Vision

Real people. Real connections. Digital spaces.

InterVarsity's Ministry in Digital Spaces (MDS) is developing leaders to reach their peers through relational ministry in digital spaces. ​Take a mission trip every day in places you already live. Go where students and faculty spend time, build relationships, and find community. Do relational ministry in videogames instead of dorm lounges. Engage in hashtags instead of campus quads. Follow Jesus into every corner of campus, into every digital space.

Challenge

InterVarsity's campus ministry is not yet reaching every corner of every campus.

Even though InterVarsity/USA has more students, faculty, chapters, and conversions than ever before, the vast majority of college students and faculty (over 90%) are not part of a Jesus-centered spiritual community on their campus. They just aren't showing up to the meetings and programs already offered on campus by InterVarsity and other Christian organizations.

On the other hand, there is an unprecedented access to nearly all college students, since 20 million are online, connected to the world through the Web, mobile devices, and wearable technologies. Over 90% are on social media, over 85% own smartphones, and over 80% play videogames and mobile games.


Mission

Our mission is to join students and faculty where they already are—in digital spaces.

Through Ministry in Digital Spaces, we go to them to join existing communities and enter current conversations. We extend InterVarsity's existing posture of ministry into digital spaces to impact the students and faculty who are never going to come to us. We pursue this calling by discerning and actively participating in what God is already doing in digital spaces. In this way, previously unreached students and faculty will be transformed by encountering Jesus. They will get connected to InterVarsity chapters in physical spaces, and previously inaccessible corners of campuses will be renewed.

InterVarsity is all about planting and growing new ministries; MDS is about intentionally scattering seeds of the gospel in digital spaces. Jesus said the Kingdom of God is like a tiny mustard seed that grows into a giant plant that envelopes your garden and your neighbor’s yard (Mark 4:30-32). Jesus seemed to endorse a strategy of wildly scattering seeds everywhere, and then waiting to see how different types of soil received those seeds (Mark 4:3-8). 

MDS will embrace this example, like a digital dandelion growing in a wasteland. It starts small and innocuous, but sends seeds everywhere to fill bare patches, like God’s promise to Israel that wastelands will become pastures in Jeremiah 33:10-13.

Core values

There are five values that shape Ministry in Digital Spaces, in addition to the overarching core values that drive all InterVarsity ministries.

Relocation

Ministry in Digital Spaces is incarnational ministry online. In his book, Living in the Neighborhood, T. Aaron Smith defined incarnational ministry as meaningful presence and engagement for transformation.

MDS will let go of attractional ministry forms, marketing, and broadcasting. Meet students and faculty where they already are: digital spaces. Join existing conversations and communities for meaningful presence and engagement for transformation. The entry into incarnational ministry online comes through affinity, questions, and art.


Reconciliation

Ministry in Digital Spaces will pursue wholeness around race and gender.​ Take a winsome, transrational approach to racial reconciliation that appeals to a wide range of motivations through art and interaction. Work hard to be a team of women and men working together with particular energy directed toward signal-boosting (amplifying the voices of) talented women in tech. Pursue racial and gender reconciliation from a number of angles, including in the job market for developers, in access for contributors, in user experience and engagement, and in addressing the culture of various digital spaces.


Reflection

Ministry in Digital Spaces will constantly be curious and striving to learn. Go through iterative design cycles of building, testing, and reflecting. Capture the lessons learned to apply generously and share broadly.


Recreation

Ministry in Digital Spaces will be hard work, but we will delight in this labor through a playful spirit and letting go of outcomes. Address differing motivations for different personalities. Celebrate.


Risk

Ministry in Digital Spaces will go in vulnerability and offer authenticity that is disarmingly real, a breath of fresh air in digital spaces. Strive to think outside the box of traditional ministry models. Take risks in ministry both wildly and playfully. Embrace being slightly awkward but joyful. Stay quick, agile, and adaptable in our ministry forms. Invite students to experience the adrenaline rush of freedom.

Jobs

Hiring Process

External Candidates

  1. Complete the National Application: National Application.doc
  2. Complete the Addendum: MDS Application Addendum.docx
  3. Send both completed documents to Ministry in Digital Spaces.
  4. Ask references to complete the following three reference forms. Have them submit their completed forms here.
    1. InterVarsity Staff Member: Reference Form-InterVarsity Staff.docx (or if you have no InterVarsity background, another ministry professional who knows you well)
    2. Person under your leadership: Reference Form-Person Under Applicants Leadership.docx
    3. Pastor: Reference Form - Pastoral Affirmation.docx

Internal Candidates (current InterVarsity staff)

  1. Complete the Internal Application: Internal Application.doc
  2. Complete the Addendum:  MDS Application Addendum.docx
  3. Send both completed documents to Ministry in Digital Spaces.
  4. Ask references to complete the following three reference forms. Have them submit their completed forms here.
    1. InterVarsity Staff Member:  Reference Form-InterVarsity Staff.docx
    2. Person under your leadership:  Reference Form-Person Under Applicants Leadership.docx
    3. Pastor:  Reference Form - Pastoral Affirmation.docx

Details

  • Location for all MDS positions: National, non-NSC
  • Status: Associate Director is Full-Time/Exempt; DSSM is either Full-Time Exempt or Part-Time/Exempt; DSV is Part-Time/Volunteer
  • Team for all MDS positions: Ministry in Digital Spaces
  • VP Area for all MDS positions: Collegiate Ministries
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA is both an equal opportunity employer and a faith-based religious organization. We conduct hiring without regard to race, color, ancestry, national origin, citizenship, age, sex, marital status, parental status, membership in any labor organization, political ideology, or disability of an otherwise qualified individual. The status of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA as an equal opportunity employer does not prevent the organization from hiring staff based on their religious beliefs so that all staff share the same religious commitment.
Pursuant to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 702 (42 U.S.C. 2000e 1(a)) InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA has the right to, and does, hire only candidates who agree with InterVarsity’s Statement of Agreement: Purpose and Doctrinal Basis.

