Josie took #TryChurch one step further last year when she invited two of her friends to join her ‘church search’ when she began her first year at university.
After moving across the country, to a new city for university, one of the first things on Josie’s mind was finding a local church she could call home. She had been involved with a youth group back at home and had felt the call over her life to share her faith with those she met at university. That meant that when she tried different churches in her first month at university, her natural response was to invite her friends to #TryChurch with her.
She boldly invited her friends to a student service that was happening at a local church. When asked how she brought up the conversation about church with them, she responded, ‘I just ask my friends, ‘where are you at with church?’. One of her friends explained that she used to go to church with her Grandma in France, but she wasn’t sure if she believed in it all. Despite this, that evening Josie took her friends to church and was encouraged by what happened next.
Her friend found the service overwhelming, yet with tear stained cheeks, wanted to know and experience more. Josie chose to respond with a simple ‘can I pray?’ and stood with her friend as she took a step closer towards Jesus.
But as we all know, sometimes it’s not that easy and people aren’t so open to the #TryChurch invite. One of Josie’s biggest struggles is not her ability to share, but the range of responses people give. Some people are two steps from Jesus, and others are ten, and that’s okay. Despite this, she finds it helpful to ask herself the question, ‘what is best for the person in front of me at this time?’
In identifying the best approach for your friend in front of you, you can identify their Mission Style and work out the way they would best respond to Jesus. You can learn more about Mission Styles here!
I recently heard someone say, ‘I’m not worried about inviting people to church, but worried about what will happen if they encounter God and I don’t know what to do.’ Their worry was understandable, but Josie’s willingness to stand and pray, trusting God to do the rest, demonstrates the freedom we have in the invite.
When asked how Josie felt about her friend’s vulnerability, she simply said ‘I was just glad there was a response, it showed God was doing something, and I was just there to comfort her if she needed it.’
Oh, and Josie’s friend gave her life to Jesus 3 weeks later ;)
Josie does not have a theology degree, nor does she have years of experience doing student mission. There is nothing that qualifies her more than you or I. But instead, she has chosen to live her life for Jesus whilst at university, whatever that looks like.
Here are her top 3 tips for living missionally whilst at university;
1. Pray for your friends & get others to pray!
Praying yourself is super important, but getting friends to pray alongside you helps you to know you’re not alone in the mission field!
2. Introduce your friends to others in the church!
Josie knows that on days where she is serving and not in a Sunday service, that she has ensured that her friends have been connected, and no one is left feeling left out! Integrating all of your friends, whether regular churchgoers or not, is crucial in building community!
3. Live your life
You will serve best in the mission field that you feel most at home in. Love clubbing? Serve on nights out. Spend all your time studying? Start a study group. Live your life and create a place where conversation naturally flows, because it’s what you’d naturally do.