonyproject

InterVarsity (IV) – “my grandma and aunt’s best friend were convinced the ministry was a cult”

This is an excerpt from a Reddit post titled: Do I Belong to a Cult?

The author details how his/her involvement in InterVarsity (IV) as a leader lead him to become estranged from his/her family, as far as taking up 18-23 hours per week and making the author miss important family events.

“In the comments below, I decided to disclose the name of the organization. I was/am involved with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.”

“As my campus ministry began to take up more and more of my time and money, my parents became less and less pleased with my involvement.”

In some ways, my campus ministry was a part-time job: the first few weeks of the school year were spent doing outreach, hosting game nights and trips, and having one on ones with the people in my dorm. Between my bible study, bible study prep meeting, large group meeting, and leaders meeting, I was spending about 8 hours a week doing “scheduled” ministry. Another 10-15 hours were spent socializing with non-Christians, attending church, meeting up for prayer, etc. …

“It was around this time that my parents started throwing around words like “cult” and “brainwashed.” I learned that my aunt had been involved in the same campus ministry thirty years ago, and that my grandma and aunt’s best friend were convinced the ministry was a cult. My mom had never gotten along well with my aunt, and was quick to make the same accusations about my involvement.”

“Again, I wanted to try to involve my family in the decision. I had several tumultuous phone conversations with my parents. They believed that my staff workers were using me for their own gain, and that they had no concern for my academics or financial stability. Their concerns were founded on half truths: Living in the dorms would indeed be another financial burden, and I would face substantially more difficult classes my junior year.”

InterVarsity (IV) – “The gospel is the reason of the existence of us, Christians, and that wasn’t the main topic”

Excerpt from:
*Note: This is from the comments section of InterVarsity’s official website.

“I started to go to intervasity in my freshman year, but i left after having almost a year there. I am Christian and a passionate lover of God, so the first thing i did was to look for a Christian club at school and i found Intervasity. I really liked to found nice people that really love God as well, but there were several important things missing there.

As any other Christian Group intervasity has it’s pros and cons, which i don’t judge because is a group form by humans and humans are not perfect, but the two main things that a Christian group can not lack of are: The preaching of the Gospel, which is the Grace of God for the world and the human incapacity to reach salvation by any means or deeds, but Only Christ and nothing else, because he lived, died and rise for us, and nothing can be add to that. I found myself in a group that believes in Salvation= Christ + our works, although the second part was not talk openly and clear. The gospel is the reason of the existence of us, Christians, and that wasn’t the main topic in the meetings i participated on for a year.

The last and second thing, is that at least in my campus, i didn’t see too many ways of reaching people from school, most of the activities were for the present members of the club and that to me wasn’t right, we should share more, and more the great news of God! OUR biggest problem was resolved in Jesus, we are free from sin, we are now free and have a great place to go after death, everybody should know this! So i decided to go by myself sharing the gospel with others around me(although unfortunately in a minor scale), and using the time i used to go to the club, to learn more from the bible in another place. Just truly trying to help. God bless.”

InterVarsity (IV) – “I feel lost and burned out”

Excerpt from a Reddit post titled: “I’m getting burned out too quickly and losing interest. I don’t want to continue to serve with my campus ministry.”

“I don’t know if I can keep going. I’m a college senior who is taking a full load of classes, dealing with two simultaneous projects that require professional work in the community, I work part-time, and I have an internship. On top of all this, I’m a small group leader in an on-campus ministry called Intervarsity.


I feel lost and burned out. All I wanted to do in the meeting was get up and leave. I no longer want to be in a position of leadership, but I’m one of our senior members and the leadership is needed. I feel trapped. I need to focus on this last year because I need to start looking at getting a job after graduation, but any free time that I have from my courses and responsibilities is taken up by something with Intervarsity and I’m honestly sick of it. If I stopped being a leader, I believe there would be some negative tension between me and the other leaders, plus I would be hurting the team by leaving. I really want out, but I feel the obligation to serve. My selfishness is getting the best of me.

