Choosing to enjoy uncertainty – student ministry in lockdown

The Wisdom of Uncertainty

This blog is in a series on the future of student work. Mark Ellis Director of Christian Unions Ireland (CUI) has written this guest blog.

Jesus didn’t step into a normal world. He stepped into this world. He was born during days of upheaval. He grew up in days when ‘give us this day our daily bread’ was a heart-felt cry. When people accepted uncertainty. His normal world was not our normal world.

But Jesus stepped into this world because the Father loves this world. The Father desires so many more sons and daughters to love in his Son. And so Jesus stepped into this world on mission to seek and save the lost.

And we have the same mission. Our CU students have the same mission. No one gets to choose the days we’re born in. But we do get to choose how to live them. And we want to live each one with Jesus. We want to be who we are in Christ. And we want to do what he is doing. We want to join him in his mission.

Because still today, our God is a missionary God. He is always on the move towards people. And so, by his Spirit, we want to move closer to students in any way we can.

We want to point them to our good God. We don’t look back with nostalgia to what normal used to be. We live today. And we look forward to living tomorrow on mission with our gracious God.

We don’t look back with nostalgia to what normal used to be. We live today

We don’t know what new semesters will look like after the summer break. Most universities in Ireland have announced their plans, using phrases like bubbles and blended learning and online community and virtual-hybrid teaching. I don’t think even they know what that will look like until it happens. No one is quite sure about Freshers arriving. About international students returning.

But God has been incredibly kind to us in CUI. He has just given us four months of lockdown to prepare and experiment! Some stuff we’ve done, failed. But mostly we’ve found these have been unusually fruitful days. Because our world may have tilted. But the important stuff hasn’t. And we’ve done all we’ve done with the same clear purpose and core ministry of giving every student across Ireland an opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel. And all with the same core strategy of helping students reach students for Christ.

And so as we look forward, we will continue to creatively proclaim Christ to students who don’t yet know him. We will train and equip and stand with student leaders. We will pray together, asking the Spirit to open blind hearts that they would desire Christ. We will continue on mission with a good God, making the most of every opportunity with joy.

We would not have chosen these days, but by God’s grace we will live and speak for him wherever we are able. We will use every means possible. Because he is worthy of all glory and honour and praise. And we want to give every student in Ireland an opportunity to join us in finding Christ to be their greatest treasure.

This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” – Psalm 118.24

Read more here

The future of student work by Nay Dawson

Refuge for student workers by Helen Taylor

Mark Ellis

Mark is the Director of CUI. Mark is married to Joanne they have three teenage children, all of whom will be at University from this year. Mark has cross–cultural experience, having worked with OMF for over a decade, mobilising students and young graduates for mission

Published by Nay Dawson

Nay works with IFES Europe as their Regional Training Co-ordinator, training staff and students across Europe. She works on the European Regional leadership team for the charity. She was the Revive Extra Plenary Director for one of largest Student Conferences in Europe. Nay is the founder of Passion for Evangelism. PfE is a network of creative, public female speakers. Helping hundereds of women grow in confidence in public communication. Nay set up an initiative called Community in a crisis. CIAC has been helping churches and charities across Europe get online during the pandemic.

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