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Relay Diary: Study Programme

We’re two months in to Relay and it can feel like it’s all been a bit of a whirl of CU activity. I’ve been helping with freshers’ week events, Text-a-Toasties and lunchtime talks. It’s been great to spend time with students, studying the Bible and being involved with small groups.

But it hasn’t all been go-go-go. One thing I was really looking forward to about doing Relay before I started was the Study Programme. This is eight dedicated hours each week for study. It’s fantastic to set aside this time to get some great teaching and have the opportunity to think more about who God is and the relationship we have with Him!

We’ve got a core study module, exploring key aspects of God’s character and Christian doctrine. The study topic changes each month, but so far I’ve loved learning about the Trinity and Scripture: that God loves us so much that He gave us Himself and relates to us dynamically across and throughout His Word and His actions. Amazing! It’s challenged me to find joy in my own Bible reading, remembering that God is speaking words that are “sweeter than honey” to me!

One joy about the Study Programme is how directly it feeds into the work that I’m doing with my CU. Sometimes this comes as a total surprise; my first study response was to produce a Bible study on John 1, responding to questions from different beliefs about the Trinity. I researched different perspectives and found myself, the next week at a Text-a-Toastie, chatting to a student with one of those viewpoints that I had previously known little about! I was so grateful to have at least some understanding of his beliefs and, although I didn’t have all the answers, the study programme has been great in flagging up places to go and areas to look at – from church history to contemporary theologians.

Sometimes the interaction between my study and my students is more deliberate. Half of my designated ‘study’ time goes towards an elective study programme, which, as the name suggests, can be focussed in any area of ministry we choose. I’m looking at storytelling and the gospel, which has overlapped with a whole host of other areas including popular culture and big questions raised by arts and humanities subjects about life and the human experience. I studied English Literature and History at university so I absolutely love the chance to apply what I’ve been learning about God’s communication with us in the gospel to these subjects.

I’m hoping to develop my elective study into something really practical – perhaps some study guides on engaging with popular culture, film discussions or working more specifically with humanities students on joining up their faith and their studies. As you might have guessed in the name, Relay is all about “relay-ing” what we’ve been learning and growing in with the CUs we’re working with – we get so much invested in us so that we can pass it on to someone else! I know other Relay Workers who are looking at world mission, other religions and specific areas of interest for them. The study programme is a huge part of how the Relay Programme is preparing us for ministry both now and in the future.

This blog post was written by Joanna Robertson, who was a Relay Worker in Oxford 2015-16.

Relay is a year of training and discipleship for recent graduates, who work alongside a CU staff worker, supporting Christian Unions in their mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ in the student world. Could Relay be an option for you?

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