I’m also gaining apathy and frustration with Christianity in general. I don’t want to attend church, I want to just stream it (if I even feel like it), and honestly, I just want something to get me “excited” about the faith again, if that’s even a thing.

I didn’t know where else to turn (I’ve already had a shouting match towards God. I’m sure He understands that I’m frustrated and I rant frequently to Him.) and I don’t even know if this is the right sub for this. Any advice would be much appreciated.”

InterVarsity (IV) – “a lot of prejudices”, “treated him differently, looked down on him, almost”

Excerpt from:
*Note: This is from the comments section of InterVarsity’s official website.

“I found that IV kids come with a lot of prejudices. One instance that perfectly illustrates this: I remember bringing a friend of mine to IV small group, and everyone was really friendly toward him, that is until we went around and introduced ourselves.

My friend was part of a fraternity on campus, and as soon as he mentioned that, people in our small group immediately started treating him differently. My friend had grown up in a Christian family, and even made time to go to church at college whenever he could, not much unlike the other members of our small group. And yet, our small group still treated him differently, looked down on him, almost. If my friend had something to say, sometimes it wouldn’t take it seriously. Our small group, was especially hard on him–Whenever my friend would bring up a question our small group leader would be very defensive, and answer in a very haughty way, almost as if reprimanding him for just bringing up the question in the first place.

Fortunately, my friend kept coming to the small group meetings every week that semester, but unfortunately, every week he tried earning our small group’s respect in vain. And that REALLY disappointed me. I was especially disappointed that my small group leader (who we all supposedly should have looked to for advice, for leadership) was one of the hardest on my friend.

Even more disappointing, my small group leader was a senior–it’s one thing to be an underclassmen coming to college for the first time and having certain prejudices and misconceptions, but as a senior, you would think that he’d know better than to treat my friend the way he did. But even after 4 years of being an active member of Intervarsity, my small group leader just didn’t. Overall, a small group is meant to support, encourage, and nurture is members through their scripture-studying-journey, if you will, but sadly, my friend didn’t get any of that.”

InterVarsity (IV) – “that you could only change the world if you were on IV leadership”

Excerpt from:
*Note: This is from the comments section of InterVarsity’s official website.

“I was a part of IV for 6 years of undergrad and 2 years of masters work. I always found that there was a certain culture in IV that I knew was not real life. I saw this in the way that discipleship worked. The guys that were discipled by the IV staff workers or exec. leaders always ended up acting, and talking, and praying, and leading like the person who was discipling them. This had to be a compliment to the character of the leaders because imitation is a sincere form of flattery, but it seemed off, and me being a creative music major who was pouring between 25-30 hours a week into crafting my sound and trying to stand apart, becoming like my staff worker was not my intention or desire. So, I butted heads with my staffworker constantly.

Looking back on this I felt like I was hungry for Jesus and IV was offering Christian agendas and programs, and I wasn’t necessarily drawn to that, because it wasn’t feeding what I was hungry for. And that led to more butting heads with staff workers and exec members, and led to long talks about IV’s vision statement and IV’s plans and programs that would help, “get me on board”…Now if most people had this experience in IV they would quit, but I stuck around and found much value by being apart of IV. I love it and I wouldn’t change my experience in it because it helped shaped me and grow me in ways that would not have happened any other way.

But there are some things I wished they would have done differently…I felt that there was always talk about being a world changer but that you could only change the world if you were on IV leadership or lived in strategically missional communities around campus, or if you went onto IV staff, or if you went to IV training, but if you didn’t do these things you could change the world by supporting IV staff or giving scholarships to students to go to training events. Which are all good things, but they seem so short-sighted. If a student in IV spends 4 years in college but 30 years in the work force shouldn’t more time be spent on preparing a student for life outside of college? Or if a small percentage end up on IV staff and the vast majority end up if professional fields why not devote lots of time and energy or invest in training that would help those more instead of devoting the most time and energy and directed training at the IV junkees.

