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Jack Payne - Relay Worker

Relay Blog: A look back on mission weeks

For Christian Unions in universities up and down the country, February is mission week month. If you’re not familiar with this phenomenon, imagine a group of busy students pulling together a week-long series of events for their fellow students to explore the heart of the Christian faith – asking big questions about life and sharing personal stories, while enjoying food and live music. As you might be thinking, this makes for a delightful cocktail of stress, excitement, frustration and joy!

While CUs are active in seeking to reach out to their universities for Christ all year round, mission weeks are a concerted, focused effort to put on events of a larger scale which can reach far wider across the university than is usually possible. In this way, they represent a fantastic opportunity to give every student in a university an opportunity to hear and respond to the good news of Jesus – particularly those who perhaps don’t know a Christian themselves.

I was involved in weeks like this each year as a student. As a Relay Worker I have had the privilege again of getting alongside students and proclaiming Jesus during mission weeks – this time without a degree to do at the same time!

I was involved with ‘LIFE: Is there meaning in the mess?’ with Cambridge CU (4–7 February), and ‘Identity’ with Essex CU (1721 February), where I spent most of my time flyering, doing ‘first contact’ evangelism and chatting about Jesus with non-Christian students who came along to events.

Here is one big thing I found myself reflecting on over the course of those two weeks:

We are united as one body in Christ; mission is a collective endeavour that the Church does together!

As part of a team of helpers, I found it all too easy to play the comparison game. I would look around at how much the others were doing, how fruitful their conversations seemed to be, and I would end up either discouraged or proud. But this is a really dangerous attitude, betraying how easily I slipped into trying to prove myself to God, or other people, rather than living by God’s grace. The reality, in Christ, is that I am one with my brothers and sisters on that team, so that their joys and frustrations are mine, and mine theirs. If the students I sat with left quickly or weren’t interested in talking more, I could look around the room and spot four or five of my brothers and sisters having what appeared to be really deep conversations. In that moment I could partner with them by praying for their conversation to be fruitful.

When it comes to God’s mission, I am not a lone ranger, but part of a body of believers striving together. As Paul says: ‘Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel’ (Philippians 1:27). I sometimes think that when someone comes to faith in Christ, it should be unclear which Christian has played the biggest part in their journey. If we truly witnessed together as one body in Christ, this would be the case, and it would ensure above all that it is God who receives the glory, not us!

This blog was written by Relay Worker for Cambridge and Bedford CUs; Jack Payne. Jack studied chemistry at Cambridge University and loves making music with other people, playing frisbee and swimming in the sea.

For more Relay news, check out this blog from Relay Worker Tom Banks.

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