This is an article from the September 1980 issue: Return to Irian Jaya

Student Volunteer Movement

Promising signs of a rebirth

Student Volunteer Movement

Just over a century ago, God inspired 10 year old Robert Wilder with a vision to take the Gospel to unreached peoples. Wilder, growing up in India, reasoned that "if there are so many people here in India who have never heard the Gospel, and if there are so many in America who have, then surety 1 must be a Christian missionary here in India."

Ten years later, while a student at Princeton College in the United States, Wilder formed a prayer group whose members "decided that it was their duty to go to the foreign fields... and do more effective and agressive work on behalf of the cause."

The vision quickly spread to other campuses and new prayer bands were added to what later expanded into the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, the most powerful student movement in history. Eventually, over 100,000 students were involved. See back page for the new little book: The Creation of a Student Movement to Evangelize the World.

Today, the SVM may be gone, but there are exciting "rumblings" that we are on the brink of another phenomenal student movement in frontier missions. Some indicators:

Increased attendance and personal response to the call for crosscultural missions at Urbana, InterVarsity's mission convention. When given opportunity to indicate willingness to seek God's will concerning their involvement in missions, students have responded in dramatically increased numbers recently: 1970, 8%; 1973, 28%; 1976, 51%, and at the 1979 convention, about 8,000 registered their decisions!

Expansion of the Institute of International Studies (IIS). Founded after Urbana '73, IlS is designed to give students who have had their appetites whetted by an introduction to missions a period of solid, serious study of missions, equipping them with an overall Biblical view of God's worldwide work so they can make decisions for their lives fully aware of the facts and needs.

The first extension llS was held on the campus of Pennsylvania State University last winter. Plans are now in progress for possible extension IlS courses at major universities across the country, including several in the University of California system and the University of Illinois at Urbana.

The multiplication of the Student Conference on World Evangelization (SCOWE). This two day conference, designed to focus students' attention on their unique potential for fulfilling the Great Commission, started with a single meeting at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, in January, 1975.

SCOWE has been reproduced several times, including in the San Francisco/Bay area, sponsored by a church, and at Penn State, where SCOWE kicked off the extention IlS.

The Edinburgh  '80 Student Consultation on Frontier Missions. This meeting is particularly timely and strategic because it focuses on mobilizing students around the world to reach Hidden People.

Robert Wilder, your dream is very much alive.


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