What are you planning for freshers' week?
As the end of summer looms, for those involved in student ministry the reality of a new term is coming into view. Some might be feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of getting back on the treadmill — still burnt out from the last year and a half. Others may be excited at the idea of the new beginnings that September brings.
And of course this mirrors what many new students will be feeling. Some will be nervous and anxious about beginning their journey at university after a year of being home, others will be raring to go and be sociable with new people.
In an article by TopUniversities, Stephanie L. wrote:
‘While many consider attending university a way to leverage promising career prospects, university is also a unique opportunity where you can look at yourself and think about how you can benefit and grow personally from the experience.’
University is a chance for young people to discover who they want to be and how they want to be identified. So what better opportunity to show someone that their identity can be rooted in Christ, not what sports team they join, how often they go out clubbing or even what degree they do. Churches and Christian Unions together have a unique opportunity to present Jesus to those going to university for the first time.
Pete Dray, head of Creative Evangelism at UCCF, wrote in a blog post from 2019:
‘15% of British students said they do not consider themselves to have any true friends at university; amongst international students, the figure is 20%. This rate roughly halves (to 8%) amongst those who are an active part of a club or society at university.’
Despite all we hear about university, it can be a really lonely place if you don’t find somewhere to fit in. The beauty of the gospel is that you don’t need to be a certain type of person or have a certain talent or hobby. Jesus loves us as we are and his message is far greater than the many other messages being preached down the corridors of each campus.
What can you do?
Run Life Explored or Christianity Explored for a group of new students at church.
Have a selection of resources on your table at freshers' fair for people to take. Head to The Good Book Company to see what Christianity Explored Ministries resources you could use. One useful one would be The Real Jesus by Rico Tice and Barry Cooper.
Run a freshers’ week at church hosting social events for new students to come to, as the stat stated above many students feel lonely and some homesick so a safe space to come and relax would be very appealing to many. A follow up from this week could be a course.
Use the ‘What is Christianity?’ video at one of your events.
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