Population: 50.2 million (2013)
Official language: Korean
Major religions: Buddhist, Christian
IFES movement: InterVarsity Fellowship (IVF)
In recent years, evangelical Christianity, one of main religions in South Korea, is being criticised for its individualistic spirituality, self-centeredness, and lack of ethical and social responsibility. Student ministry is faced with a strong animosity towards Christianity.
- 161 out of 341 tertiary institutions have IVF chapters
- 151 full-time staff and many volunteers
- no high school ministry, but youth camps in several regions
- graduate ministry: informal college gatherings and regional graduate meetings
- largest group: 167 students, Daegu University
- smallest group: 1 student, Yeungnam College of Science & Technology in Daegu city
Although the number of students involved has been going down gradually, IVF is becoming a more student-initiated movement, and there is a strong commitment to Scripture engagement, developing a biblical worldview and the pursuit of holistic gospel.
The movement faces several challenges. The first is a strong materialism and growing indifference to the gospel. The second is a growing pressure employment after graduation which drives students into anxiety about their futures. Mobilizing students for Christian fellowship is even more difficult than before.
View from the inside
National campus ministry director Jong Seo Park states: ‘I believe that students are the future of the church and the country. College is a very crucial time and a place for them to commit their whole lives to Jesus. My greatest joy in being an IVF staff worker is to see continuously that students are being transformed by the gospel.
‘2 Timothy 2:15 makes me realise how important it is to handle the Word of God correctly in our current age, and helps me commit myself as a true disciple of Christ and worker for God.’
- for students in Korea that they can overcome anxiety and discover their calling as authentic disciples of Jesus;
- for strength and encouragement for Christian students who are a small minority on campus.