As a faculty advisor since 1971, I like meeting InterVarsity Staff. I’ve appreciated the different ways InterVarsity Staff connected with me, letting their individual personalities show through as we got to know one another. There were common threads as we took time to meet together, mutually encouraging one another as they shared prayer concerns and what God was doing in the Chapter and on campus. Likewise, asking me what I was learning about the Lord, ways I was involved in my church, and praying for me and my family were appreciated. To partner with your Chapter faculty advisor, let me suggest four steps, realizing of course this will be an ongoing process.
- Explore: Ask about their academic responsibilities (teaching/research), career goals, church involvement, and family obligations. Find out what experiences they’ve had with InterVarsity. Let them know who you are, about your journey to chapter staff, and your vision for InterVarsity on their campus.
- Encourage: Suggest ways a faculty advisor can be involved, as a prayer partner in support of your goals for chapter life, specific needs in the chapter, meeting student leaders, and perhaps hosting students for meals, etc. Listen. Indicate that you want to encourage them through prayer as they pursue their family obligations, church and academic responsibilities, and career goals they have.
- Invite: Try to match ministry opportunities with interests and time constraints. Invite to chapter meetings, introduce to student leaders. Be sensitive to time obligations. Some faculty members will be newcomers to the campus with concerns about time constraints brought on by tenure achievement and family or church obligations. For some, this may mean being a prayer partner, while others may wish to be more involved.
- Celebrate: Take time to celebrate achievements in chapter growth and discipleship. Faculty interest will grow as you share what God is doing in the lives of the students. You need to regularly follow up, sharing the InterVarsity story for the campus and learning of the struggles and accomplishments of the faculty person who is the faculty advisor. Rejoice in God’s provision and answered prayers.
Achieving a partnership with the faculty advisor will be a process. Keep appointments to the designated time limit. Remember there is no magic bullet in developing the relationship. It will take time and effort, but it will be well worth it, both to you, to the faculty advisor and to God’s kingdom.
Emeritus Professor of Soil Science
North Carolina State University