CU News: Exam outreach
The exam season provides an opportunity for CUs to live distinctively, care for fellow students and share the hope that they have in Jesus. Here are 5 ways that CUs are living and speaking for Jesus during exams.
1. Looking to Jesus
In a university culture that often idolises academic success, Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union had teaching from former CUSW Niv Lobo, who spoke from Matthew 11 on ‘Seeing Jesus in the Exam term’.
Meanwhile in London, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) CU ran a series thinking about exams and the freedom that the gospel offers. Goldsmiths CU spent time considering how the hope of the gospel helps them with anxiety and stress during the exam season. Bart’s CU focussed on relevant issues such as ‘How to handle failure’ and ‘Work and rest’.
City CU ran a small Bible study series on ‘Working for Jesus’, seeking to remind their members that they can glorify the Lord through their exams and work.
2. Looking out for eachother
The community and fellowship within the CU has also been a great source of comfort for their revising members this term. Kent CU member and first-year student Sara says, ‘The support the CU has given me through the exam season, praying for me and helping me through such a stressful time has been a huge encouragement.’
A Swansea CU member named George (name changed) who is graduating this year said, ‘The summer term has been hard and stressful with exams, but it’s also meant that people have opened up more and been honest about their situations. I’ve had some deep and amazing talks with Christians and non-Christians alike, especially a few coursemates who are anxious about the future. It’s given me the chance to share my faith, explain what I’m doing next and what is guiding me – a fewhave even asked me to pray with them about their futures too!’
3. Caring for eachother
In an effort to bless their campus, during the exam season Brighton CU booked out rooms on campus to create quiet study spaces for revising students. With the library often being full, this was received gratefully by many students (as were the refreshments and goody bags they handed out!).
The Royal Academy of Music CU wanted to love their campus in a sacrificial and Christ-like way. They gave out free lunches to revising students during the exam period with encouraging messages attached, and also offered to pray for them.
4. Creating connections
Exam outreach offers another point in the year for CUs to connect with students on campus, and perhaps re-connect with those they have met throughout the year.
Falmouth CU wanted to create a space for revising students to come and relax, chat to members and ask questions of faith. They set up a yurt on campus and provided free drinks and snacks for passing students!
Meanwhile, Lancaster CU hosted a ‘Care Café’ in the main square on campus. They handed out free hot drinks to revising students and also had a blackboard with questions on, such as ‘Do you think God cares about your exams?’ which they invited students to come and answer.
Newcastle CU provided free teas, coffees and chats from a stand outside the library for three weeks during the summer term. This was a fantastic chance for the CU to serve their campus and connect with passing students during a time where many are often questioning their purpose, security and satisfaction. Several students asked, ‘Why are you doing this?’ which gave way to gospel conversations and enabled them to hand out copies of Uncover Mark and offer to read it with people.
5. Offering hope
Many CUs have hosted events and talks that share a Christian perspective on identity and success.
CICCU hosted talks on ‘Are we more than our latest achievement?’ and ‘How do we find lasting joy and fulfillment?’. One CU member brought a friend who said that she had been putting her identity in her academic success and then finding it short-lived and unfulfilling, and was struck by what the CU had to say.
Leeds CU ran a lunchbar (a lunchtime talk with a free lunch) on ‘I think therefore I exam: am I more than my achievements?’ This was attended by lots of seeking students. One final year CU member brought along flat mates that he’s been witnessing to for three years, and who have finally begun showing an interest – they stayed and chatted about Jesus for two hours after the event ended! The CU also made contact with a student who’d never heard of the CU before but had come along and then agreed to go to church with a CU member.
Could you partner with students as they reach out to their campus? Sign up to daily prayer points by email, post or PrayerMate.