Ministry in Digital Spaces Associate Director

View the complete Position Description: MDS Associate Director - position description.pdf

Work with the Ministry in Digital Spaces Director to develop and oversee the overall vision for Ministry in Digital Spaces.

Major responsibilities:

  • Lead ministry in one or more agreed upon clusters of digital spaces (e.g. videogames, social media).
  • Recruit and supervise a team of staff and volunteers.
  • Develop a team of ministry partners to support the ministry financially and in prayer.

Digital Spaces Staff Member (DSSM)

View the complete Position Description: MDS DSSM - position description.pdf

Engage in direct Ministry in Digital Spaces with undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty not currently reached by campus-based chapters, focusing first on students and faculty who are not yet following Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Major responsibilities:

  • Lead InterVarsity’s mission into new digital spaces.
  • Invest in students and faculty through all thresholds of conversion and into development as leaders.
  • Connect relationships in digital spaces back to InterVarsity chapters on campus by offering on-ramps to continually deepening engagement.
  • Partner with a network of local, area, regional, and national InterVarsity staff.
  • Develop a team of ministry partners to support the ministry financially and in prayer.

Digital Spaces Volunteer (DSV)

View the complete Position Description: MDS DSV - position description.pdf

Support Ministry in Digital Spaces.

Major responsibilities:

  • Mobilize students and faculty to engage their existing relational networks in digital spaces with the gospel.
  • Meet new students and faculty in the digital spaces where they already are. 

  • Build relationships, ask questions, and make invitations to follow Jesus. 

  • Develop tools and platforms to further Ministry in Digital Spaces. 

  • Complete office work and communication. 


Connect

@indigitalspaces  -    -    -    -  

Pilot Projects: Looking for Partners to Join Us

Calling students and alumni: We are looking for faithful, loving, geeks.

Faithful: You’re committed to following Jesus, but you are not necessarily in a defined leadership role. You may have never thought of ministry in digital spaces as a real thing before, but if you stopped to think about it, you could readily point out ministry opportunities in games and social media. Even if you’ve never leaned into those ministry opportunities before, now that you’ve recognized them, you’re pretty curious to try. You’re willing to take risks for the gospel.

Loving: You are always connecting with people who know you, even if people in close physical proximity to you might think you’re isolated. You speak fondly of your online friends in offline contexts. You keep in touch, even across great physical distances, with the important people in your life. You find yourself in community wherever you go, offline or online.

Geek: You naturally deep dive into a subculture. Maybe gaming, maybe tech, maybe pop. The point is, you go, and you love the friends you make there. You always want to learn something new; you learn on the go. New possibilities are exciting to you. You love what you love.

Observable behaviors: You constantly play with a phone, tablet, or laptop. You tell everyone about latest trends. You studied abroad without losing any traction with your friends. You moved away for college or work but are closer than ever to your parents. People who know you might describe you as a gamer, geek, hacker, social media guru, artist, writer, technophile, early adopter, systems thinker. You use any of the following words in normal conversation: Twitch, Steam, Battle.net, League, guild, eSports, Minecraft, Madden, MOBA, MMORPG, Tweet, Snap, Vine, Meerkat, Periscope, MOOC, GitHub, Slack, hashtag.

Availability: You may or may not have much free time or flexibility in your schedule. That’s ok. But if you already spend a good deal of time in digital spaces, we only ask that you’d be willing to spend some of that time time more intentionally, to work hard to look for ministry opportunities and to lean into new relationships.

Invitation: If any of this resonates with you, we’d love to connect to talk and explore more. Please don't hesitate to drop us a line.


Pilot Projects: Themes

Creative development of MDS will continue in 2016 through four pilot projects. A typical round for each pilot is four months. The projects are iterative and constantly morphing, but generally will fall within the following themes. 


Incarnate

This first pilot project area focuses on the realities of entering affinity spaces online. In 2015, a team of MDS Coaches worked with college undergraduates and recent alumni to scout out the online landscape and identify ministry opportunities in videogames, discussion forums, modding communities, and hashtags. In early 2016, Coaches will support "the Seventy" (students and alumni sent as those in Luke 10) who are intentionally entering these digital spaces for meaningful presence and engagement for transformation. Coaches will guide the Seventy through discipleship cycles of hearing a call, putting faith in action, and reflecting on the experience.


Provoke

The second pilot project area focuses on seeing meaningful presence and engagement for transformation by artfully asking questions online. In 2015, a team began developing a social media plan in partnership with InterVarsity chapters hosting evangelistic proxe stations on campus. One of the main takeaways was to focus on connections and conversations in social media, not just information sharing or marketing. In Spring 2016 a team will begin to work on a podcast series around race, reconciliation, and the Internet.


Deepen

The third pilot project area focuses on becoming more adept at moving online conversations in a spiritual direction. This project will begin with several existing InterVarsity ministry models, including the Five Thresholds of postmodern conversion and the Developmental Pathway for leadership growth. Later in 2016 a team will begin testing ideas for adapting these models for use in digital spaces.


Gather

The fourth pilot project area focuses on how to host the emerging networks of people connected through Ministry in Digital Spaces, again taking the incarnational approach of gathering people in digital spaces (and also physical spaces) where they are already present. In December 2015 MDS will pitch a mobile app challenge at Urbana 15 Hack4Missions. In March 2016 MDS will bring together developers and students at the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Later in 2016, a team will begin working on plans for an Awesome Gathering of Genius, a conference with TED-quality speakers offering a mix of information and invitation around Ministry in Digital Spaces.