Virtually an events week?
At the end of May, supported by UCCF Relay Workers and Associate Staff Workers, the CUs in Scotland joined together to run an online events week called Hope. Bekah, vice president of Dundee CU, reflects here on what happened.
We first saw lockdown as a disaster. It was ruining plans and bringing chaos to our comfortable CU gatherings – but these thoughts quickly subsided, as we realised the opportunity we had to come together, united in one mind and one body, with one mission.
We began to ask ourselves what if, through technology, the CUs in Scotland could reach not just every student here with the gospel, but also those from around the world? What if we could come together and run an online events week?
Partnership, prayer and practicalities
After many lengthy meetings between all 18 CUs and several group chats being set up, we had different teams up and running. There was a team for everything; prayer, media, international… you name it! We decided that the theme of our week was Hope. We wanted to attract students from across the world in the middle of this pandemic and challenge them to consider whether there is a Higher Power out there; that being Jesus.
The week included three international events and five evening events, covering big topics such as 'Why would God allow Coronavirus?' led by Dr John Lennox (Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University - see video below). Then, after each event we also had a Zoom call where the audience had the opportunity to challenge the speaker, ask more questions or speak one-to-one with someone.
A variety of responses
All of our events had great responses with the numbers growing night after night, and our Q&A’s had especially great turnout with fantastic questions being asked! We created a video to advertise the week, which I had the pleasure of writing a script for and being part of, and this reached 13,000 people. As well as the positive responses to this, we were also encouraged by the few negative ones we received, as it meant that we were challenging people and reaching the right audience.
'These events have been viewed literally thousands of times by people across the world, the reach so far as been much wider than we anticipated and we're so excited to see the fruit!' - Dundee Relay Worker, Jess
As the week now comes to an end, we plan to follow-up (or ‘continue the conversation’ as we labelled it) with those who have shown interest in Christianity by hosting an Uncover Mark session online each week – do please be praying for this.
In God’s strength
The week would have been nothing without prayer and support from churches, other CUs and organisations who promoted all our events on their social media pages.
Isaac, vice-president of Stirling CU, said, ‘My highlight of the week was how reliant we have all been on prayer. As well as hearing about the many churches, individuals and organisations praying for us, we had a 24-hour prayer meeting before the week and prayer meetings every morning and evening during. It was so encouraging to virtually meet people from other universities and hear about what God is doing in the lives of their friends.
I'm sure that anyone involved in Hope would tell you that bringing a week of events together so quickly was far beyond our abilities – God has answered so many prayers so quickly, and that is what has made this possible. The power of prayer has been so clear and that is something I will definitely take with me going into the next year of CU and beyond.’
Overall, the week has been a great success, and I’m looking forward to seeing what God has in store for all those that were involved and tuned in.
To find out more about the exciting opportunities the CUs have during lockdown, why not check out our blog here on the unexpected upsides of online mission.