Mission weeks that work
Missions are great! It's my privilege to spend much of my life speaking at many of them all over Europe.
Even badly organised missions have often been used by God to make an eternal difference. But a well organised mission can exceed our expectations.
Missions make an impact on campus, they unite the CU, and they give non-Christians consecutive opportunities to hear the gospel, raise their objections and come to faith.
What are you expecting?
I have found that expectations can range from nothing to revival! But what would be realistic to expect that a mission could achieve? In Acts 17 after Paul has preached in Athens (a similar cultural situation to our western universities) we read that there was a threefold reaction. We should expect the same.
Some mocked and ridiculed him. As we proclaim Christ some may respond negatively. It should grieve us but it shouldn't cause us to give up. If we want to avoid any negative reactions at all then we will be aspiring to be more successful that Jesus himself - even the Son of God faced rejection!
But others wanted to find out more - and we need to give people the opportunity to do just that - that's where Uncover comes in.
However, we shouldn't just expect people to be intrigued. We should also expect, as in Athens, that some will believe. In every university mission I was involved in last year across the UK we saw at least some people coming to faith. Let’s expect it, then let’s pray for it in faith and plan the type of week where it could happen!
A good mission needs two things - good planning and good preparation.
It may feel un-student like to be too organised but it will certainly help. Things take longer than we expect! Make a schedule of what needs to be done by when and then stick to it. Use the 'Definitive Mission Planning Resource' (available from your Staff Worker) to help you know what needs to be done. Delegate responsibilities so that the whole CU gets involved but make sure that they do get done! Give yourself time for unforeseen problems to get sorted out.
There are lots of ways you can do this well:
Don't announce the mission, launch it! Launch the mission with a bang. Ideally do this on your autumn house party for a spring mission. Use videos, prayer cards and lots of energy to get people excited.
Train people to do first contact, to invite their friends and to follow them up as well.
Inspire with stories of what has been done before and elsewhere. Raise the expectations of what God can do.
Pray, pray, pray. In my experience of over 40 University missions there is a direct link between prayerfulness and fruitfulness. God answers prayer! They shouldn't all your CU make the early morning prayer meeting. Don't settle for the 'faithful few'. And when people pray, not only does God work - they will too!
Michael Ots is an Itinerant Evangelist and Associate Christian Union Staff Worker