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Tom Cruickshank

Relay Blog: April 2018

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve loved the balance of the Relay programme. Each Relay Worker is involved in a real breadth of different activities, one of which is a study scheme.

Again and again, some Relay Workers start their time voicing concern or frustration that it’s something they’ll have to do, and again and again (the very same) Relay Workers find the study scheme to be one of the genuine highlights of their year. I’ve certainly found this to be true.

The sad truth is that 'theology' can conjure up visions of old, white guys with beards clutching at hair-splitting scrolls.

But the reality couldn’t be more different.

Understanding more rigorously who God is, who we are, what our world is, and what God has done is life-changing and results in an explosion of maturity and joy in our Creator. Augustine pointed out that the Christian should be 'an alleluia from head to foot'. Sacrificing time to study God channels straight into this.

The programme itself takes a couple of forms. First, we work thematically through a range of scripturally informed categories using a range of different learning styles. This month, for example, we’ve been working through the major theme of 'God in Christ', subdivided into 'atonement', 'true humanity' and 'union with Christ'. It’s been remarkably refreshing for my walk with Jesus; my daily devotional time, evangelistic witness and striving for godliness have been notably fuelled by this study. Although hugely worthwhile for everyone, those looking to go into full-time paid ministry can rest assured that this systematic theology beautifully complements the biblical theology more commonly taught in church internships.

Second, all Relay workers have the opportunity (of a lifetime?) to create and execute a project throughout the year. I’ve written an extended essay on 'Does God only speak through the Bible?' allowing me to clarify and put into writing reflections and meditations from the last few years. Having now sent it round to everybody who wanted to read it, I pray that it’ll challenge and stimulate those thinking about this area.

This month, all Relay workers, UCCF staff workers and newly appointed Christian Union committee members met together in their regions. Alas, although the Lord was at work, so too was the Beast from the East! For the regions that were still able to meet despite the weather, [others have since organised alternative gatherings and training days] it provided a precious opportunity for students at different universities to meet one another, and share ideas, hopes and joy in the Lord. It also served a timely reminder that God is going about his business of winning for himself a people all across the universities in the UK. Alleluia!

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