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One of the world's largest college ministries is embracing the Black Lives Matter movement. This weekend at “Urbana”—the huge missions conference put on by the college ministry InterVarsity Fellowship—activist, speaker and the director of Faith for Justice, Michelle Higgins, discussed why the Church needs to embrace the growing and, at times, misunderstood movement. As RNS notes, it’s a major move for a such an influential Christian organization. The ministry currently has more than 41,000 people involved in chapters around world. This year’s conference hosted well-known leaders including David Platt, Francis Chan and Christena Cleveland.

During her session (which you can watch below), she discusses issues of systematic injustice that parts of the Church are often silent on and the need for unity. Higgins explains, “Black Lives Matter is not a mission of hate. It is not a mission to bring about incredible anti-Christian values and reforms to the world. Black Lives Matter is a movement on mission in the truth of God.”

UPDATE: InterVarsity has released an additional statement called "InterVarsity and #BlackLivesMatter" (which you can read in its entirety here) saying,

We chose to address #BlackLivesMatter at Urbana 15, InterVarsity’s Student Missions Conference, because it is a language and experience of many college students. Many Black InterVarsity staff and students report that they are physically and emotionally at risk in their communities and on campus. About one-half of those at Urbana 15 are people of color, including more than 1,200 Black participants. InterVarsity chose to participate in this conversation because we believe that Christians have something distinctive to contribute in order to advance the gospel.

InterVarsity does not endorse everything attributed to #BlackLivesMatter. For instance, we reject any call to attack or dehumanize police. But – using the language of Francis Schaeffer and Chuck Colson – we are co-belligerents with a movement with which we sometimes disagree because we believe it is important to affirm that God created our Black brothers and sisters. They bear his image. They deserve safety, dignity and respect. InterVarsity believes all lives are sacred – born and unborn. Interim president Jim Lundgren says, “Scripture is clear about the sanctity of life. That is why I’m both pro-life and committed to the dignity of my Black brothers and sisters.”

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