Transition: Mission Weeks

PlymCUMission weeks or events week are where the CU puts on a week of events that give everyone on campus the opportunity to hear about Jesus. It is an intense week. You spend most of the year planning for it, making sure you have speakers, venues, themes, talk titles and fliers.

I think I have been involved in about 12 mission weeks since being a student. This includes going as a student, staff worker and going along as a guest to a mission week in another Uni. It is a hard week and you end up really tired but it is totally worth it. Here are some reasons why I love it:

  • Seeing students really step out in faith and invite their friends along to hear about Jesus
  • Hearing great talks from mission speakers
  • Meeting to pray every morning and seeing prayers answered
  • Seeing students accept Jesus for the first time
  • Reaching people who may of never have come across a Christian or CU or church before
  • The energy from the students
  • The way the students work together in unity to achieve a week of events
  • Watching things go wrong but then discover that the Lord has used it for good
  • Fliering in the rain… (ok that isn’t one of my favourites…)

I think University provides a great platform for events week and it has been wonderful to be a part of these weeks. I remember it was during a mission week that I led a student to Christ – it was amazing and such an exciting time. I learnt so much through that.

It is strange to think that I won’t really be a part of that process any more, but it is probably a good thing as I don’t think that kind of pattern of ministry is sustainable for the whole life of the church. The model works well at University where terms are short, it’s a quick fire paced life and people are living in very close quarters.

But church is a much slower pace, inviting people in from all walks of life and backgrounds, different situations and questions. The whole CU model of mission couldn’t be mapped on to church life, some of it would, but not all of it and I am looking forward to a different pace of life, with different people, rhythms and questions.

I have learnt so much through mission weeks and I have seen the goodness of the Lord where he has sustained me and provided when we have been in need. If you ever get a chance to be a guest in one, then do – it will open your eyes to some exciting student mission that the CU’s are doing across the UK and the world!

Transition: Coffee, Study and Books

biblereadingWhat does a staff worker do all day?

Drink Coffee.
Study the bible with students (Christian and those seeking)
And read copious amounts of books…

There is more to it then that, but in a tight nutshell, you could boil the years as a staff worker down to those things and throw in the travel that goes between them.

It has been a privilege to have the time and space to do those things. To spend hours preparing a bible study that will help my students gaze upon Jesus. Looking intently at scripture, opening commentaries and praying for insight as we prep notes and ideas to help students engage with the text. I love the fact that my job is to read the bible…

Now drinking coffee is important. It has to be good coffee. It’s the only way to get through the day, especially the afternoon. Coffee shops became my office and my students knew it! If I asked to meet up with them, they knew it was going to be in a certain coffee shop in town… Welcome to my office. It got to the point where I would walk into the coffee shop and they would know my order before I even asked! Coffee is indeed, a pleasing aroma…

I don’t know how many books I have read over the years, but I have a whole bookcase of books that have been generously given to me and most of them I haven’t read yet! But its been wonderful to have the space to sit and read and get into good theological books, making my brain hurt and fuelling good conversations with friends. Some of my favourite books over the years have been:

  • The Good God – Mike Reeves
  • Serving without Sinking – John Hindley
  • A New Name – Emma Scrivener
  • Popologetics – Ted Turnau
  • Desiring the Kingdom – James K A Smith

Wonderful books that have challenged me, shaped me and it was part of my job to read them! Although none of these things need to stop next year, I just wanted to share my appreciation of having this opportunity and also all the free books. Thanks IVP!

 

Transition: Students

coffeemundaneThe best part of my job has been working with students. I think University is certainly a unique time in someones life where they are encapsulated in a bubble. A bubble that is made up of a diverse community where you live, eat and sleep in close proximity to each other.

Life on the other side of this bubble has taught me that you can never replicate your time at Uni, the 4 hours of lectures, the midnight feasts with friends in the same hall, the tesco trips in your PJs. This is where the CU has an outstanding opportunity to really live for Jesus, it is impossible to hide the lamp under the lamp stand because someone will find you out and you will need to explain yourself.

Over my time as a student worker I have come across some extraordinary students. 18-21 year olds who really love Jesus and really want to introduce Him to their friends even though they are so overwhelmingly scared and unsure how to do that, but yet still they want to give it a go. It is crazy to think how much responsibility they have been given – to lead a mission team on campus, to organise events, to turn up to those events and invite people. Sometimes it is messy and they make mistakes, but mostly its a wonderful thing to see.

My highlights are the individuals that I have met up with over the last 6 years, the ones where I have sat with every week opening scripture, praying together, chatting through problems and seeing them wonderfully grow in their love for Jesus.

I have seen a shy student coming to their first small group meeting unsure why they were there and if they were cut out for it, to then going on to being president of the CU a year later.

I have seen a president grasp the idea of what CU is and decided they didn’t want it to be a social club and started a Food for Thought event and invited their friends to hear about Jesus.

The next president decided she wanted a carol service which has never been done by the CU before. I have also seen her grasp who Jesus really is and enjoy reading the bible even more.

I have enjoyed seeing this journey. A journey of faith and growth. A journey of weakness and seeking help.

That’s what I love about student work most of all – investing time with students on a 121 bases. Chatting about Jesus over coffee. Opening the bible. Planning and dreaming together. Watching them grow. Getting to know them and having a laugh.

Wonderful.

Highlights from the London Mission

Here are some of my highlights from the London mission:

1. Being in London and enjoying how big things are, how diverse people are and how much culture there is!

2. Working with SOAS students

3. Chatting with loads of international students during the day – we had some really great conversations.

4. Sharing the Gospel with students

5. A girl becoming a Christian at the evening events

6. Meeting a fellow blogger and someone who reads my blog! (It was nice to meet you!)

7. Surprise visit from Sarah

8. Listening to Krish speak about Jesus and films

9. Being with the London Team

10. Hearing the Gospel reading in Spanish.

Collection of Webs (8)

Here is an amazing story of a student of mine. Its his blog and you have to start at the beginning and its worth it. To be honest I have never seen a young man with so much faith and love for Christ after what he has been through. When I speak to him I am encouraged and also humbled by his faith in Jesus.

I am amazed that this guy is still standing…

Vicky Beeching asks a really good question. I quite like her blog – it makes me think and she isn’t afraid to ask questions.

I enjoyed this video from Mark Driscoll about chip (crisps) it made me laugh:

 

A collection of Webs (4)

Well Halloween is coming very soon and no doubt everybody has their piece to say, especially Christians… yet one of my colleagues, Peter Dray has written three posts on Why God loves Halloween. Yup a different spin on things! Worth a read.

Over at Redeemed Mind Apologetics, Dan asks what our worldview is. I enjoyed tracing through the different options and outcomes! Which worldview are you? Have you ever tried this on the public to find out what they believe, it proves to be quite interesting and you can have some great conversations through it!

If you are a student and have exams. These top 10 tips for study may help you!

Was the name of Jesus declared by Moses?

Here is some really cool coffee art.

Lastly, check out Rob Ryan. An artist that makes incredible books and stories. Here is an interview with him… And here is a video of him working. And here is one of his pictures: