As someone once sang – albeit about Christmas not events weeks! – 'it's the most wonderful time of the year'. CU events weeks offer thousands of students across Great Britain the opportunity to respond to the life-changing news of Christ. We need to take this unique chance to invite friends to a high-profile evangelistic event and commit to praying for these weeks!
So, how can you make the most of your CU’s events week?
Here are Rachel (Relay Worker in London)’s four tips for making the most of events weeks, from her experience.
I remember my first events week. The size of the tent, the far-too-early prayer meetings, the frenzied energy that had infected every member of the CU. One memory particularly stands out: the CU vice president stopped us in our tracks, demanding whether we’d all had something to eat. It was halfway through the day, so of course nearly everyone nodded. What idiot hadn’t eaten breakfast or lunch? Me. Sheepishly, under the vice president’s gaze, I shook my head, and a brioche was shoved into my hand to keep me going.
Events weeks are incredible opportunities to taste mission on a scale you might not have experienced before, and to make Jesus’ name known on your campus. But I’m also a human being, with a physical body, and that’s how God made me (and you). We get tired and need rest.
You see, in my fresher over-keenness, I’d made a classic events week mistake; I’d overdone it. So here’s my first tip as events weeks approach us: pace yourself. Alongside getting stuck in, make sure that you schedule ample time for rest, time for your degree and time for relationships. The week won’t be a failure if you miss one lunchbar. And how can you be a witness to coursemates if you’re skipping lectures to make sandwiches?
Our God, the One who does not grow weary, knows He is working through jars of clay. He created us finite, with limited capacity. So learn to lean on Him, to serve out of dependence on His power. Remember that He created us to live and do mission in community – not alone. So do sign up for those stewarding slots or to put chairs out for a lunchbar. But don’t sign up for absolutely everything!
My second events week tip also stems from personal experience: be radically friendly. I remember being amazed by the CU members who’d excuse themselves from a group of friends to search out the stranger who was sat alone. These Christians weren’t always the most charismatic or chatty by nature, but when they saw someone who might be nervous, they cared for them. I cannot emphasise how much of an impact a simple gesture like this can make. It sets a great example for others and puts the newcomer at ease. More than that, it shows them that they’re loved and welcome at CU, and that can sometimes matter to non-Christians more than the talk they listen to. And if the thought of talking to a stranger makes you terrified, that’s completely understandable. Just remember that as you step out, the God of the universe is with you.
My third tip is this: invest in people. After events week, it can be easy to leave friends or guests to their own devices. Remember that they may have just had their worldviews challenged or have been left with more questions than they came with. They will need your support and encouragement. If you’ve met someone new, keep in contact with them. Offer to have a coffee or play football together. See how they’re doing. See what they think of Jesus. If you’re nervous about doing this alone, why not set up some follow-up as a CU, where those interested in Christianity can continue to ask questions after events week? It doesn’t have to be fancy; chatting over tea and cake is perfect.
And finally, all these tips aside, the best advice I can give is to remember that you are a beloved child of God. Your events week could feel like a roaring success or a catastrophic failure, but you remain utterly loved. Isn’t that good news worth sharing?
Balancing committing yourself to CU mission and serving sacrificially with pacing yourself isn't easy! Anyone in Christian ministry can say it takes years to work it out, and no one manages it perfectly. But these resources may help you start to think this through, or your CU Staff Worker will be happy to chat more.
Finding that healthy balance: learning to prioritise and look after yourself at university.
Serving without Sinking by John Hindley
The Joy of Service by Julian Hardyman
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