Last summer marked ten years since I graduated from university. The adage of uni being a time of significant formation has been undeniably true in my life. So much of who I have become and am becoming is connected by a thread to that season.
However, as I reflect on this, what is increasingly clear to me is how that time of formation was in many ways itself the blossoming of previous investment in my life. My formation at university happened as it did, I have no doubt, because of where I started that journey. I can't help thinking of the powerful video about privilege that did the rounds a while back - I am aware that where I started my uni life undeniably set me up to make the most of that formative time.
I see the impact of the confidence born in being given the church bookstall to run at 13 (Rajan, I remain simultaneously red-faced and kind-of-proud of my 11-week streak selling to you). The way I embraced formative opportunities at uni had its roots in that early invitation. My involvement in church leadership from uni days onwards was partly thanks to the permission, as teenagers, we’d been given to sing, then teach, the ‘modern’ songs we brought back from summer camp during communion on Sunday mornings. Why wouldn’t I (in retrospect somewhat audaciously) put myself forward to run the kids work at my new uni church when age had never before been a barrier to me influencing the worship and culture of the church?
'There’s power in how we teach as well as what we teach...'
If I’m honest, on the flip side, I can’t deny the lasting impact of the words spoken later by someone I respected - ‘yeah, but you are quite a fickle person, always flitting from one thing to the next’ - which first made me realise that how I came across wasn’t always in line with how I perceived myself. That was a valuable lesson to learn, but I do wonder if some of the ways I held back in many scenarios in part came from the self-doubt provoked in that moment. There’s power in how we teach as well as what we teach - lessons that are healthy for development often need to be delivered well to have a healthy impact!
The doors we open, opportunities we give, words we speak to young people have a deep and lasting effect on the opportunities they embrace, the ‘normals’ they have the confidence to walk into and the way they perceive themselves. Our actions impact the extent to which they make the most of what uni has to offer.
Are the young people you lead ready to make the most of university life?
How are you opening doors of opportunity which will raise their confidence in embracing new starts?
How are you teaching your young people that their contribution matters, that it is needed?
How do your words bring life, increase hope and encourage courage?
If you’ve got young people going to uni this year, are you helping them prepare for that significant life step? Are they starting well?
Why not invite a Fusion team member to run some prep for uni with your young people this summer?
- For resources on helping young people prepare for university life, see Fusion’s Student Linkup Box.
- If you have young people going to university this year, why not encourage them to join us for the Fusion Conference 2019, setting the scene for a life lived for Jesus at uni as they head off into university life.
To apply for a specific role, click here, or to hear more, email Luke at firstname.lastname@example.org
This blog is part of a series called Joining The Movement. For more from this series, click here.