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Joel Slater

Relay Blog: Qualified

‘In light of God’s grace, Relay is not something to “succeed” at, or an arena in which we “prove our worth.” Rather, it is a privilege given to us by a good God who has already qualified us by the blood of Jesus. And that makes doing Relay even more exciting.’

Joel Slater is a Relay Worker in York, where he’ll be spending the year training in mission and discipleship as he serves alongside the CU. He recently graduated from the University of Sheffield with a history degree. Reflecting on his first month on Relay, he says: ‘Never have I felt so simultaneously challenged, encouraged, equipped…and busy!’

In late August, all of the Relay Workers in the UK and Ireland (just over 70 of us) began our year with our Relay Orientation conference. This was a week of practical and spiritual preparation for the year ahead, equipping us with solid gospel truths to carry us through the year. One of the most impactful things I heard that week was a talk from Luke 18:9-14, the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The story tells that any attempts to measure our own righteousness in comparison to others, or by our own works, will only fill us with either pride or despair. I’ve often been tempted by this method of self-qualification, so hearing this was a real challenge. But it didn’t end there. We were encouraged to run instead to the God of grace, who shows His mercy to even the worst of sinners.

Even now as I write that, I smile.

Knowing that I have nothing to give God that He doesn’t have, other than my sin, only makes the width and depths of His grace even greater! In light of God’s grace, this year we spend learning and doing mission and discipleship on Relay is not something to ‘succeed’ at, or an arena in which we ‘prove our worth.’ Rather, it is a privilege given to us by a good God who has already qualified us by the blood of Jesus. And that makes doing Relay even more exciting.

In the week after Orientation came Forum 2018, gathering over 1,000 student leaders from across the UK to prepare for a year of CU mission. There was plenty to do and lots to learn! I got to know the students from York and I found them a warm, welcoming bunch, ready to unite in mission for the sake of the gospel. That was a real encouragement to me.

So, what have I been up to since then?

I’ve been doing some theological study in York, which has been both stretching and fascinating. Now that students have returned to uni, my days have also been sprinkled with CU evangelistic events as well as meeting individuals one-to-one to study the Bible together. 

My hope, as I meet with students this year, is that I can share a measure of the incredible grace that God has shown me.

Apply for Relay today to spend a year rejoicing in God’s grace and helping students to know and share it.

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