As Freshers’ Week approaches I’ve been putting together a series of posts looking at how University Christian Unions’ can be most effective during the first few weeks of term. You can check out Part 1 here, but now it’s time for Part 2:
2. Create a CU culture that loves the local church
As well as wanting Christian freshers to catch the vision of Christian Union (see Part 1!), it’s crucial that they also see the importance of belonging, serving, and being pastored as part of a local church. But if there isn’t much of a culture of being part of a local church amongst returning students, then it’s unlikely that freshers will be any different.
In the New Testament church isn’t an event you attend, neither is it a building you frequent. The biblical model is a gathering of people to whom you belong, and who are together and through the means of each other being transformed into the likeness of Christ. In my first year at Uni this just wasn’t on my radar, and I think my Christian growth stuttered as a result. I’d thrown myself into my college CU, but I didn’t have belonging to a church high on my list of priorities. As a result I was a consumer, a passenger, who simply turned up to a church on a Sunday night to get stuff out of a meeting. I had no commitment to the people around me, no real sense of accountability to the leadership, no sense of being pastored by them, and in no way was I serving that church. I attended pretty much because it was the done thing for Christians to do but to use Joshua Harris’ phrase, I was dating the church. In the summer holiday after first-year, I realised that come September it had to change.
What kind of culture do you have in your CU when it comes to church? Are you helping other students to have a biblical vision of church, and showing them how being part of a church is different to being part of a CU? Why not have a slot on ‘getting stuck into church’ in your first few meetings. As 2nd & 3rd years are you modelling using your extra time and energy to serve sacrificially at your church, or are you simply modelling a consumer ‘date-the-church’ mentality?