A Southern bred church was hosting a student night. Not just any student night, but one they thought would be an epic party; a place for a bunch of students in Portsmouth to gather in, build community in, and find a home in before Freshers fully kicked off.
What they didn’t expect, was for it to be a bit of a flop. In term time with their church usually teaming with students, they thought that having an all-out party would bring them all back in the new year, but alas, only a handful turned up. Amongst this handful, however, was a student who had just walked past the church on his way out for the night, and was curious as to what was going on.
Now here’s the silver lining: he had never been to church before, but ended up staying for the rest of the evening, enjoying the party and chatting to the students and student leaders in the church. He then followed on to do Alpha a few weeks later, and then following that started attending church on a regular basis. About a month or two after going along to the Alpha course, he gave his life to Jesus.
God chooses the one over the 99. Or in this case, God moulds the idea of a party meant for the 99 other students in the church, but invites the one who was lost and searching. His heart was far from God, yet God knew and found him.
For the church it may have seemed like a disappointment of an evening, but actually it was more fruitful than they could’ve expected.
The parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15: 3-7) has so much meaning and significance for those seeking God for the first time, and I think for online student mission it has an equal importance. The Father still sends Jesus out on a rescue mission to “seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10) and He won’t ever stop, even in lockdown!
It can often be in our bleakest moments, both mentally and physically, where we can allow ourselves to finally be found. In this time where students feel let down and disappointed in their situations, whether they are third years missing out on graduation or first years missing out on the communal spirit of meeting and growing with people, it’s tough. But it’s also an opportunity, now more than ever, for purposeful and meaningful discipleship within small groups, to seek your Father and Friend alongside those in the same boat.
There’s an influx of opportunity now to share your faith with the One sat beside you, or the One newly joining your small group. It’s a time to empower one another and be BOLD in your faith.