Freshers and Faith

Autumn brings with it a whole series of new starts, children starting school or moving classes, ministers beginning new appointments and it is also the time of year when students head back to, or head off to for the first time, the brave new world of university.

University life in the UK is a tough environment in which to be a Christian. It’s a time when new-found freedoms become very attractive and the temptations of drink, drugs and sex, all of which seem freely available, can lead many astray. University is also a time of great growth for young Christians and has the potential to be a pivotal time in the forming of mature and deep Christian faith.

There are a number of things we can do to help those that have headed off to university for the first time.

~nnPray for them. Surely nothing is more important or powerful than to commend these young people to God. We pray that God would continue to have His hand upon them as they head to new challenges and opportunities; we pray that He would bring people into their path who would encourage them in the faith and walk with them as they seek to be closer to Jesus. So please pray for young Christians heading off to university for the first time; pray for those that you know and those you don’t. God is doing incredible things in and among students in the UK, but His work is fanned by the prayers of the saints.n~~nResource them. I would like to commend two resources in particular that are really helpful for new students. Firstly, Michael Volland’s short series of Bible notes (published by Bible Reading Fellowship) entitled Going to College gives practical encouragement drawn from God’s Word. It’s a short little series of readings and thoughts but well worth giving to any new Christian fresher. Secondly, the UCCF Student Cookbook/Student Handbook is a collection of simple recipes for new students as well as helpful advice and pointers for surviving the first few weeks at Uni and hooking into Christian fellowship. These books are free and MET have a large collection of these. If you want some to give to new students your church is sending off to Uni, please contact Gareth Higgs through the details below.n~~nHook them up. With the young person’s permission, you may want to ask your minister (and chase them up) to write to the Christian Union at the Uni who will usually happily make contact with new Christians, providing a friendly face to be around and available and also giving a link right away with the formal grouping of Christians at University. Also, the University chaplaincy is another good route to go down to enable pastoral contact to be made early on.nn~

I hope this advice is helpful. University is such an exiting time of new discoveries, and we hope and pray that a deeper discovery of Jesus is part of the excitement for these young people heading off to Uni for the first time this autumn.

If you want to contact Gareth Higgs about receiving a UCCF Cookbook/Handbook or to chat about any other issues regarding ministry to students then you can reach him on 01282 694439 or at revgarethhiggs@googlemail.com.

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