Josh was at Gloucester University Freshers fair last week and has an incredible story of Unity. Have a read of his story...
The Uni of Gloucestershire has kicked off the new wave of welcoming Freshers (so early I know!) and we have had an amazing time at the Try Church stand. The night before the freshers fair many churches gathered from across Cheltenham and Gloucester. Nearly 20 churches turned up, and prayed for the freshers. Never before in the history of the area has there been so many church leaders meet in one place together in unity.
Unity was flowing through everything that was going on. We spoke to the senior chaplain of the uni, who asked if the Student Linkup app was just for the ‘cool churches’ and I was able to chat with him and say that it is for all churches and it's free (bonus). There and then he downloaded the app and started to go through all the churches on the list and followed up by saying that he will contact the other churches across Cheltenham and Gloucester that aren’t on the app and get them to sign up.
Throughout the day we saw so many people come through. If you are preparing for a Try Church stand I’d encourage you to just get to know everyone who comes through; ask something like “Hey, what are you studying?” and let the conversation flow. Nearly everyone we asked stopped and started a conversation with us, so we had the chance to build up some rapport with them quickly, and then got a chance to ask if they wanted to try church.
As you’d expect, there was a range of answers but one of my personal highlights of the day was when we met a couple of girls, let's call them April and Beth. April said that she was looking to check out some churches so was instantly asking how to sign up. As we were connecting her up to the app I turned and asked Beth if she had ever tried church or wanted to. Initially, she was fairly reluctant so I explained that church isn’t just for Christians and how welcome she would be. She had also thought that church was only an early morning thing, but on discovering that evening services exist too, she agreed to go along with April. They had only been friends for a few days, and we were able to help April find a way to connect Beth to a church and hopefully meet Jesus.
As the day went on and the craving for coffee grew ever stronger I grew tired and began to assume that people would say no. Yet in those moments of doubt, it so often amazed me that people turned and said they'd give church a go.
This is an amazing opportunity to connect people up to church- don’t let your own doubts or judgements be someone's instant no.
My prayer for all the other Try Church stands coming up is that you will be bold in your faith and start genuine conversations with as many people as you can. But start with prayer! If you change over teams on the stand then pray for one another, blessing them with the energy and boldness, and to overflowing with the love of God.