Where Raucous Is the Norm, Bible Study
By ERIK ECKHOLM
Published: March 6, 2011
INDIANAPOLIS — Imagine 475 college students — all members of fraternities and sororities around the country — flooding a hotel for a weekend. Imagine, come Sunday, that not one noise complaint has been lodged, no chairs are broken, no beer stains the carpets and the hotel housekeeper says, “What a nice bunch of kids.”
Improbable, but that is exactly what happened recently when an evangelical Christian campus group, Greek InterVarsity, held a regional conference here to expand Bible studies and Christian recruiting in fraternities and sororities at mainstream universities.
Why would students who may not drink or believe in sex before marriage, and who read the Bible for recreation, want to join groups often known for hard partying, alcohol and hazing violations, and casual sex? Many said they enjoyed the companionship a house could provide and liked having friends of different or less ardent faiths. But many also said they relished the opportunity to spread the Gospel.
“Our goal is to help students lead a Christian life inside the Greek system, as contradictory as that may sound,” said Eric Holmer, the communications director for Greek InterVarsity.
The group is fighting a long-term decline in the share of students who say they are religious, as well as a tendency for church attendance to drop off during college. But it still sees fertile ground: in a 2007 national survey, 20 percent of college juniors identified themselves as evangelical Christians, according to Alexander W. Astin, professor emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The organization, a branch of a nondenominational campus ministry, has a foothold at 60 universities around the country, with 50 full-time staff members organizing on campuses. It counts about 2,800 active members from 367 Greek houses.
The students heard sermons from a pastor who easily segued from “U2 — I love that group” to “I love Jesus” and explored their feelings in small group discussions on challenges to faith and how to start a Bible group in a fraternity or sorority house.Read more...
Pretty Cool Deal:)