It’s houseparty season! This term lots of CUs have been getting away for the weekend to spend time together as a mission team.
CUs draw together students from a mixture of courses, churches and friendship groups. Members are united by a shared heart for the good news of Jesus and a shared vision to give every student on their campus a chance to respond to that gospel.
But since term time can be so packed with “doing” – running events, meetings and planning – not to mention writing essays, attending lectures and doing labs – a weekend away (or “houseparty”) can provide a much needed space to really get to know each other and to strengthen the community they’ll be inviting people into.
The Universities of Central Lancashire and Cumbria CUs’ joint weekend away had talks that focussed on being part of and living out the community of love that God has created through the gospel. Staff Worker Jamie Haxby noted how this was played out even on the weekend away itself, with students helping with washing up and taking the opportunity to get to know members of the other CUs. Weekends away give a chance to celebrate and learn from diversity, and to unite CU members around love for Jesus and for their university.
This time together has a real impact on a CU’s mission on campus. Many students at the South East Big Weekend Away commented that a real highlight of the weekend was the opportunity to get to know people better. As a result, freshers have been much more engaged with the CU: Staff Worker Niv Lobo says, ‘Since the weekend away I’ve been really heartened to see freshers at Southampton really throwing themselves into outreach events.’
Stephen Fraser, Staff Worker with Hertfordshire CU, was struck by the number of freshers who attended the weekend away and began to understand the CU’s vision for mission for the first time. Among them was one girl who asked, ‘How do you know if you’re a Christian, because I think I am now!’ Stephen says, ‘After sitting down with the speaker and talking the decision through, she professed faith for the very first time!’
CU weekends away can provide a strategic opportunity for CUs to take a bit more time training and equipping their members. Emily Muwowo, Bournemouth Staff Worker, said of the Big South East Weekend Away: ‘Students went to a range of seminars and learnt practical things about living distinctively as a Christian at uni, answering their friends’ difficult questions and cultivating their prayer lives.’ It’s also a chance for specific training. Bradford CU came back from their weekend away feeling particularly equipped to share the gospel with their Muslim friends.
This concentrated time together with students, staff and Relay Workers, allows CUs to think about the specific situations, challenges and opportunities for mission. With so many motivated CU members in one place, weekends away are a great opportunity for collaboration, new ideas and planning for the year ahead.
Read more about the impact of these weekends away and what CUs are doing on campus to make Jesus known by signing up to our CU Friends newsletters.
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