REAL 2018: The mission of university life
How can we make use of university to be messengers of God’s amazing good news to people who don’t yet know him?
Ever since Jesus first commanded his disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19), his followers have gone to all kinds of lengths to bring the gospel to the world, and eventually down the chain of many disciples, to us. Jesus promises us the greatest and the only true hope. We are transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit in us, and we long for our friends, for the whole world, to experience this amazing, saving grace of God through Jesus, who died on the cross for our sins so that we can be a part of his family, completely loved and reconciled to God.
University is a particularly rich opportunity for evangelistic work. Thousands of young people arrive from various places, ready to craft new identities, open to all sorts of different ideas, keen to explore and discuss, literally spending their time seeking knowledge and thinking. This is a place where, as Christian students, we should be making the most of it to openly discuss faith with people, to meet lots of people and introduce them to Jesus. It is okay if they say ‘no, thanks’; the harvest belongs to God alone (John 4:34-37). But Jesus tells us that the fields are “ripe for harvest” (John 4:35)!
How can we then, be making the most of this tremendous opportunity? There are lots of ways, of course. But I’d like to suggest one particularly unique opportunity coming up which may give you some ideas.
What is REAL?
It is an invitation to the students of Cambridge - friends, acquaintances, strangers - to explore the real questions of life, faith, and meaning together with us. There will be
(i) lunch talks every day (yes, free lunch),
(ii) a cafe space for chatting about questions over coffee,
(iii) international dinners in which we hear stories from internationals who have discovered Jesus (yes, free dinner), and
(iv) evening events in which we explore how Jesus impacts real lives through interviews and talks.
The talks will be delivered by two extremely gifted speakers, who have had lots of experience doing evangelistic missions in universities!
Take a closer look at the titles in the image above. What kinds of questions or objections might your friends have about the Christian faith? Why not bring them along on Monday to check it out? The lunches will be a quick drop-in between lectures, while the evening events are more relaxed and have a greater focus on real-life stories. Also, I know everyone loves international dinners! Each evening will feature the story of a different international guest, including Cambridge and ARU students, an alumnus, and a doctor from Israel.
Here are some flyers you will probably see around...
...and suddenly lots of people will be wearing burgundy jumpers with the same logo (but not the faces)!
My hope is that you would find these events useful as a way to continue, extend, or begin important conversations with friends, and that we would see many people put their trust in Jesus and begin a joyful, life-giving relationship with him!
(If perhaps you’re not so sure about this whole evangelism deal, here’s a starting point: Find older Christians and talk through the difficulties and barriers you experience with sharing the gospel. Pray boldly: pray for your friends, and pray for God to be working through you, because he will!)
A final note: the website for REAL will be launched on Monday the 29th, at which point you’ll be able to see lots more information about the programme! However if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email me (cyzt2).
“In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world - just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace [...] For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:6, 13)