In 1919, Norman Grubb had a vision for every university and college in Britain to have an evangelical and witnessing Christian Union. Since those very first years, CU ministry has always been about students reaching students, and to this day the CUs continue to share the gospel boldly in universities and colleges throughout Great Britain.
Each year, students continue to present an unparalleled openness to the gospel, and we are so thankful to the Lord for everything He has made possible in the last 12 months.
Thanks to your vital support, together we are reaching students for Christ.
Through the seven networks, we continue to help students consider how the gospel enriches their studies and in turn how their studies enrich their evangelism. The aim of the Networks is to help students ‘think, live and speak for Jesus’ in their studies and, after they graduate, in their workplace contexts.
Each Network runs relevant groups and training for their subject area. This year, the Arts Network has spent time discussing artists and concepts and also enjoyed peer reviews of their work. Theology students have enjoyed encouraging one another in Network Hubs, small discussion groups across the country. In the Politics Network, five MPs took time out of heavy schedules to speak with Politics students. You can read more about the ‘Politics Network Questions’ in the latest edition of Impact.
The Network team have had lots of opportunities to speak about the gospel, memorably together at the Birmingham CU mission week in the spring, alongside training and equipping Network students to speak faithfully about gospel hope.
The Relay Programme continues to train and disciple recent graduates while giving them missionary opportunities within the CUs they are serving. The aim of the programme is to further equip and catalyse students for mission and produce lifelong disciples of Christ.
Thanks to the Lord’s kindness, we have seen many come to faith this year. At the final Relay conference in June, many were able to share stories of students coming to faith. We praise God for His saving grace.
It would be easy to think that the success of the programme lies within the confines of an academic year with us. But a successful year on Relay, by God’s grace, is also seen as individuals are enabled to flourish as those who live and speak for Jesus wherever they find themselves in the months, years and decades ahead. To this end, the Lord has been kind.
Ben Harding (Relay Coordinator) shares:
‘I get to serve alongside women and men who were Relay Workers and are now faithfully and joyfully serving more widely with UCCF. I go to church with individuals who have done Relay and continue to lead home groups and serve the wider church family. I bump into Relay Workers in a whole variety of contexts and hear of the ways in which the Lord is using them for His glory wherever He has placed them. It is a constant reminder and encouragement that the Lord is faithfully at work through His people.’
Impact Groups are small groups of students who seek to be touched by God’s Word and have a positive impact on the university in Jesus’ name.
With one in four students being ‘chronically lonely’, and many seeking students not asking questions about the truth of Christianity as much as the real-life ‘workability’ of faith, Impact Groups have enormous evangelistic potential. As seekers feel they belong to a loving community, open the Bible and see students like themselves applying Scripture to their lives, many are encountering Jesus for the first time.
These groups also provide a space for Christian students to support one another and take some of their first steps in sharing Jesus with the people whom God has placed in their lives. This year, groups have spent time in the ‘I AMs’ of John’s Gospel, the Psalms and a series unpacking how Jesus provides unique resources to help us face life’s difficulties. God has been at work though Impact Group.
In the autumn term, groups will be doing a series called ‘The Stories We Tell’. Through examining stories from around the world, students will be helped to see that all the stories we tell point us to the great Author of the universe. As we look at Luke’s Gospel, we pray that students will encounter Jesus – the Author who has written Himself into His own story to rescue and redeem His people. Find out more about CU Impact Groups and access the Bible study resources: uccf.org.uk/impact.
Year by year, we train and equip each new generation of student leaders through conferences that run throughout the year. Through spending time in Scripture, prayer and song at these conferences, we endeavour to see students richly discipled as wholehearted followers of Christ. Through a range of seminars and workshops, we equip students for leadership of their CUs.
Training takes place regionally in March, just after students agree to take on their roles, readying them for the year to come. Further training comes over the summer, when we gather around 1,000 young disciples at Forum, our national training conference for CU leaders. We also bring students together alongside Christians of all ages and stages at Word Alive, a conference for the whole Church in Britain.
At Word Alive this year, one student shared his experience of receiving training through his Regional Forum and Forum National. He explained how he had been readied for his role with deep and formative input, and how he felt this input solidified his faith and prepared him for the opportunities and challenges of a life lived faithfully for Christ. It is encouraging to think that this student was not just envisioned and enriched in his year of CU leadership but given grace and strength to grow deeper in his faith in ways that will endure for life beyond university.
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