Four reasons to give thanks for events weeks 2020
Wonderfully, even in the middle of such global turmoil and uncertainty, God is still working to bring students to Him.
We're thankful that all 100 or so CU events weeks were able to take place before the current crisis struck. Thanks to brave CU members inviting friends and handing out flyers on campus, around 50,000 students heard the gospel at a CU events week this year.
That’s a full-size football pitch of people stood shoulder to shoulder. It’s the Sydney opera house being filled ten times over.
And as God’s Word went out into the universities, what happened?
When they heard the gospel, many responded in faith! CU members cried with joy as they saw friends come to know Jesus, and churches rejoiced as new students joined them each Sunday.
‘Jesus is speaking to me’
When Warwick CU member Amy showed her unbelieving friend Esther (name changed) the schedule for their events week, Esther said, ‘Right, I’ll get all my work done this weekend so I can make all of it’ – and she did! She had lots of conversations about Jesus during the week, and a key moment came when she heard about Jesus telling the disciple Thomas to stop doubting and believe. Esther said to Amy, ‘I think Jesus is speaking to me, and I need to stop doubting and believe.’ The next night, after the evening talk, she became a Christian! Amy was in tears with Esther as she welcomed Jesus into her life.
In certain, larger cities, it works better to hold a city-wide events week where CUs run events on their own campuses during the day and then join together as many CUs for high-profile evening events. This year, this bore encouraging fruit.
‘They travelled across the city to hear’
The CUs in Liverpool held a city-wide events week this year. A real highlight was seeing 30 students from different universities, degrees and backgrounds meet together each morning to unite around their shared mission and tell stories of evangelism on their individual campuses. They saw over 160 gather for their final event of the week, and were encouraged to see many chat to friends and CU members for over an hour after the event finished.
Re-kindled interest in the gospel
For many, events weeks helped renew their interest in Christianity. As students encountered Jesus for themselves, they began to ask questions they’d not asked in a long time.
‘I really needed to hear that’
A year ago, two Guildhall CU members faithfully began witnessing to their friend Susie (name changed). At first, Susie found Christianity interesting and asked lots of questions, but after a longer conversation she declared, ‘this isn't for me’ and stopped coming to CU events. This spring, one year on, Susie agreed to come to the CU’s events week because she’d made friends with lots of CU members. During the week, she became more and more open to the gospel and at the final talk on forgiveness she commented, ‘I really needed to hear that’.
Events weeks also have a big impact on the CU members involved in running them. For many first-year students, it’s their first time engaging in such intentional evangelism with their friends – and they love it!
‘I’ve fallen in love with evangelism’
Lewis, the President of the University Campus of Football Business CU, saw 10 of his friends come to events during Manchester CU’s city-wide events week, and said at the end, ‘I've fallen in love with evangelism!’. One of his friends was messaging him just before the week began. When asked what the likelihood was of him coming to an event his friend replied, ‘Sorry mate, it's 0%’. Imagine Lewis' surprise when he saw this friend walk in on Tuesday night, and then come back for a second night, too.
Right now, the 50,000 who heard the gospel last term are, like us all, facing the challenges of a nationwide lockdown. As they perhaps have more space to now consider what they heard, let’s pray that they will accept Christ into their life.
To pray more specifically for certain students that events weeks impacted this year, sign up for our daily prayer points here.
To read more encouraging stories from CU events weeks, why sign up for our monthly CU News email here.