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.

Unity in the Christian Union

Something greatly unique about Christian Unions is that what makes up the CU are students from all backgrounds/churches and theologies. This can make it quite fun and also quite challenging. In CU this week, we did a bible study on what Unity looks like in CU and why Unity is important.

Firstly we watched the “Together People” video from UCCF.

The biggest question is why is Unity important? This will probably be more of an issue in CU then in church, because generally churches attract like-minded people and theology, where as CU does not. So it is important to clarify why Unity is important..

Lets have a look at:

Psalm 133v1How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity

John 17v20-23For Christians to be one as he and Father are one (he says it three times so we don’t miss it – he wants us to be one!). WHY? because when we are one we show that the Father has sent the son and he loves us. We show more of the love in the trinity and the love the Father has for us by being united…

So as we are united it will attract people to Christ! Imagine the effect of that.

What does unity look like? Well firstly, what are we united around?…It must be Christ, we must be united around Christ. What does it look like when we are united around Christ? Looking at 1Cor12:12-26 and Ephesians 4:1-6…

No division (1Cor12v25), Caring and loving the weak (1Cor12v22-23), suffer together and rejoice together (1Cor12v26),  humble and gentle (Eph 4v2) Bearing with one another (4v2), Make every effort (Eph 4v3), not be led astray by false teaching (Eph 4v14), Speaking truth in love (Eph 4v15) Grow up into him who is the head, Christ (4v16)

It looks amazing! It looks attractive. When Christ and the Gospel is central then we can be united, caring, loving gentle, making every effort to be united and thus the goal will always be to show Christ because he will be pouring out of us as we gather round him and center round him.

  • How does that affect our mission?
  • How will that affect us when we disagree with each other and don’t like the way something is done?

If Christ is the focus. Then the attention is off ourselves, which means we lay aside some of those secondary issues, we lay aside our negative attitudes and we make ever effort to encourage and work in unity towards the same goal – making Christ known on campus. There is a cost in this, it means what you think wont be as important, it means you will have to lay down some of your ideas and not grumble. But if the focus is Christ, then we die to ourself and we don’t crush the weak brother/sister, but we lift them up and encourage them.

Unity can win people to Christ, by showing some of his beauty and splendour in how he loves us and how he wants his name known.

Note – Thank you to Brian for giving me his notes about this…!!

What is the CU?

Well Freshers week is over and this week I had a chance to do the first CU talk of the year with all the new freshers and I got to speak on “What is CU?” Many freshers will come to the first CU meeting and have ideas about what CU is or in fact a lot of second and third years may have their own ideas too. This was a real opportunity for me to try to set the tone straight away and here is a glimpse of what I said about CU –

What is the CU?

The Christian Union is a fellowship of Christians from all different churches coming together in order to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ on campus all year round. As the CU we are committed to inviting non Christians to hear about Jesus and make a response.

What does that look like?

Firstly we go out from our churches on to campus. CU isn’t a church, CU is an arm of the church – a mission team on campus. If we want to reach people on campus then we need to be a part of the local church and then come onto campus ready for mission.

As we go onto campus we go out into our courses, halls and societies and we join those communities and we share our lives with the people there, we have friends that are from different faiths, cultures and backgrounds. We become a part of campus life.

Don’t just be a part of the CU, for the CU to work you need to be out in the world. Salt and Light. So that we can love them, not as projects but as people made in Gods image and we enjoy eating with them and sharing our lives with them, just as Jesus ate and drank with people.

As we build relationships we can then give opportunities to present the Gospel so that everyone has a chance to hear about Jesus. And that’s through having conversations over meals through small group, Globe dinners, lunchbars and reading Luke’s gospel with our non Christian friends. We don’t want to shove the Gospel down their throat; but we want them to have a chance to hear about Jesus and his amazing love for them. We will do that through our relationships and by inviting them along to events that share the Gospel. So we can see lives changed through what Jesus has done on the cross.

And when people hear the Gospel and respond and become Christians we don’t just leave them in CU. But we invite them into the local church, so that they can come and eat with Jesus and have fellowship with other Christians and the church family.

In summary?

1. Go out and share our lives with people, be a part of societies, pray, be salt and light, hang out with non Christians. Love them well.
2. Give opportunities for our friends to hear the Gospel. Invite friends to various events and meals that CU put on. Keep loving them even if they don’t respond.
3. Invite our friends into the Local church