Relay Blog: Team Life
In university cities across the country, students are living and speaking for Jesus in their halls of residence, lecture halls, libraries, student unions and sports teams. UCCF Relay and Staff Workers support them as they think about how best to live and speak for Jesus as a missional community. Mission is best done together, so Relays and Staff are placed in regional teams, where they get training and support and encourage one another as they encourage the students they work alongside. In this month’s Relay Blog, Relay Worker Tom Hoppe reflects on his time with the South East Team.
One of the greatest joys of my year as a Relay worker has been working alongside the South East Staff and Relay team. Between us we work with universities from Bournemouth to Canterbury and everything in between. We’re made up of seven Relay Workers, six Staff Workers and one Team Leader, although that number has been changing recently with the arrival of some new recruits (babies!). The team has been involved in a lot together over this past year; we’ve hosted training events and a weekend away for students throughout our region, taken part in numerous CU mission events and events weeks and much more!
Serving together at events weeks has provided some of my favourite times with the team. This year we got involved with the CU’s outreach at the University of Surrey. It was a great week of seeing God move on Surrey campus and hearing some members of the team give talks that shared how Jesus is good news for Surrey students. Throughout the week it was great to see the team growing closer and learning to serve each other well. We also got to enjoy some down time together throughout the week – one highlight being the guest who wasn’t part of the CU taking some time to demonstrate and teach us some of his magic! Not what I’d expected from an events week but anything can happen.
Another highlight of team life has been the monthly(ish) team days where we come together to learn from one another, pray for the students we work with, plan for whatever is coming up and enjoy one another’s company! Let’s talk about team days.
Throughout the year we have been meeting roughly once a month as a regional team. We always meet in Southampton, often hosted by a church in Eastleigh who let us use their space. We meet together over two days, with various forms of teaching over both days and something fun in the evening between. The format usually follows a fairly predictable pattern: arrive, coffee, catch up, coffee, first block of teaching, coffee, lunch, coffee… you get the idea! Nothing beats a tray of Costco wraps for a classic Team Day lunch, with a special option for our resident vegan!
This year we have had the privilege of receiving fantastic teaching on a range of different subjects, from feminism to Ezekiel and leadership to worldviews. We have also spent the year going through ‘You are what you love’ by James KA Smith, a great book which explores how we are shaped by culture.
On our most recent team day in May we were joined by Tom Price to learn about belief mapping. Belief mapping is a wonderful tool for starting meaningful conversation with everyone and anyone. Through a short questionnaire, the tool will tell anyone their fundamental belief system, whether that be Christian theism, nihilistic atheism or anything in between. After spending the morning learning about worldviews and belief mapping from Tom, we were set loose in Portswood (the local student area of Southampton) to try the tool out. We found people very receptive to completing the questionnaire and then even more interested once we talked them through their results. Two guys in particular that we spoke to both found their results to be accurate and revealing, sparking great conversations about how they came to hold their beliefs.
Alongside great teaching and serving together, team days also feature compulsory ‘fun’! We’ve been bad at bowling, better at bouncing and marvelled at Black Panther. These activities have been great opportunities to get to know the team better and (for some of us) enjoying a bit of ‘healthy competition’. My personal highlight was definitely our most recent team day excursion to FlipOut, a trampoline park nearby. Some of the team took more naturally to bouncing than others, and while some may have sworn never to return, we all had a great time!
Overall, team days have been fantastic opportunities to be equipped and envisioned for sharing the gospel in our respective situations, and they’ve been brilliant fun in the process! Team days are going to be one of the things I miss most about my time on Relay.
'Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as yousee the day drawing near.' - Hebrews 10:23-25
Give thanks for our Relay and Staff teams and for everything they have done to support CUs this year. Why not find out who's in a UCCF team near you, and pray for their work equipping students for mission.