I believe that halls of residence provide Christians with one of the best opportunities for making Jesus known in the UK today. The description of Paul’s ministry amongst the Thessalonians – of sharing life and sharing gospel – is more possible in these communities than in many others. That’s part of the reason I’m excited about leading a track on making the most of CU small groups next week.
One of the things we’ll do in the track is to give CU small group leaders something to aim at. The idea isn’t that a legalistic standard is set, but that a picture is painted of what CU small groups can achieve. The points have been adapted from our friends at Crowded House Church in Sheffield – what I particularly love is how clearly these aims flow out of the nature of the gospel itself. And the aim is that each small group leader can genuinely affirm all ten statements across the course of any given term. Events would then be a helpful focus and catalyst for evangelism, but not it’s subtotal. I’m certain that many more students would encounter Jesus and that local churches would be built if this was the case.
Here are the ten statements:
- There are non-Christians who would consider us their friends
- We have come to know the personal stories of these friends
- Through listening, we have come to know what their personal idols and functional saviours are
- We have shown these friends how to celebrate well
- We know how the bless these friends in a way that demonstrates the gospel
- We have been and are actively blessing these friends as a demonstration of the gospel
- We eat together with these friends regularly
- Part of our social and recreational rhythm regularly includes these friends
- These friends know the gospel of Jesus
- We have shared something of the gospel of Jesus with them at least once this term
Some of these aims flow out of the nature of the gospel. When it comes to celebration, for instance, it strikes me that Christians have more to mourn than those around them, but also more to receive with thanks. Celebration is one of the ways in which Christians see all good things as coming from the hands of a generous God. Eating together provides a context for real relationships. Blessing demonstrates a commitment to the good of those that God has placed us amongst. These activities surely ‘adorn’ the proclaimed gospel in setting of the hall of residence.