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Jennie Allen and the longterm impact of college ministry

May 29, 2017

Originally published on

College Ministers: What you are doing matters.

Meeting with hundreds of disinterested freshmen to find a handful that want to know Jesus and make Him known.

Turning over a multitude of rocks to find one or two gems.

Teaching students how and why to read God’s Word.

Discipling students who will make disciples.

We rarely get to see the fruit of what we so laboriously sow.

Students graduate, get married, get jobs and move off. And we go back to meeting with hundreds of disinterested freshmen to find a handful.


This weekend my wife, along with hundreds of thousands of other women, watched the 2017 IF:Gathering Livestream. In just the last couple of years, these IF:Gatherings have reached more than a million women in 50 countries.

It all started when Jennie Allen was a college student at the University of Arkansas and her life was radically changed by a Cru staff member, Michelle Bost.

Throughout her opening talk at IF:Gathering 2017, Jennie Allen talks about what an impact Michelle had on her when she was in college, and how she altered the course of her life.

Here’s a summary of Jennie’s opening dedicated to Michelle:

IF:Gathering would not have happened without a woman named Michelle Bost who took a nobody college student to coffee. 
We would go over to Michelle’s house and I remember sitting on our living room floor and I’d listen to her talk about Jesus and the surrender she had. And I would want that relationship—I would want to love Jesus like she loved Jesus.
As a result of that time, a lot of things changed for me.
And I needed someone to tell me it was OK to follow Christ. When I was being driven through the drive-through liquor store being offered alcohol. I needed someone to say you can make a difference with your life. You need to be in the Word of God.
I still have my Bible from college and it is marked up from top to bottom. I was in my Bible because of Michelle Bost.
And all the sudden, when my friends were hung over the morning after, I no longer judged them or thought I need to be with them. I befriended them and there was no longer this angst in me.
Everything in my life shifted because of Michelle Bost.
I love Jesus because of her.
I have a fear that we’re about to have a generation that never had a Michelle Bost.
People were saved in front of our eyes at the University of Arkansas.
Peoples lives changed and I wanted to give my life to this mission. I wanted in.
I wanted to be a part of the kingdom of God because Michelle Bost asked me to coffee.
And that is why IF:Gathering exists because I still believe all the things she taught me.
I believe you can open your Bible and mark it up and it change your soul.
I believe that women with other women on living room floors can change the world.
And what happens if this generation doesn’t have that?

Continue listening to IF:Gathering 2017 below:

So keep meeting with freshmen. Keep discipling men and women. Because what you are doing matters.

You may not see the fruit for 20 years. But God is using you to raise up laborers who will change the world.