Northampton CU’s Mission report

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This last week saw Joe and Oli go to Northampton to serve alongside CU members and speak at their events week at the university. Here’s the final report from the mission week.

Joe writes:

‘Our prayer heading into the week, alongside the lost being reached for Christ, was for this to be a springboard for future mission weeks and for it to inspire enthusiasm for campus mission amongst Christian students in Northampton. This was the first fully-fledged week of events the CU has put on for some time so we were preparing ourselves for all scenarios. What we found when we got there was a small group of bold Christian students brimming with passion to see their friends and others come to know Jesus. This was an immense answer to prayer. They are the best placed to reach their friends. The Lord answered our prayers, and we can thank Him for 2 things in particular.

1) Students from different backgrounds are seriously drawn to Jesus


Be it through Text-a-toastie-style events, lunchtime talks or conversations in corridors, it was clear the CU were making a bit of a splash on campus, and that students from all over were being drawn to consider Him, many for the first time! I reckon around 25 different students heard the gospel, through proclamation events alone, throughout the week. One local student worker declared a Wednesday lunchtime event the best he’d ever seen.

Some lunchtime events in previous years had had no guests, so to see 10 at one lunchtime event was something we can really be thankful to God for! Of 25 students, around two thirds ended up attending more than one event, with 3 students particularly stirred by what they heard and returning for the entire week. One of these seemed to pray along with a prayer to trust Jesus after a talk on the topic of suffering. I suspect he’s still on a journey to knowing Him as Lord and saviour. Please pray for him to give His whole self to Jesus! Another was a student I talked to, who had come off the back of a flyer. She said: “this is a beautiful story and I want to discover Jesus”, having never heard of the gospel before. She took away John’s gospel, along with a couple of books looking at big answers to the Christian faith. Please pray for her, that she would come to know the Lord, and for her Christian friend, who continues to meet with her.

God was evidently moving!

 

Other highlights include a two hour conversation with a couple of students, talking reincarnation, karma and money. We would ask questions, they’d share and we’d dip into scripture together as we explored two different worldviews. One Student, who came on the last night, admitted he came ‘to see something new… I want there to be something’.

Others were more impromptu, such as a chat in an art studio. After chatting about her art collection, we discussed questions about her paintings on death, morality and being made in God’s image. It felt so natural and reminded me of why I love telling the gospel and why I came to be part of MOET in the first place. It was a pleasure to hear her insights and reminded me that my faith in Jesus is really good news for artists. It seemed as if she moved closer to considering Him, and even said at one point, tongue-in-cheek, ‘it wouldn’t surprise me if I had some religious experience and became a Christian over the next 48 hours now”.  She later messaged a friend to say how much she loved chatting, I’m so excited to see how their conversations continue to develop in the studio. Please pray for this student and her friend as they discuss further!

Please pray for one CU member, who  brought half her class to half the events- there was a really positive response. She’ll be inundated with further opportunities! She already plans to carry on ‘God chat’ with another CU friend. This will be a discussion group aimed to carry on witnessing to this bunch of engaged seekers!

2) Don’t underestimate the creative witness of smaller CUs- they bring fresh ideas!

 

There’s a lot we can learn from smaller CUs such as Northampton about how we can reach out more effectively. Oli and I were impressed by some of the innovative, and ambitious, ideas they aimed for. Firstly the theme and titles for the week. I was struck by the fresh appeal a theme such as ‘Illuminate’ had with many of the students I met. It was positive, memorable, mysterious and totally got what the CU were wanting to communicate to people who had never heard the gospel before, without isolating them- ultimately that of ‘shining light on life’s big questions’, and helping them to discover the answers that could be found in Christ. It also allowed the CU to build publicity and events around the theme accordingly.

 

The second was the fresh format of doing events in the evening. The Thursday evening, focussed around the question ‘who am I: life without filters?’, also served as the ‘Illuminate’ main event. The CU had the idea of setting up interactive stations at the event, to get people thinking about the theme before they’d even sat down to hear the talk. There was a huge ‘Mirror of Erised’ from Harry Potter. The idea behind this was to discuss our identity being what we are most devoted to. Students were asked ‘what would show up in your mirror?’. We also had scrabble letters that could be arranged with answers to the sentence ‘who am I?’ and a photo booth. The advantages of these stations with their glittering disco balls and other light-based paraphernalia, was not just to make it thematically coherent and a lot of fun, but to get students thinking about the question of the evening meeting from the moment they walked in. Rather than just being a nice add-on, it served to enhance the evening’s atmosphere. Guests loved it and it helped my talk. I’d love to be encouraging other CUs around the country to adopt this format where possible and appropriate!

Thank you for your prayers, I would appreciate your continued prayer too!’

 

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1 comment

Christine

so encouraging. Thank you for sharing some of their ideas. Definitely some should be added to a tab of ‘best ideas’ for CU missions.

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