Gaaarrh, (the sound of me coming up for air)…
O-Week is over! The uni year is under way. FOCUS is under sail. The start of the year has been described like trying to get a shuttle into orbit. It takes a tremendous amount of energy – but once it gets there things are easier.
FOCUS is the Fellowship Of Christian University Students, It’s the Christian student group that meets on the University of Canberra. It’s also the group of Christians that I serve as a full-time leader and teacher. That’s just some background in case you’ve never read this blog.
The FOCUS activities at O-Week went well. We ran a stall in the central concourse area of UC from Monday – Thursday. Wednesday was the Uni market day when lots of clubs, societies, and increasingly, businesses, come onto campus to flog their wares. Over all it was a good week of outreach, although the numbers of new contacts that we made was down on past years.
The student committee members worked extremely hard and it can be particularly discouraging for them when their don’t seem to be much fruit. However, it was a great opportunity to encourage each other with the truth of the gospel, the power of the gospel, and the knowledge that God brings his will about without fail.
A highlight of last week was a breakfast that we ran for the UC Residences. At first we thought it would be a total flop because we weren’t allowed to advertise it in the Ressies buildings. But we made a couple of giant signs saying “free breaky” and once the smell of bacon and eggs started wafting over the campus, we got a good crowd. People loaded up their plates and then sat around eating. It was a relaxed time and our objective was not to push anything but to let people know that FOCUS exists and to make some contacts with Christians. It worked really well. We had lots of great conversations. We met the Head of the UC Residences who has just started working here – it turns out that he’s a Christian and was very positive toward what we were doing. We also met one of the Senior Residents who hung around and talked with right until we packed everything away. I think that the food and relaxed atmosphere helped to make FOCUS much more approachable for people which will have big benefits later in the year. I’m keen to keep doing these kinds of things. One of the Bible study groups at our Church is thinking about sponsoring us and helping with the cooking. All very encouraging.
Friday night was a social night for FOCUS, we had a BBQ and then ran a late night tour of Canberra. Again, we were down on numbers but people had fun and got to know each other better.
Overall, we worked hard and did a good job of letting people know about FOCUS and what we do; but I had a few points at which I wondered if this might be a hard year in the student ministry.
We had a good time in our Student Committee meeting looking at 2 Corinthians 4:1-6. I was reminded that the truth of the gospel is not simply what we proclaim but also shapes the method by which we go about proclaiming it. We don’t lose heart but state the truth openly. We are confident that the God who spoke the universe into existence is powerful to do his work of new creation in our hearts and in the hearts of all he has called.
“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God,* we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants* for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
(2Cor 4:1-6 ESV)