The impact of student mission: Chris Rousell

Mobilising the student generation into a life of discipleship has an impact on all generations as we reach the next thinkers, creatives, teachers, parents, leaders, culture setters, world changers, influencers and so much more with the life changing love of God.

In this blog series, we will be sharing stories of people whose lives have been personally impacted by Student Mission and the legacy it has.

MEET CHRIS ROUSELL...

Tell us about yourself: 

Bonjour bonjour! I’m Chris, I’m 27 years old and married to a wonderful woman called Philippa. I’m a Ministry Trainee at King’s Church Durham, where I preach, as well as being involved in our evangelism to students. Outside of ministry I like reading, playing chess and football, and do a bit of boxing when I can.

Where and what did you study?

I studied Biomedical Science at Durham University.

How did you come to faith at University?

I grew up in a non-Christian household and didn’t really want anything to do with faith- I thought it was a load of intellectual hogwash.

One the best friends I made at university was a Christian. We met at our first rowing social and within five seconds of being introduced, we’d been duct-taped together (#unay). I never spoke to her about her faith/my atheism because I was convinced that after one conversation Fiona would renounce her faith and become an atheist. Her beliefs, as infantile as I thought they were, were important to her, so I actively avoided the topic. However, into the early hours one night we ended up having a life changing DMC over WhatsApp. Where did I get the righteous indignation that burned within me? How could I believe Hitler was absolutely wrong if morality was relative? I became a seeker for the unconditional absolute.

The more I researched, I not only became open to the idea of there being a God but, the more I was convinced there was. If God was this elaborate superstition, why did countless incredibly intelligent people believe in his existence? I read about scientists who’d come to faith and how their faith didn’t contradict their scientific knowledge; I read about the historicity of Jesus, the limits of science as a tool for understanding the universe and it all seemed to add up. Jesus was not the fairy tale I’d painted him to be and was the only answer that made all the puzzle pieces fall into place.

How did following Jesus transform your University experience?

One of the big ways Jesus transformed my uni experience was how enriching he made it for me. Where before I’d probably have told you that the scientific method was the only way by which one can determine what is true, Jesus opened my eyes to the breadth, depth, and beauty found in so many other academic disciplines.

Outside of academia, God gave me a real passion for evangelism and giving people the chance to grapple with the claims Jesus makes for themselves. After coming to faith I helped run our church’s Alpha courses and through that ministry saw at least one person come to know Jesus on every course we ran.

Also, not long after giving my life to Jesus, a friend of mine became really intrigued about it and wanted to know more. After several weeks of talking with myself and other Christian friends, attending Alpha, and coming along to Church, she also committed to Christ for herself! She’s now a worship leader at her church- it’s super encouraging to see God call and use people.

Why do you think Student Mission is essential?

From a purely selfish perspective? I wouldn’t know Jesus without it. And if I wouldn’t know Jesus without it, there could be countless other students who are longing and willing to meet their Creator who may never get the same opportunity. At a time in life where people are really grappling with who they are, what the world is, and why we’re here, we’d be foolish not to capitalise on that.

What vision has God given you for the context that you’re in?

My dream for the students I minister to is that they’d be able to demonstrate, articulate, and embody how Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life to their friends. In a world in which people are struggling to figure out who they are, I want Christian students to show (both in word and their very lives) that following Jesus is intellectually coherent, is true in the deepest sense, and offers satisfaction in abundance.

Anything else you’d love to add?

People argue about whether it’s pronounced ‘scone’ or ‘scone’. Obviously it’s ‘scone’.

At Fusion, we are passionate about seeing the church, both locally and globally capture God’s heart and love for university students and are so encouraged when we hear stories like this. So we will be gathering at our annual conference with a desire to see the student world transformed by the good news of Jesus.

If you’ve been personally impacted by Student Mission feel free to drop me an email on funmi.akinola@fusionmovement.org, I'd love to read your story!

Funmi Akinola

Student Mission Developer

Funmi is part of the student mission team and has a heart for her generation to encounter Gods love. She lives in Oxford, enjoys singing and loves meeting new people.

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