Saturday, 5 May 2012

Planning fun but serious thinking done

A quick post featuring some of the things Sunderland and Teesside got up to on our planning day at the end of April.

Gathering pictures and phrases from newspapers and magazines to build a profile of the type of students they are seeking to reach with the good news of Jesus on their campus. Also at the same time getting a feel for the university culture as a whole. You need to know who you are reaching in order to most effective relate to them.

One of the profiles, along with a map of the university campus with coloured dots indicating where students spend their time studying, hanging out in both the day and the night and also where most students live. The aim of this was to get them to think about where they run events, what time of day they run them as well as practical ways they can really care for those on their campus.

Honesty and humility was required for this section. The CU health-check. Not to make them feel proud or despairing, but in light of the gospel analyse where they feel their CU is doing well and other areas where work is needed. They also spent time praying, thanking God for His work in and through them and for the Spirit to help them change in the areas where they are weakest.

Here we have the stadium model which helps CUs to see where the balance of their outreach has been. It has 5 sections: 1.Hospitality tents where the aim is to introduce people to Christians to show that we are normal human beings and not weird! 2. Back of the Stands. This type of event is aimed at answering questions people may have which are really far back, may question like "Could thee even be a God?" or "Isn't Christianity totally irrelavant?" 3. Front of the Stands. These are events answering deeper questions which the gospel speaks into: "How could a loving God allow suffering?" "Is Jesus the only way to be saved?" 4. On the Track. At this point people believe the gospel is true, but need to be challenged to respond to Jesus and hear what is means to follow Him. 5. In the Race. Opportunities for people to begin studying the Bible, meeting with other Christians and getting support as they take the first steps in their walk with Jesus.
We don't emphasise events as the only ting to do, we wholeheartedly believe that evangelism is a way of life and that we must live distinctive and integrated lives building real friendships and loving people. But we do also know that events help people along the way and are key for reaching those without any Christian contact.

This is just a bit of fun. Post the planning and dinner together, a couple of the students were testing their logical skills using my daughter's toys! The concentration was etched all over their faces and provide much entertainment for the rest of us as we observed.

Suffice to say it was a very enjoyable and productive day. I pray the Lord will use is for the furthering of His Kingdom and that the Spirit would bring many to know Jesus through the CUs next year.

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