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Mission Update: Denise, IV’s 2030 Calling, GFM-BSAP, and How You Can Help!

Like Intervarsity Christian Fellowship in Trinidad and Tobago (IS-IVCFTT), InterVarsity-USA (IV) as a university ministry, exists to advance witnessing communities of students and faculty of every ethnicity and culture, transformed by Jesus and working to see campuses renewed and world changers developed.

You Just Never Know!!

Greetings and thank you again for both our church’s willingness to partner in this unique privilege and opportunity God has given to me and to Black Scholars** and Professionals (BSAP), and for each of your prayers, calls and messages! The vision is to see Black faculty, graduate students and professionals transformed by Christ and developed into influencers and world changers in both their fields of scholarship, research and professional practice and in the local, national and global church and community. And every prayer that you offer for Andre and for me helps accomplish that vision.

As I look back over my entire life, you just never know how God works in and through every unique experience for His purpose! Born into an IV family and around IS-IVCF camps, conferences and students from birth, my various roles and experiences through the professional, academic, public, private and para-church sectors come together. From Engineering and Business at The UWI and in the US, to ISCF, IVCF, Caribbean Fellowship of Evangelical Students (CARIFES), International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES), Lausanne. God allows and uses it all!

A Young Thompson (Centre)with her Family

Thompson Delivering A Message at Urbana, 2009

First Industrial Engineering program at UWI, IVCF at UWI, SAEBC during undergrad, first female engineer at TTEC, first Black female in Industrial Engineering in grad school, helping develop the first IV grad group at Stanford, counselor in ISCF summer camps, university professor at HBCUs, working on NSF projects, meeting Andre, department chair/dean, president, entrepreneur, twice terminated, IS-IVCFTT Board—I am amazed and humbled at the ways God has prepared me for my current role. Working with students and faculty, entrepreneurs and government officials, churches and church leaders nationally and internationally, I had no idea that God would call me to invest in similar leaders and agencies through IV and BSAP.

What a Kairos moment to leverage the 65-year history of IS-IVCFTT with the 80-year history of InterVarsity USA within a 150-year history of IFES tradition of serving students and faculty on campus! From IVCF-USA’s 40+ years of Black Campus Ministry, BSAP’s focused initiative is to serve Black faculty and graduate students on every major university, college and HBCU campus, recognizing the distinctive pressures they face in the Academy. How important to have communities that offer spiritual and communal support, recognize and celebrate their shared identities, and offer experiences to achieve God’s flourishing and Shalom. What an urgent moment to invest in this next generation of Black scholars, professionals, executives, thought leaders and influencers, as our national and global society cries out for the reconciliation and justice necessary for human flourishing. You never know!

Thompson (Centre) with brother, Phillip Thompson and Penny Caballo-Smith (former SAEBC member) at IFES World Assembly
Thompson (Center) with her husband, Andre Cooper (right)) and Alan Smith (Penny's husband) at IFES World Assembly

For such a time as this and the decades to come, I welcome your partnership as we equip this generation of Black Scholars and Professionals to be salt and light in the academy and in the professions, a redemptive presence reflecting the Shalom of God.

IV’s 2030 Calling: A bold, audacious, “living” mission to partner with churches, volunteers and other campus ministries to catalyze movements in Every corner of Every Campus of 2500 universities to follow Jesus (community college, state university, small liberal arts college, graduate school, research university etc.) into every aspect of a campus: its people, ideas and structures.

GFM: IV’s Graduate and Faculty Ministry division (GFM) encourages and equips graduate students and faculty to be a redeeming influence among the people, ideas and structures of the academy and professions through four ministry commitments of spiritual formation, community, evangelism & service, and integration of faith, learning and practice.

BSAP: IV/GFM’s newest focused ministry unit, Black Scholars and Professionals (BSAP) encourages and equips Black graduate students and Black faculty in the Four Loves: Love God and His Word; Love my academic discipline; Love my campus, students and colleagues; and Love my community, church and the world. BSAP embraces a holistic mission of ethnic integrity, academic/professional integration and collaboration within a Biblical understanding of justice as fundamental to the Gospel.

Why is IV/GFM-BSAP important: It is critical for the academy, the US and global church and the world that IV demonstrates its core organizational value of ethnic reconciliation and justice in encouraging and equipping Black faculty and graduate students to be redeeming influences for the people, ideas and structures of the academy, the professions, the church and the world in this national/global moment. **

BSAP 2023 goals: Under the 2030 Calling, BSAP will develop and implement a strategy to:

- Reach, encourage and equip 200 new Black faculty & grad students to follow Jesus together

- Find 40 new Prayer-partnering churches

- Plant 20 new witnessing communities of Black faculty and/or Black graduate students

- Identify and support 20 rising BCM seniors annually as next generation BSAP leaders

- Recruit 10 new, fully funded BSAP campus ministers

As National Director, GFM-BSAP: With your prayer-partnership for God’s direction, wisdom and blessing, I am privileged to help provide vision and strategic leadership in developing and implementing the national vision, purpose, and structure for this new BSAP ministry in IV.

So, Denise’s TWO bold, brazen Praise/Prayer Requests:

THANK YOU for SAEBC’s partnership and that SAEBC became my very first prayer-partnering church with and for IV and for me in this new national role leading the BSAP ministry! Prayer is key and God moves when His people pray! Will you PRAY for our work with Black scholars and faculty through the existing graduate fellowships on 132 campuses—and expansion to our almost 100 HBCUs? Will you also pray for the larger work of IV-GFM and BSAP through the 770 undergraduate campus fellowships as we long and pray for revival and God’s Kingdom to come in 2500 University and College campuses across the country? You never know.

  1. PRAYER partnership of 40 churches: In addition to your prayers above, I ask for prayerful introductions please to your US church and individual contacts we can invite to become one of my goal of 40 PRAYER-partnering churches for me in this new national ministry role within IV’s 2030 Call for revival in Every corner of Every Campus. You never know!

  2. Your financial investment partnership to GIVE to IS-IVCFTT: BSAP has a bold, audacious ministry program budget goal of $400k by May 2021. ISIVCFTT had a similar Project 2021 goal in January 2021. Will you pray and believe in the Lord’s ability and willingness to meet both needs as YOU consider giving (i) a one-time faith investment into IS-IVCFTT in my name for ISIVCFTT’s immediate need; (ii) introducing me to potential ministry partner contacts here in the US with whom I can share the vision and (iii) becoming an on-going prayer and financial PARTNER with IS-IVCFTT and with IV/GFM-BSAP. You never know!

THANK YOU, THANK YOU for your generosity and love and partnership!

** Scholars serve a critical role in the public discourse_ conduct cutting-edge research and collect and disseminate crucial data that informs and shapes society and the church. As a lever for social change and increased prosperity, their work drives civic empowerment and justice, promotes peace and supports human flourishing in improving lives of individuals and communities in the US and the world.

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