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Risa Toyama

Relay Blog: Relying

‘We have such an incredible and amazing message to share. But this message can seem a bit crazy to those we share it with!’

This summer I moved from South Wales where I have been a student for the past three years, to West Yorkshire to be a Relay Worker with the Christian Union at the University of Leeds. I’m spending the year being trained and discipled in mission alongside the CU. In November, we went away together as a CU to be equipped for mission on campus through Bible teaching and to grow together in greater unity as brothers and sisters in Christ.

If you’ve been involved with any sort of gospel-sharing opportunity, you’ve probably have been heard of this encouraging reminder at least once: ‘we have such an incredible and amazing message to share with the lost.’

And, don’t get me wrong, we do! The gospel is incredible and amazing news.

But one thing that our speaker for the weekend, local pastor John T, made us aware of was how the message of Jesus can seem a bit crazy to those we share it with. A virgin birth, a street preacher and someone dead coming back to life?

But the strangeness of this story reminds us that it is through the work of God and God alone that one believes.

‘For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom.’

For those who are yet to believe, the gospel might seem foolish. But to those who do believe, we are simply in awe of the wisdom of God.

As a CU, we were challenged to remember that though through channelling our creativity and efforts we can make evangelistic events as inviting and as engaging as possible, the power to transform and save is in the work of God alone.

This is one of the things that I’ve been reminded of these past three months that I’ve been on the Relay programme.

It feels silly to say that I have to keep reminding myself that ‘I am not God’ but I think it’s a statement that highlights the inward bent of our hearts from the very beginning.

I am not God, and I need to rest. Working more hours than is recommended is not a sign of strength or stamina but it can be a symptom of pride and lack of discipline.

I am not God, and I don’t know the best timing for everything. Thinking that I do is a symptom of pride and covetousness.

When someone becomes a Christian, the Spirit leads them to repent, and believe that Jesus is Lord. In the same way, I have been experiencing this same process as I learn these truths, repent of my sin and trust that Jesus is Lord.

When my friends ask me how Relay is going, I usually describe it as ‘hard but good’.

The training, discipleship, and opportunities that I have as a Relay Worker have helped me to grow more in these past three months than I probably have in the past year.

It is painful to come to a clearer understanding of my limitations as I attempt to do everything in my own power. But through it, I have been able to come to a deeper gratitude and affection for Jesus, and that is why Relay has been so so good.  

Student ministry isn’t easy. But it is humbling, encouraging and so very rewarding.

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