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Relay Blog: Rejoice

'So… what’s next?'

It’s a question that has the power to strike terror into the hearts of Relay workers and soon-to-be graduates alike.

While perhaps not quite as dramatic as I’m making out, I think most of us feel some trepidation at the prospect of change anyway, which seems to get amplified at the thought of what awaits beyond the familiarity of university life.

For me, it’s hard to be leaving Exeter after 4 years, the longest I’ve been in any one place – first as student, now as a Relay worker. Looking back, there’s so much to be thankful for. Having come to understand what it means to follow Jesus in my first year, it’s wonderful to see how I’ve been stretched and challenged in that throughout.

One of the many joys of being with other Relay workers this year has been being growing alongside one another, as part of a diverse group that’s passionate about living for Jesus. This is an exciting time of year: to see how friends with a range of different personalities, interests and skills have developed over the Relay programme, and how it has helped them prepare for a variety of next steps.

Personally, I went into Relay knowing that I wanted to explore the possibility of supporting CUs abroad. I’ve been doing the ‘Homestart’ module on the Relay Programme, spending time language learning and doing cultural and theological study, in order to serve the discipleship and outreach of students in another country next year.

But as I’ve learnt this year, though it’s great to be organised, there’s only so much practical preparation anyone can do! The part that has proved most valuable is probably the part I expected to be driest – the theological study.

Looking in-depth at what the Bible has to say about a real breadth of topics has been immensely refreshing and had a major impact on my own walk with Jesus. And that’s because it’s helped me to come back to what it’s most important to do for every Christian, regardless of job, stage of life, location, or ability:

‘Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.’ (Philippians 4:4)

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

But it can feel far from it.

I don’t know about you but rejoicing in the Lord is not normally my first inclination! I find it much easier to come up with a to-do list of as much as is humanly possible!

But Paul’s words are a fantastic reminder of the greatest commandment, and of the necessary privilege that Christians have through Jesus: the freedom of knowing that it is only because of what Christ has done that we can call God ‘Father’. No amount of our effort can change that, for better or for worse.

And whatever else changes, it’s God alone that remains the same. No matter what your next steps look like, join in rejoicing in who God is!

Tom Banks has spent a year as a Relay Worker in the beautiful city of Exeter. He'll be moving abroad to continue working with students. He enjoys playing music, painting, the outdoors, sea swimming and food. Lots of food.

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