It just did not sit well with me that the only time we talked about going into the professional world was when we were about to graduate, and that it was too little too late.”

InterVarsity (IV) – “got kicked out of IV for being ‘rebellious’ and requiring group ‘discipline'”

“When I went to college, I was a christian and strongly encouraged by my pastor and high school youth leaders to link up with IVF. I joined an IV small group my first week living in the dorms and the people in the small group were actually nice people. They were really pleasant, really sincere, and at the time I found the bible studies to be engaging so that was fine.

The one downside was that they constantly pestered everyone to go to the large group meetings, which were totally different from the small groups. The large groups were more like a pseudo church service. I went once when they had a super intense talk about sexual purity and how that meant not touching your genitals or anyone else’s until you were locked into marriage. I went to a couple more large groups that were equally creepy and I decided it wasn’t for me.

Later, the leaders of my small group, got kicked out of IV for being “rebellious” and requiring group “discipline”. As near as I could figure, this came from them expressing contrary views to the leadership on how the club’s elections should be run, namely that they believed the “pastor-liason guy” shouldn’t be able to pick the group’s officers by being solely in charge of nominations. I left after that.”

Excerpt from:

Cru – “one of the most extreme christian groups”, “has damaged me and others… “

“In short – CCC was one of the most extreme christian groups I was ever associated with. My church growing up was far more balanced in terms of ministerial approach. For instance, we actually talked about something other than “saving souls”.

There is so much I could say about this group from generalized frustration, questionable financial practices, and the endorsement strange dating rituals. I could probably write a short book.

At this point, all I want to say is that the group has damaged me and others… it has probably hurt me in ways I don’t even fully understand yet – as it wasn’t that long ago that I was involved.

As someone who would has not entirely dismissed the existence of spirituality – that is hopeful for the concept of a God – I feel quite strongly at this point that these people are not acting in any way holy. That what they do in the “name of Jesus” is not what Jesus would have done.”

Excerpt from:

Cru – “they try to take over your whole life – your time, your social circle, your reading material”

“I’ve had experience with both IV and CCC, and the comment someone made earlier about how invasive they are is spot-on. They try to take over your whole life – your time, your social circle, your reading material, etc.

The main difference between those two groups seems to be that CCC comes right out of the gate with the less popular material (Creationism, anti-gay messages, very aggressive evangelism, non-Christians doomed to Hell, etc.) whereas Intervarsity believes all that but keeps it under wraps (to a degree anyway) to attract more students.”

Excerpt from:

Cru – “CCC is very anti-science”, “all of the answers I got were total BS”

“I was involved with CCC my freshmen and sophomore years. I made a few friends and that is why I stayed so long. I have always accepted evolution and supported gay marriage. I went to help after Katrina, went to Chicago to do inner-city work, and I went to the CCC Conference in Atlanta. I tried to believe but CCC is very anti-science. Changing my major to Geology was pretty much the nail in the coffin of my faith. I went to a bible a study and was asking about the flood and evolution and all of the answers I got were total BS. Christians have no real answers for either subject and apparently don’t see how big of a problem they are for their faith. I still keep in touch with a few people from CCC but I know that when I stopped going they were praying for me (my roommate at the time was an active member).”

Excerpt from:

Unnamed – “told by the leader I was too old for the group and we can’t accommodate you”

Excerpt from:

“like many on here I had horrible experiences. One the leader of one particular campus ministry that shall remain nameless regularly participated in gossip and was mishandling the group. I ended up reporting them and I ended up looking like the bad guy because it. The other experience was pretty much I was told by the leader I was too old for the group and we can’t accommodate you. I talked to some other people that had similar experiences with that group and end up creating our own group because of it. It did thrive but after we all graduated, the group sadly fell apart.”